2017-18 Fund for Faculty Excellence Award Recipients
Jack Boss has dedicated 22 years to the University of Oregon as an outstanding scholar, teacher, advisor, and mentor. He is a leader in the field of music theory and the country’s foremost scholar on the music of Arnold Schoenberg, an Austrian composer and music theorist from the first half of the 20th century. He is the author of Schoenberg’s 12-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea (2014), which won his field’s most prestigious book award, the 2015 Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory. He has coedited three additional volumes: Form and Process in Music, 1300–2014: An Analytic Sampler, Analyzing the Music of Living Composers (and Others), and Musical Currents from the Left Coast.
Boss has held the administrative position of Music Theory Area chair multiple times, served on numerous doctoral dissertation and master’s thesis committees, and contributed extensive time and expertise to his department, school, the university, and the field over the course of his career.
Biology professor Scott Bridgham’s research focuses on ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry and climate change. The significance of his work on wetlands ecology has resulted in a National Science Foundation Career Award and becoming a Fellow of the Society of Wetlands Scientists. Bridgham’s research projects have been extensively funded through the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the US Forest Service, and the Department of Agriculture. His participation in local, national, and international discussions on science policy issues is also a significant contribution to the scientific community.
Locally, his work has had a major impact on the restoration of the West Eugene wetlands and other regional ecosystems. A committed teacher and leader at the university, Bridgham was the founding director of the Environmental Science Institute and currently serves as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution.
Chris Doe’s research focuses on the generation of neuronal diversity and neural circuit formation, which he accomplishes using the fruit fly as a model organism. The impact of Doe’s research is widely acknowledged by the international scientific community, and he is considered a world leader in his field. His research excellence is illustrated by his selection as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator as well as his earning the Oregon Medical Research Foundation Discovery Award and the National Institutes of Health Merit Award. Doe was elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014, and he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.
Doe’s service to the UO, which includes codirectorship of the Institute of Neuroscience, is exemplary. In addition to the many graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who have benefited from Doe’s mentorship, he has fostered the intellectual development of dozens of undergraduate, high school, and middle school students who have volunteered to work in his laboratory.
Rebecca Dorsey is a geologist who studies western North America and its tectonically active sedimentary basins, with the goal of understanding the tectonic, sedimentary, and geomorphic evolution of features such as the San Andreas fault, and the formation and change of the Colorado River watershed. She has done extensive fieldwork and led student research in Oregon, California, and northern Mexico.
Dorsey is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, and recipient of several National Science Foundation grants as well as a distinguished lecturer for two National Science Foundation grant programs. She served as head of the geological sciences (now earth sciences) department from 2013 to 2016, and led the effort to build the volcanology cluster of excellence. Many of her PhD and master’s students have gone on to careers in both academia and industry.
Raymond Frey, head of the Department of Physics, is an experimental high-energy physicist and serves as the leader of the UO team for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Validating a century-old prediction following from Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration recently confirmed observation of gravitational waves, created as two black holes spiraled into each other. Science magazine labeled this observation the “science breakthrough of the year,” and the team won the Special Breakthrough Prize from the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation in 2016.
The UO LIGO team searches for gravitational wave emissions associated with astrophysical triggers such as gamma ray bursts, including short, hard gamma ray bursts distinct from those arising from the recently detected black hole collision. The team also explores means to verify that signals arising from more common astrophysical or terrestrial events are not mistakenly interpreted as gravitational waves. More than 70 of Professor Frey’s more than 700 research publications are directly concerned with LIGO, ancillary discoveries, and other foundational work building to the recently announced discovery of gravitational waves.
Tyler Kendall is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics. His primary research interests focus on social and cognitive aspects of language variation and change. Much of his work is in sociolinguistics, having conducted research on a number of dialects of American English and, to a lesser extent, Spanish. He has worked in communities ranging from small towns in Oregon, Texas, North Carolina, and Newfoundland to communities of speakers within the urban area of New York City.
Kendall is closely involved with the Language Variation and Computation Laboratory that is a central base for sociolinguistic and corpus linguistic research at the University of Oregon.
Kendall has developed multiple online resources for sociolinguists, such as the Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project, a web-based archive and software toolkit for working with sociolinguistic recordings and their related data (transcripts, variable tabulations, and research notes). He also created the Norm website for vowel normalization and plotting, which is used more than 100 times a day. He is concluding a major grant project to create the first-ever public corpus of African American English, organizing and annotating sociolinguistic data collected by scholars (including himself and his students) over the last half-century. In addition, professor Kendall has a significant list of publications, including books, edited volumes, and journal articles, greatly enriching his field.
Regina Lawrence is a prolific and internationally renowned scholar of political communication. She joined the School of Journalism and Communication in 2015 as executive director of the George S. Turnbull Portland Center and Agora Journalism Center, and has driven the conversation toward the intertwined nature of journalism and civic engagement. In addition to publishing more than 35 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier venues, Lawrence coauthored When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina, which received the 2016 Doris A. Graber Outstanding Book Award from the Political Communication division of the American Political Science Association. Her most recent research project focuses on the use of social media by political reporters during presidential campaigns.
Not only recognized by her peers as a superior scholar and an important contributor to equity, inclusion, and diversity, Lawrence has also brought visionary energy and stability through her distinguished service to the university and the profession. Lawrence continues to advance journalism’s mission to engage the public and nourish democracy.
