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2013 Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence recipients announced

A lawyer called to testify before U.S. House members, a political scientist whose research with a student led to the development of a prominent Web-accessible database on foreign aid and a chemist who garnered national attention for success in developing young women scientists are among this year’s recipients of the Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence at William & Mary.

The award, established with a generous gift from Joseph J. Plumeri II ’66, D.P.S. ’11, recognizes 20 faculty members each year for exemplary achievements in teaching, research and service. Faculty members have used the award to enhance their research and teaching and to support travel to scholarly conferences.

“The very nature of a William & Mary education means that these awards have directly and indirectly touched our students,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Our students are frequently involved in research and projects undertaken with Plumeri Award support, and these awards also deepen student learning through the faculty’s enhanced scholarship.”  

Now in its fifth year, 100 William & Mary and Virginia Institute of Marine Science faculty members have received Plumeri Awards since 2009, the inaugural year for the honor. All recipients receive $10,000, which is used for research, summer salaries or other stipends associated with scholarly endeavor. 

“The Plumeri Awards have provided critical resources to help bridge the gap between our faculty’s professional goals and the university’s financial constraints,” Halleran said. “Mr. Plumeri’s generosity, leadership and passion for excellence continue to make a significant difference for William & Mary’s faculty and students.”

Brief biographies of each of the 2013 Plumeri Award recipients appear below:

Lisa AndersonLisa R. Anderson
Francis Thornton West Professor of Economics

One of the Economics Department’s most productive recipients of outside grants, Professor Anderson currently conducts experimental research in the areas of crime deterrence, financial decision making, and collusion in markets. She has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses on environmental economics, experimental economics, game theory, microeconomics and public economics. Using a grant award from the National Science Foundation, Anderson founded the Experimental Economics Laboratory in 2004. The lab has produced more than 20 publications involving faculty, students, and approximately 1,000 local residents who were involved as research subjects. Her numerous articles have appeared in such publications as The American Economic Review, Experimental Economics, and The Southern Economic Journal.  Anderson is a former president of the Society of Economic Educators, and is a former panelist for the National Science Foundation. She is associate editor of the Journal of Socio-Economics, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, and The Southern Economic Journal. At William & Mary since 1997, Anderson has received several awards, including the Phi Beta Kappa Award for the Advancement of Scholarship and the Alumni Fellowship Award. She holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia.

Angela BanksAngela M. Banks
Associate Professor of Law

Engaging some of the most controversial issues in American immigration law and international human rights law, Professor Banks teaches courses in contracts, gender and human rights, and immigration and citizenship. She has written more than 10 full-length articles in the past five years, which have been featured or are forthcoming in journals such as the Emory Law Journal, William & Mary Law Review, Lewis & Clark Law Review, St. John’s Law Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. Banks also recently contributed a chapter to The Resegregation of Schools: Race and Education in the Twenty-First Century. In all of her scholarship, Banks brings a sophisticated and nuanced understanding of law, sociology, geopolitics and culture. Scholars who have reviewed Banks’ work are as enthusiastic about her previous accomplishments as they are excited about her future productivity. Her students are equally inspired, giving Banks high scores on teaching effectiveness and identifying her accessibility in and outside of the classroom among her strengths as a teacher. Banks graduated from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and the Harvard International Law Journal. Banks also graduated from Spelman College and the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar.

Elizabeth BarnesElizabeth L. Barnes
Professor of English and American Studies

Joining the William & Mary faculty in 1997, Professor Barnes is a talented teacher and nationally prominent scholar in American literary studies. She was recognized by the Princeton Review in spring 2012 as one of the nation’s top 300 college and university teachers. She has designed and taught courses on subjects including Jane Austen; John Brown’s legacy; masculinity in America; and gender, race, and violence in American literature. Intrigued by how 19th-century America could be both so violent and so sentimental, she discovered an interesting period literary pattern of re-enacting the logic of sacrifice and victimization inherent in the Christian doctrine of the crucifixion and of reaffirming violence as the necessary requirement for self-transformation. Her latest book, Love’s Whipping Boy: Violence & Sentimentality in the American Imagination, published in January 2011, has garnered a host of laudatory reviews as a major contribution to American literary studies, particularly for its challenge to long-held critical assumptions voiced by leading figures in the field. For students, her classes are both challenging and exciting. She has contributed widely to departmental and College-wide governance, and currently serves as chair of the Arts and Sciences committee on faculty merit review. She earned a doctorate in American literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Neal DevinsNeal E. Devins
Goodrich Professor of Law, Cabell Research Professor, Professor of Government, Director, Institute of Bill of Rights Law and Director, Election Law Program

