The Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence are back, and they are more competitive than ever before. On Friday, May 3, the university honored the 2019 recipients for their outstanding achievements in teaching, research and service to the William & Mary community.
Joseph J. Plumeri ’66, D.P.S. ’11 established this eponymous award in 2009 to advance the work of exceptional faculty members and to encourage them to engage students in their scholarly endeavors. Eleven years later, 195 recipients have benefited from this generosity, enhancing their teaching, research and mentorship.
Recipients of this prestigious award undergo a highly competitive formal selection process and are chosen based on their contributions and accomplishments in the areas of discovery, scholarship and teaching. This year’s awards were reimagined to maximize their benefit — the number of recipients was reduced from 20 to 10 and the award was increased from $10,000 to $20,000, to be used by the faculty member over a 3-year period. Additionally, all recipients are required to have at least 5 years of teaching experience at William & Mary in order to be eligible. At Friday’s ceremony, each recipient was given a medal engraved with the three words most closely associated with Plumeri: passion, vision and leadership.
“The Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence are among the most competitive and generous faculty awards in the nation,” said President Katherine Rowe. “They enable our faculty to take risks, transform their respective fields and create connections with students that can last a lifetime.”
Awardees, some of whom were showcased in a video shown during the ceremony, represented the breadth of academic and athletics excellence across the university. Among those recognized: an award-winning swimming coach, an oft-cited government professor who is changing the way Americans interact with social media and a world-renowned healthcare informaticist who is helping to improve the quality of medical care for all Americans.
“When I attended William & Mary, the professors showed me that, with vision and a purpose, I could do anything,” said Plumeri in a speech during Friday’s ceremony. “I want to support a new generation of professors who help our students combine passion with purpose so that they can go out and change the world.”
Plumeri served as the chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings before becoming vice chairman of the First Data Board of Directors in 2014. He is also a dedicated philanthropist, giving millions to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, among many other organizations. William & Mary has long been among his most cherished causes, and over the years he has created scholarships, established the W&M/Plumeri Pro-Am Golf Tournament and built the Plumeri Park baseball facility.
For 2017 Plumeri Award recipient Danielle Dallaire, the award has not only transformed her research, but also helped create a national platform for her scholarship. Dallaire utilized her Plumeri funds to work with graduate and undergraduate students, with one of the resulting student-authored papers examining standard care practices for pregnant incarcerated women in jails nationwide. She also worked with the American Psychological Association’s Office of Public Interest and Government Relations on criminal justice reform legislation. In part because of her efforts, Congress passed the First Step Act, which provides for programs that help reduce risk that prisoners will recidivate upon release from prison.
“Because of the Plumeri Award, I was able to examine the impact of parental incarceration on children's development from the prenatal period through young adulthood and contribute to improving policies for children and families impacted by incarceration,” said Dallaire.
Dallaire isn’t alone in seeing the Plumeri Awards’ scale of impact.
“Over the course of the past 11 years, recipients have invariably said that winning the Plumeri Award helped them advance their teaching and research,“ said Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Whether professors are creating new initiatives with far-flung collaborators, investing in cutting-edge research equipment or exploring new avenues of inquiry with student-collaborators, the Plumeri Awards have made a transformative impact on William & Mary that will echo for years to come.”
On May 3, the William & Mary community also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Plumeri Park and Plumeri was on hand to throw out the first pitch. The Tribe trounced the College of Charleston, 5-1.
Daniel A. Cristol P ’19
Chancellor Professor, Biology
Director, 1693 Scholars Program
As a professor and researcher unafraid to cross disciplinary boundaries, Professor Daniel Cristol is a prominent figure in the study of bird ecology and has been an integral part of the biology department for more than 10 years. His commitment to William & Mary extends beyond the classroom; he serves as faculty advisor to the Bird Club, director of the 1693 Scholars Program and leads extra-curricular field trips. Cristol is especially well known for the integrative research opportunities he supplies to undergraduates. In 2005, he designed an undergraduate-driven project on the effects of pollution and contamination in bird breeding sites that resulted in a $50 million settlement to restore polluted areas. Cristol has advanced the scope of biology at William & Mary by advocating for the integration of math in the discipline and leading the faculty-student initiative, Mercury Global Inquiry Group, which oversaw students’ travel to China and ultimately published “Mercury Pollution: A Transdisciplinary Treatment.” Further, he has published 80 articles during his time at William & Mary and many of his papers are co-authored with undergraduate and graduate students. His research has been covered extensively in popular press, such as the New York Times, National Public Radio and PBS television. Cristol received an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biology from Indiana University.