Gyoung-Ah Lee is an anthropologist who studies how ancient humans developed food crops and domesticated animal species, and made the transition from foraging and hunting to farming subsistence, particularly in East Asia. She has received grant funding from the National Geographic Society and from scientific agencies in China and Korea as well as from the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Confucius Institute for Global China Studies.
Lee has widely published her findings in journals of anthropology, archaeology, and cultural heritage, and has done translations to and from Korean. She has been active on campus inviting visiting scholars and lecturers in Asian studies and archaeology, and directing successful PhD students.
Leslie Leve’s scholarly and service record over the past 20 years places her at the very top of the field of child and adolescent development. She has played a lead role in the areas of behavioral genetics and interventions to reduce the effects of risk factors for vulnerable youth, especially girls. Leve has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed journal publications in some of the most prominent journals in her field, received numerous national awards, and successfully managed more than 50 million dollars of external funding.
Leve maintains this superior level of research while committing an equally superior effort to service, including serving as an associate dean, associate director for the university’s Prevention Science Institute, and president of the Society for Prevention Research.
Kari Norgaard is an internationally recognized leader in the field of environmental sociology. Her award-winning 2011 book Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life has garnered great attention. Norgaard has been invited to give presentations on this topic at more than 20 institutions in the United States and Europe.
Norgaard’s research on salmon fisheries, climate change, and food sovereignty among the Karuk and Yurok people of northern California has earned multiple research grants and public attention, leading to media coverage and dozens of interviews in English and Norwegian.
Norgaard is also generous with her commitment to service at the university, having chaired more than a dozen MA committees and half a dozen PhD committees.
Jennifer Pfeifer is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Developmental Social Neuroscience Laboratory. Pfeifer’s main research focus is on the interplay between social processes, neurodevelopment, and puberty as they influence adolescent learning, decision-making, and mental health. She investigates these issues in longitudinal samples using neuroimaging techniques and novel paradigms that prioritize ecological validity and cognitive modeling approaches. A particular focus of her recent work is on changes in the reactivity of specific brain areas that explain developmental challenges and behavioral patterns observed during puberty.
Pfeifer’s work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation. Her remarkable productivity and impact is evident in her long list of articles, cited hundreds of times, which clearly show the impact of her work in her field.
Michael Pluth’s research focuses on using chemical approaches to understand the multifaceted roles of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is an important signaling molecule in biology. Since joining the UO in 2011, Pluth has established a highly regarded and productive interdisciplinary research program that combines elements of chemical biology, materials science, and analytical chemistry to develop new methods to detect and deliver H2S, and to study how H2S reacts with different biological molecules.
Notable awards that Pluth has received include a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Pluth has an outstanding record of departmental and university service, and he is widely regarded by students and colleagues as a gifted teacher.
An urban planning scholar, Gerardo Sandoval conducts innovative research at the intersection of urban planning, immigration, and community change, examining the links between immigrant communities, transnationalism, and place-making. His work explores the reciprocal relationships between urban development processes and immigrant neighborhoods, and he has developed strategies for involving underrepresented populations in public policy decision-making.
An associate professor, Sandoval has garnered national attention for his work, including a Chester Rapkin Award for best planning article and a Paul Davidoff Book Award for his solo-authored Immigrants and the Revitalization of Los Angeles: Development and Change in MacArthur Park, both from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. His work has received substantial external grant funding, and he was recently nominated by Governor Kate Brown to serve on the Oregon Housing Stability Council.
Folklorist and anthropologist Philip Scher is a leading scholar of festival, tourism, and heritage studies with a geographic emphasis in the Caribbean. His published books include Carnival and the Formation of a Caribbean Transnation and two coedited volumes, Perspectives on the Caribbean: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation and Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Politics of a Transnational Festival. His monograph An Economy of Souls: Tourism, Heritage, and Performance in a Neoliberal World is forthcoming as is the coedited volume White People: Representations of Europeans by Nonwestern Artists during the Age of Exploration, 1400–1750.
Sher is the recipient of multiple grants, including one from Fulbright, three from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. A grant from the Merchant-Ivory Foundation will support the “White People” museum exhibition that he is currently planning. Scher has advised numerous students at the doctoral and master’s level and contributed his service across campus, including directing the interdisciplinary folklore program for two years.
Beata Stawarska’s research interests revolve around problems of sociality, embodiment, gender, and language. Starwarska’s work examines contemporary authors such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Beauvoir, Buber and Levinas, J. L. Austin, Derrida, Bourdieu, Kristeva, Irigaray, Butler, and, most recently, the philosophy of language by Ferdinand de Saussure. She is the author of more than 30 published essays and two books, including Saussure’s Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology: Undoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics, published by Oxford University Press in 2015.
In recognition of her contribution to the field, Stawarska was inducted into the Circle Ferdinand de Saussure. She is a recipient of a 2017–18 fellowship at the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study Foundation, and a 2009–2011 recipient of the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers in Germany.
Jessica Vasquez-Tokos is an accomplished scholar whose work explores Mexican migration, identity, and integration as well as Latino family formation, particularly as it pertains to marriage within and between racial and ethnic groups.
Vasquez-Tokos is the author of two books and more than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles. Her scholarly work has been recognized through an array of prestigious awards, including a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholarship, a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, an award from the American Sociological Association–National Science Foundation Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She also received the Best Article Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on Latino sociology. Moreover, she is a sought-after graduate student mentor and instructor as well as a service representative in centers promoting equity and social justice, both within and beyond the university.