At William & Mary since 1987, Professor Devins is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the intersection of the U.S. Supreme Court and politics. Devins regularly is invited to speak at conferences and symposia. He has authored or edited 10 books on constitutional law and published more than 100 articles, many in the nation’s top law reviews. Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School, he also organizes the annual Supreme Court Preview, a signature event that routinely involves former solicitors general of the United States, as well as federal appeals court judges. Devins directs the Law School’s Dunn Civil Liberties Project. He currently teaches Constitutional Law, a Supreme Court seminar, and a workshop titled Law & Politics. This is Devins’ second Plumeri Award, having been an inaugural recipient in 2009. He also has fostered interdisciplinary work on campus, frequently organizing a “Law and Politics” series. Devins serves as faculty adviser to the William & Mary Bill of Rights Law Journal and holds a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt University.


John GravesJohn E. Graves
Chancellor Professor of Marine Science

Professor Graves both engages and inspires the undergraduate and graduate students he teaches and mentors and the faculty he works with as chair of the Department of Fisheries Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. His students are often on the high seas satellite tagging and taking tissue samples from billfish, or using cutting-edge techniques of molecular genetics to identify fish stocks or various species in market products, or interpreting the data from their studies at an international regulatory meeting regarding the impact of global fisheries. Graves has served as a chairman of the U.S. Advisory Committee to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas since the mid-1990s. He has used these opportunities to expose his students to the intense arena of international fisheries management. His students have excelled in research, published jointly with him in peer reviewed journals and landed prestigious internships on Capitol Hill. His passion for research works across boundaries with faculty from other disciplines. He earned a doctorate in marine biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Gregory HancockGregory S. Hancock
Professor of Geology

Whether it’s 100 degrees on a dry lake bed or pouring rain on a suburban parking lot, Professor Hancock knows how to engage students and get them to understand complex earth surface processes. Hancock is a geomorphologist and hydrologist who has studied river systems and the erosion of mountain belts from the Himalayas to the Andes and the Appalachians. His hydrologic research on suburban stormwater runoff and agriculturally induced erosion is challenging many long-held assumptions about the effectiveness of management practices intended to reduce their impact. Sponsored by the National Geographic Society, he is currently studying groundwater quality at the Jamestown fort site in Virginia, to determine if bad water contributed to the demise of early settlers. Hancock is widely published and embraces the challenge of working to modify public policy to better align it with the results of science. Hancock teaches an array of courses in geology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program, and he has won numerous teaching awards, including the Geological Society of America’s Biggs Teaching Award. His work as a research mentor for undergraduates has led to many students presenting their results at national meetings. He earned a doctorate in earth sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Elizabeth HarbronElizabeth Harbron
Associate Professor of Chemistry and University Professor for Teaching Excellence

Since arriving at William & Mary in 2002, Professor Harbron has developed an active research program in organic photochemistry. She is working to develop ways to use fluorescence modulation for imaging and sensing applications. Harbron’s research projects regularly involve students, and she mentors nearly 10 student researchers during the academic year. Fourteen students have appeared as co-authors on her publications, 11 of whom had worked with Harbron since their freshman or sophomore year. During the summer, she averages six students engaged in full-time research. Recognized as an outstanding teacher, Harbron has established a program of peer mentorship which pairs young, inexperienced students with older, more experienced students. Her success in developing young women scientists was highlighted in a 2011 Associated Press story, which was published by news outlets across the country. Harbron is a reviewer for several journals in her field and serves on the advisory board of the Inter-American Photochemical Society. She is the recipient of several awards, including the College’s Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award in 2011 and the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2010. Harbron holds a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alan MeeseAlan Meese
Ball Professor of Law

Professor Meese has taught contracts, antitrust, torts, constitutional law, economic analysis of law, and corporations. Meese has authored more than 30 articles on antitrust law and other topics, several of which have appeared in leading law reviews. The New York Times, Washington Post, Business Week, USA Today, Associated Press, and other national publications have quoted him about antitrust or Supreme Court issues. He has been featured on National Public Radio’s On Point, MSNBC’s Hardball, and other national media outlets. Meese has authored or co-authored op-eds in the Huffington Post, National Review Online, the New York Post, the Washington Post, and several other news publications. He has served on the University Planning Steering Committee for four years. Meese is a past president and vice president of the Faculty Assembly and has chaired each of its other subcommittees. He recently completed serving two years as the faculty representative on the Board of Visitors. Meese also served as senior advisor to the Antitrust Modernization Commission. This is Meese’s second Plumeri Award, and he is also a recipient of the Law School’s Walter L. Williams, Jr. Memorial Teaching Award. He graduated first in his class from William & Mary in 1986 and earned his juris doctorate with honors from the University of Chicago. He formerly clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.