Tribe Field Hocky Coach
Associate Head Coach Mark Egner begins his fifth season this fall with the Tribe Field Hockey team. During his career, Egner has earned a reputation for recruiting and developing great athletes with uncompromising academic and personal integrity. Since joining the William & Mary Field Hockey staff, Egner has had a profound impact on W&M’s nationally recognized field hockey program. He has elevated Field Hockey to become a winning program, leading the team to their first CAA Championship appearance since 2002 during the 2017 season and its first-ever CAA Championship victory in 2018. The team also advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002 and recorded its first-ever NCAA win during the 2018 season. Under Egner’s leadership, the field hockey program produced three consecutive CAA Defensive Players of the Year, including one of only two athletes in CAA history to win the award more than once. Egner’s defensive squad has earned multiple all-CAA team and CAA Rookie of the Year honors. Many field hockey athletes have also earned academic honors during Egner’s tenure, including a record number of National Field Hockey Coaches Association Scholars of Distinction this past season. Egner received a Bachelor’s of Education from Church of Ireland College of Education in 2009 and is currently working on a Master’s of Science in Performance Coaching from the University of Stirling in Scotland.
Artisia V. Green ’00
Associate Professor, Theatre and Africana Studies
Sharpe Associate Professor, Civil Renewal & Entrepreneurship
Director, Africana Studies Program
Professor Artisia Green has proved her dedication to fostering interdisciplinary excellence through her role as tenured professor of theatre and director of the Africana Studies Program. Green earned the distinction of being the first African-American to achieve tenure in the theatre department, and has lent her creative direction to several campus productions, including “Crowns,” “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” and “The Children’s Hour.” In 2014, she was selected to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, where she further developed her research on spiritual expression in black dramatic literature and connected with other scholars. Green is passionate about creating space on campus for the appreciation of Black theatre and arts, and expanded the university’s one course on African-American theatre into four new courses and extracurricular opportunities. She is also known for developing innovative and interdisciplinary programming on campus aimed at increasing discussion on Black arts and issues affecting marginalized communities. She won the 2018 Arts & Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and served on the 50th Anniversary of African Americans in Residence at William & Mary Committee. Professor Green earned a B.A. from William & Mary and an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Robert C. Hale Ph.D. ’83
Professor, Marine Science
Invested in educating his students on emerging environmental issues, Professor Robert Hale of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science utilizes his passion for solving global health challenges in and beyond the classroom. Hale began his career as an environmental chemist at Mobil Oil Corp and consistently engages with industries, NGOs and students on real-world issues. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Environmental Science & Technology and remains one of the most frequently cited active faculty at the university. His most recent article, published in Science of the Total Environment, addressed environmental challenges regarding e-waste recycling in China. Executing an interdisciplinary approach to research, Hale is credited with numerous discoveries that have positively impacted industry and policy decisions. These include the discovery of pollutants at Langley NASA, contamination in North American fish and effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, Hale is viewed by many as a life-long mentor and actively promotes the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM. Hale received two undergraduate degrees from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. in marine science from William & Mary.
James M. Kaste
Associate Professor, Geology
A geochemist studying the effects of environmental contaminants, Professor James Kaste designed a renowned research lab utilized by over 30 undergraduate geology students and Ph.D. students from across the globe. His lab has produced 31 publications in well-known journals and books, including Geophysical Research Letters and Environmental Science & Technology. He and his students published the first measurements of cosmogenic 7Be in desert soils and vegetation and have continued to push the boundaries of discovery in their field. Kaste is also a champion of interdisciplinary research; he’s partnered with biology and history researchers to study environmental challenges in the Chesapeake Bay and mortality rates in the early Jamestown Colony. In addition to his research, Kaste has proven an essential member of the William & Mary community through his teaching and mentoring. He developed a new, interdisciplinary course, Environmental Geochemistry, which covers crucial topics in geology and environmental studies using skills from the humanities and social sciences, and has mentored more than 30 undergraduate students whose thesis topics ranged from erosion in Colorado to radioactive fallout deposition. Kaste received his master’s degree from the University of Maine and his Ph.D. in earth sciences from Dartmouth College.