Deborah MorseDeborah Denenholz Morse
Professor of English and Inaugural Murphy Faculty Fellow 

Professor Morse instills passion and taps undiscovered resources of scholarly discipline in undergraduate students who initially are hesitant about the reading and writing demands of courses in Victorian literature. Her recent work has flourished and Morse has emerged as an international authority on Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope. Her latest book, Reforming Trollope: Race, Gender, and Englishness in the Novels of Anthony Trollope, was published in February by Ashgate Press. It already has created buzz among Victorian scholars. She presented or gave six invited talks in 2011–2012, including at the Inaugural Trollope Prize Lecture at the University of Kansas. She also has been selected as a keynote speaker for the 2015 Trollope Bicentenary Conference, which is scheduled to be held in Leuven, Belgium. Morse’s mentorship has inspired many of her students of Victorian literature. One student who won first place in a Harvard Trollope undergraduate essay contest credited her success, in part, to Morse’s careful mentorship. Morse served as chair of the Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Committee for Arts & Sciences in the fall of 2011 and was elected in March of 2013 to a five-year term as Executive Secretary of the largest organization of Victorian Studies scholars in the United States and Canada, the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA).  Morse holds a doctorate in English literature from Northwestern University.

Robert OrthRobert J. Orth
Professor of Marine Science

At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) since 1974, Professor Orth has earned a reputation as a leader in restoration science, especially as related to seagrass communities. His research is mainly focused on Chesapeake Bay, but he is involved in restoration projects around the world. One of the most widely published faculty members at VIMS, Orth has restoration innovations and successes that serve as models for scientists around the world. Annual results from a seagrass mapping program he developed are used by the federal government, as well as the states of Virginia and Maryland, to help evaluate the success of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. Orth has served on several boards and commissions, including treasurer, president and past president of the International Estuarine Research Federation. He also delivers seminars and talks in the community about the importance and state of seagrass in the Bay. At VIMS, he previously served as chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences and assistant director of the Division of Biological and Fisheries Sciences. A dedicated mentor and adviser, Orth has been particularly successful in engaging students in his state and federal advisory activities. He holds a doctorate in zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Christopher OwensChristopher Owens
Associate Professor of Theatre

Through his two distinct roles — associate professor and producing artistic director of the Virginia Shakespeare Festival — Professor Owens uniquely integrates a variety of approaches to his teaching, research, and service. As a faculty member, he actively engages students in freshman seminars and courses such as Direction, Intermediate Acting, Advanced Acting, and Auditioning, as well as his independent study course, Acting for the Camera. He also has directed eight William & Mary theatre shows, allowing students to connect regularly with the local community during the academic year and summer. Through the Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Owens innovatively has led the festival in new administrative and artistic direction.  With eight shows for the festival also under his belt, he chooses interns from William & Mary to work alongside professional actors in the festival’s summer company. He has served on departmental committees, as a pre-major and major adviser, and as a mentor for senior directorials and honors projects. Owens also teaches classes for acting interns and runs the Young Shakespeare Camp for three age groups. He holds a master’s of fine arts in directing, with a graduate minor in lighting design, from Southern Methodist University. His undergraduate studies were at the Juilliard School under John Houseman, where his classmates included Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Reeve, and Mandy Patinkin.

Diane ShakesDiane C. Shakes
Class of 1964 Distinguished Term Associate Professor of Biology

Professor Shakes is as an internationally recognized researcher on the nematode worm C. elegans. She has earned an international reputation in the area of molecular and cellular mechanisms of sperm development, fertilization, and early post-fertilization chromosome mechanics. She has been publishing journal articles on worm genetics and biology for more than two decades. She also teaches courses in molecular cell biology, genetics, and cell biochemistry, and biomedicine and biomedical research to students on all levels. She has mentored undergraduate honors students and master’s candidates, publishing numerous papers with student co-authors. Shakes also is co-director of William & Mary’s new public health minor, which she was instrumental in designing. Shakes is the lead on a project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health studying the dynamic remodeling of an unusual cytoskeletal protein called the major sperm protein (MSP). The National Science Foundation is sponsoring another study examining how cellular processes, including cell signaling, stem cell biology, cell cycle progression, and cell differentiation, are conserved and/or altered in the germlines of nematode species. This research was featured in U.S. News & World Report in April 2012. She earned a doctorate in biology from Johns Hopkins University.

Junping ShiJunping Shi
Professor of Mathematics

Professor Shi is recognized as an outstanding researcher in the areas of partial differential equations, dynamical systems, and mathematical biology. Among the Mathematics Department’s most active undergraduate research advisers, he has co-authored more than 80 peer-refereed journal articles and three invited book chapters since 1998. Shi’s research monograph on the bifurcation theory will be published this year. As part of an interdisciplinary research program on marine ecological modeling with colleagues from William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Shi helped to develop an innovative mathematical model that provides theoretical and quantitative evidence for the oyster restoration effort in Chesapeake Bay. He has given dozens of lectures in the United States and around the world, helping to enhance the international status of William & Mary in the research areas of differential equations and mathematical biology. Shi currently holds editorial positions at four scholarly publications. At William & Mary since 2000, Shi has taught a variety of upper- and lower-level courses and helped to develop several new math courses. He has a doctorate in mathematics from Brigham Young University.

Gregory SmithGregory D. Smith
Associate Professor of Applied Science

A theoretical biologist who applies mathematics to the life sciences, Professor Smith’s research program focuses on stochastic dynamics in cell physiology, in particular, calcium signaling in cardiac myocytes and neurons. As a Neuroscience Program Faculty Affiliate, Smith developed and instructs Cellular Biophysics and Modeling, a challenging interdisciplinary academic course that combines nonlinear dynamics and electrophysiology.   This class is required of all undergraduate neuroscience majors and many graduate students in the Applied Science doctoral program. Cellular Biophysics and Modeling helps William & Mary’s Neuroscience Program to stand out as one of the best in the country.  As director of the William & Mary Biomath Initiative, Smith helps promote faculty-student research in quantitative biology and fosters academic community among the College’s mathematical scientists.  Smith’s publications include 45 peer-reviewed scientific articles and several pedagogical book chapters. Smith is a mentor to graduate and undergraduate students at William & Mary and beyond, e.g., he is lead organizer of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory International Summer School in Computational Cell Biology. Smith has served on many university committees, including the Faculty Assembly, the Faculty Research Committee, and the Procedural Review Committee.  Smith earned a doctorate in biophysics from the University of California, Davis.

Ilya SpitkovskyIlya M. Spitkovsky
Professor of Mathematics

Professor Spitkovsky is an internationally recognized researcher and talented educator who has made significant contributions to the mathematical community and to the university. At the College since 1990, he has been a visiting scientist or professor at institutions in Portugal, Italy, Belgium, and Germany. He has taught linear algebra; real, complex and functional analysis; mathematics of finance; and computational algebraic geometry, to name a few. His research interests focus on analysis, specifically in operator theory and complex analysis. Two of his major achievements are the spectral theory of Toeplitz operators with piecewise continuous symbols on the spaces with arbitrary Hunt-Muckenhoupt-Wheeden weights, and the factorization theory of almost periodic matrix functions. The latter theory led to several applications, in particular, to the Carathéodory-Toeplitz and Nehari extension problems, convolution type equations on finite intervals, and antennae theory.  Spitkovsky has been supported by NSF, NATO and EU grants. He has authored more than 200 publications, including four research monographs, and was an editor of four more. He is currently a member of the editorial board of five international journals and a referee for more than 40 scientific journals. His supervised undergraduate research projects have resulted in 25 joint papers. In 2011, the American Institute of Mathematics invited him to help develop similar programs at other undergraduate institutions. He holds both a candidate (doctorate equivalent) and doctor of science degree (Habilitation equivalent) in physics and mathematics.

Andreas StathopoulosAndreas Stathopoulos
Professor of Computer Science

Well known for his restless curiosity and collegiality, Professor Stathopoulos’ record is one of both exceptional research accomplishment and outstanding teaching. His research focuses on three areas that include numerical analysis, high performance computing, and mathematical tools that enable challenging scientific and engineering applications. Stathopoulos uses his research to integrate theory and practice, often from a variety of disciplines. He has participated in projects bringing significant federal grant awards to the College. As a teacher, he is a vital contributor to both the undergraduate and graduate programs and teaches a wide range of courses, including three of the eight required courses for the department. In addition to his interdisciplinary research, he is also a recognized research leader on eigenvalue problems, one of the mainstay problems in numerical analysis. His work on these problems has resulted in PRIMME (Preconditional Iterative MultiMethod Eigensolver), an open source software package that Stathopoulos developed with his doctoral student, Jim McCombs. Since 2006, it has been the most efficient and robust software for solving large, symmetric eigenvalue problems. He spent 2010–2011 in residence at IBM Research in Zurich, Switzerland, pursuing research that combines deterministic methods from numerical linear algebra with statistical methods. Stathopoulos holds a doctorate in computer science from Vanderbilt University.

Ann Marie StockAnn Marie Stock
Professor of Hispanic Studies & Film Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures

Professor Stock’s scholarship explores how visual culture is mobilized to reshape national, regional, and global communities. Cuba is the focus of her recent work in which she engages representations of film and cultural products as much the lived experiences of filmmakers. This is captured in her book On Location in Cuba: Street Filmmaking During Times of Transition. The book, which is “based on hundreds of interviews and conversations in Cuba,” according to the University of North Carolina Press, includes information on scores of films and filmmakers previously unavailable to scholars in the United States. Stock involves William & Mary students in her work on Cuba, providing them access to a national context difficult to approach from the United States and enabling them to become cultural agents. She directed the W&M in Washington program on New Media and Culture in the Nation’s Capital, a program so popular it has since become a permanent Summer Institute offering. Professor Stock holds a doctorate in cultural studies and comparative literature from the University of Minnesota.

Lea TheodoreLea A. Theodore
Associate Professor of Education

Professor Theodore, director of the School Psychology Program, is licensed by the Board of Psychology in Virginia and New York. Prior to joining the College, she was an associate professor in New York where she also maintained a private practice. Since receiving her doctorate from the University of Connecticut in 2002, she has accumulated more than 50 refereed publications. Following her national ranking among the top 20 most productive authors in school psychology, she received the Early Career Alumni Award from her alma mater. She was associate editor for School Psychology Quarterly, a top-tier journal in the field, and sits on boards of several national and international journals. She investigates school-based interventions for students with academic and behavioral problems. Theodore is active in Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association, having served as co-chair and chair of the Division’s Hospitality Suite, co-chair and chair of the Annual Convention program, and member of the Conversation/Videotape Series. Theodore has held nationally elected positions, including vice president of Division Membership and vice president of Professional Affairs, serving also on the Division’s Executive Committee. Advocating for mental health services, she lobbied legislators on behalf of the Mental Health Parity Act.

Michael TierneyMichael J. Tierney
Hylton Associate Professor of Government and International Relations

Professor Tierney’s teaching and research interests include international organizations, foreign aid and development, international political economy, environmental politics, and the history and sociology of the international relations discipline. Tierney is co-principal investigator for the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) project, a student-faculty research project that employs survey data to understand the links between academia and the policy world. He has published two books and more than 20 academic papers. Tierney directs the International Relations Program at William & Mary and the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. He is also the one of two faculty members spearheading the AidData project, an initiative begun at William & Mary in 2003 to compile and maintain a Web-accessible database that facilitates research on foreign aid effectiveness, aid allocation, transparency, and poverty reduction in developing countries. Last year, the U.S. Agency for International Development chose William & Mary to lead a five-year, $25 million partnership to create the AidData Center for Development Policy. Tierney is a William & Mary alumnus (Class of 1987) with a doctorate in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

Timothy ZickTimothy Zick
Robert and Elizabeth Scott Research Professor of Law

An expert on constitutional law, in particular the First Amendment, Professor Zick is a frequent commentator in local, national, and international media regarding First Amendment issues. His comments have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Salon, and ABC News, among others.  In January 2012, Zick was called to testify before a U.S. House subcommittee regarding the application of the First Amendment to Occupy Wall Street protests. His courses at William & Mary Law School include Constitutional Law, Constitutional Interpretation, and the First Amendment. Zick also serves on the Law School Appointments Committee and as a William & Mary Law Review faculty adviser. He has published a number of articles on freedom of speech and other issues in leading law reviews and currently is working on his second book, The Cosmopolitan First Amendment: Protecting Transborder Expressive and Religious Liberties. This is Zick’s second Plumeri Award; he received one in 2011. He earned a juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, graduating summa cum laude and first in his class.

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