John N. Dalton Memorial Professor, Business
Rajiv Kohli specializes in healthcare informatics and digital innovation, and is regarded as one of the foremost researchers on management information systems (MIS). A recent study ranked Kohli No.1 scholar in health information technology (HIT) thought leadership, based upon the impact of his published research. He has worked or consulted with numerous organizations, including IBM Global Services, UPS and Encana Oil & Gas. Kohli co-authored the book “The IT Payoff: Measuring Business Value of Information Technology Investments,” published by Financial Times Prentice-Hall in 2002. Kohli’s recent research explored methods for lowering risks for expectant mothers and newborn babies using technological functions within electronic health records. He also discovered trends regarding subtle discriminatory behaviors among horizontally integrated firms. Kohli is consistently recognized for his teaching, which includes the provision of experiential learning opportunities and interdisciplinary projects. One example is Kohli’s partnership with Bon Secours Health System, who ultimately adopted 80 percent of his students’ suggestions after they completed a project on healthcare methods. Additionally, his use of real-world examples and interest in his students’ career readiness make his courses stand out to students; his course on managing information systems won the Executive MBA Program’s 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award. Kohli received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Jaime E. Settle
Associate Professor, Government
Professor Jaime Settle is a scholar of American political behavior and the author of “Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America” (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Her research focuses on various forms of political engagement and how it affects individuals’ evaluation of their environment. With more than 18 peer-reviewed articles published, Settle has been cited over 2,500 times and her work has been covered by numerous popular press outlets, such as the New York Times and Time Magazine. She founded the Social Networks and Political Psychology (SNaPP) Lab in 2013, where she has integrated more than 50 students into her research. Settle proves her commitment to her students by chairing numerous honors theses, most of which have gone on to present at the Midwest Political Science Association. She has promoted a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research by founding and co-directing the Social Science Research Methods Center, which provides opportunities for students to develop analytical, methodological and writing skills and pursue independent research projects. Settle teaches several upper-level government courses, such as Social Media and Politics and Polarization in Religion and Politics. Professor Settle received her master’s and doctorate degrees in political science from the University of California, San Diego.
Professor Carol Sheriff is a historian of 19th-century American society and culture who seeks to recast iconic episodes of U.S. history. The author or editor of eight publications, Sheriff strives through her research to place every day human narrative alongside major events in political economy and the formation of culture. Her storytelling ability and engagement with her research have led her publications to reach broad audiences; her book, “A People and a Nation,” is one of the most frequently adopted U.S. history textbooks in the country. Her longest research endeavor has included examining the accuracy of American history textbooks and their surrounding political activism. In 2012, she authored an article in Civil War History titled “Virginia’s Embattled Textbooks: Lessons Learned (and Not) from the Centennial Era,” which examines errors in earlier policies for drafting American history textbooks. Additionally, Sheriff is a deeply engaged member of the William & Mary faculty, pushing her students to examine history more critically. She consistently advises students on theses and dissertations, and founded the History Writing Resources Center to help students with discipline-specific writing challenges. Sheriff received the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award in 2000 and the Arts & Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. Professor Sheriff completed her undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University and her master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University.
Professor, Computer Science
Professor Andreas Stathopoulos works in computational science, and is regarded as one of the world-experts in the solution of large-scale eigenvalue problems. In 2017, he became responsible for editing the Software and High Performance Computing section of the SIAM Journal of Scientific Computing. He was also asked to co-chair the 2021 SIAM Conference on Applied Linear Algebra, a renowned conference in his field with more than 500 attendees. Additionally, Stathopoulos is known for his part in the development of PRIMME, software acknowledged as the world’s fastest and most robust eigensolver. This software was initially released in 2005, and has doubled its user base every year while consistently expanding functionality. He has published seven journal publications since 2013, and serves as the principal investigator of highly competitive grants from the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Stathopoulos is invested in personal mentorship and spends four to six hours per week with each of his advisees. Many of his students have gone on to secure high-impact careers, and Stathopoulos is involved with outreach to attract top students to William & Mary’s computational science graduate program. Stathopoulos received his undergraduate degree from the University of Athens and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University.
John P. Swaddle
In collaboration with numerous undergraduate and graduate students, Professor John Swaddle studies the effects of pollutants on the health and evolution of wildlife. He has published 95 peer-reviewed papers in journals such as Science and Nature, and authored “Asymmetry, Developmental Stability and Evolution,” published by Oxford Press in 1997. Swaddle is invested in interdisciplinary endeavors that incorporate social solutions, technological innovation and business opportunities with fundamental environmental science practices. He has constructed 17 new courses at William & Mary and promotes innovation in teaching by using flipped classroom models and outside data collection. Swaddle believes in removing the boundaries between teaching and research, and encourages students to apply biological principles to solve broader environmental or social issues. In keeping with those ideals, he implemented a COLL 300 study-away opportunity in London and helped redesign the graduate biology program to focus more heavily on research than traditional classroom learning. Swaddle was elected to serve as president of the Animal Behavior Society, his primary international academic society, and is recipient of an Arts & Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence and an Alumni Association Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching. Swaddle received his Ph.D. from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol.