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William & Mary names 2015 Plumeri Award recipients

  • Plumeri Awards
    Plumeri Awards  The award was established in 2009 with a generous gift from Joseph J. Plumeri II '66, D.P.S. '11.  
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In recognition of their exemplary achievements in teaching, research and service, 20 William & Mary professors are being honored this year with the university’s prestigious Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence.  

Among the 2015 Plumeri Award recipients are a linguist who works to help preserve Native American languages, a leading authority in U.S. immigration and labor history and a computer scientist whose research focuses on improving mobile devices such as smartphones that have become ubiquitous in everyday life.

The award was established in 2009 with a generous gift from Joseph J. Plumeri II ’66, D.P.S. ’11. It provides $10,000 to honored faculty members to use for research, summer salaries or other stipends associated with scholarly endeavor. A total of 114 faculty members have been honored with the Plumeri Award since its inception.

“When I was a student at William & Mary, I was inspired by so many extraordinary professors who reinforced the importance of standing up for what I believe in, to think creatively and innovatively and to keep moving forward even when barriers might stand in the way,” said Joseph Plumeri. “I am proud to honor those professors whose remarkable service to the institution has helped so many students pursue their dreams with passion and integrity.”

The impact of the award has been tremendous. Ann Marie Stock, a modern languages and literatures and film and media studies professor at William & Mary, received a Plumeri Award in 2013. She used the funding to support undergraduate research and other initiatives to help expand student learning beyond the classroom. Stock also traveled to the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba, and invited Cuban filmmakers Oneida González and Carlos Rodríguez to campus to meet with students in several programs. This has helped her students gain a better understanding of Cuban culture and politics and, in a way, has helped improve relations between the two nations.

“When I had ideas — whether to bring a Cuban filmmaker to campus or invite undergraduates to team up with me on projects or film interviews in Havana — I could simply move forward. I didn’t have to stop and wonder whether I’d get the necessary funding,” Stock said. “My Plumeri trophy stands in my office and inspires me, every day, to continue giving my heart to William & Mary.”

Stock joins other impactful professors receiving the award who – through their passion and commitment to excellence – continue to enrich the lives of their students. Importantly, all of the recipients have played an integral role in helping to shape the minds of current and future generations so that they too can help make a positive difference in the world.  

The Plumeri Awards promote and reward innovation and creativity among the university’s faculty, according to Provost Michael Halleran. “I congratulate the 2015 recipients and look forward to seeing the fruits of their Plumeri-funded labor. I also thank Mr. Plumeri, on behalf of the entire College, for once again extending this generous support to our wonderful faculty members,” he said.

Brief biographies of each of the 2015 Plumeri Award recipients appear below:
Jeffrey Bellin

Associate Professor of Law

Bellin embodies the Law School’s commitment to the citizen lawyer. He is not only deemed by students as one of the Law School’s most outstanding faculty, but is also a scholar whose work has had an immediate impact on the development of the law. Bellin brings experience in private practice at Latham & Watkins and as an assistant United States attorney, and his work has been influential in how lawyers and scholars think about evidence law in our technological age. The hallmark of his work is the care and diligence with which he assesses the current state of the federal evidence rules and crafts proposed revisions. Bellin has authored 12 major articles that have displayed his talent in proposing creative and practical reforms. His opinion pieces on issues of criminal procedure have appeared in major media outlets, and he is a sought-after guest on local and national radio programs when important issues of criminal law arise. Bellin teaches two of the most foundational courses at the Law School, as well as a seminar on criminal justice issues, and students’ evaluations list him as an influential and favorite professor. At last year’s commencement ceremony, the class of 2014 awarded him the Walter L. Williams Jr. Memorial Teaching Award.

Frederick Corney

Associate Professor of History

Corney is a leading scholar of the history of memory. He is developing a third book, Memory and Modern Russia, which will study intersecting realms of memory across 19th- and 20th-century Russian history as a way of examining how the country has grappled with its past in different ways at different times. A translator before coming into higher education, he speaks Russian, German, English and French. Corney has been one of the mainstays in the university’s summer abroad program, rotating between St. Petersburg, Russia; Prague, Czech Republic; and Cambridge, United Kingdom, most summers, and most recently Potsdam, Germany, coordinating the experience as well as teaching. His commitment to education is also visible in his consistent participation in honors theses, and he has sat on 10 M.A. and seven Ph.D. committees. Corney has assumed a central role in shaping institutional priorities. It was through his stewardship that the Department of History underwent a revamping of its undergraduate program that modernized the curriculum in accordance with the increasingly global and transnational focus of the department, institution and discipline as a whole. He has also served as director of the Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Program. He was a member of the College Curriculum Review Steering Committee, which designed the new COLL curriculum. He was twice the chair of the Tyler Lecture Series, the History Department’s key contribution to the College’s town and gown relationship. 

Evan J. Criddle

Tazewell Taylor Research Professor of Law

Through his scholarship and teaching, Criddle has established himself as a significant voice in human rights law and administrative law. His work focuses on the complex questions of when and how nations may intervene internationally to protect human rights abroad — topics that will continue to engage scholars and policymakers for years to come. Still early in his career, Criddle has produced an impressive portfolio of scholarship, including 15 published articles in American and international law journals and four book chapters. In addition, Criddle has co-authored the book International Law and the Fiduciary Constitution of Sovereignty (with Evan Fox-Decent), which is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. He is an editor and contributor for Human Rights in Emergencies, which is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. At William & Mary Law School since 2013, Criddle has taught three of the school’s foundational courses: Civil Procedure, Administrative Law and Public International Law. He earns high praise from students for his kindness and his patience in teaching difficult subjects. Criddle holds a juris doctorate from Yale Law School.

Adam Gershowitz

Kelly Professor of Teaching Excellence

In the short time he has been on the faculty, Gershowitz has become one of the Law School’s notable scholars. He is an expert in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal justice, and his consideration of real-world problems in criminal procedure makes him someone to whom practitioners turn for advice on legal issues. Gershowitz has earned a reputation as a thought-provoking writer who has made significant contributions in the field, authoring numerous articles and essays. He has been quoted in more than 300 media stories in outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Before Gershowitz came to William & Mary, he received the Best New Professor Award and the All Faculty Teaching Award at South Texas Law School. At the University of Houston Law Center, he received the Order of the Barons Professor of the Year Award, the Student Bar Association Professor of the Year Award and the All University Teaching Award. Now, at William & Mary, student comments in evaluations consistently name Gershowitz as one of the Law School’s best professors, and he was recently named the school’s Kelly Professor of Teaching Excellence. His innovative use of popular culture to illustrate serious legal challenges has caught the notice of many media outlets.

Cindy Hahamovitch

Class of 1938 Professor of History

A Fulbright Fellow and a National Humanities Center Fellow, Professor Hahamovitch is a leading authority on United States immigration and labor history, and on the global history of migrant labor. Her recent book, No Man’s Land: Jamaican Guestworkers in American and the Global History of Deportable Workers, won the Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) prizes for the best book in social history and on race relations, as well as the Taft Prize for labor history. Beyond campus, she has testified as an expert witness, spoken on National Public Radio and on Capitol Hill, and corresponded with members of Obama’s campaign staff regarding immigration. She’s an OAH Distinguished Lecturer, reviews editor for the journal Labor and past president of the Southern Labor Studies Association. On campus, Hahamovitch served as director of graduate studies and is now the chair of the Department of History. She has served on the Educational Policy Committee, the Faculty Research Committee, and the Judicial and Honors Appeals Board, and has worked with hourly staff organizing for a living wage. She invests a great deal of time in her students, and organizes workshops for undergraduate students thinking of going to graduate school, for graduate students writing grant proposals and for graduate students going on the job market.

M. Brennan Harris

Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Harris’ research is significant in the field of cardiovascular physiology/medicine. Harris studies the molecular mechanisms of nitric oxide production, a process that is essential for artery health and artery dilation critical for proper blood flow; it is also an important signaling pathway in several parts of the body. During his time at William & Mary, he has continued to study this pathway while finding his niche as an independent investigator describing the mechanisms of exercise-induced changes in nitric oxide production and signaling. He has published 14 papers in his 10 years at the university, and he has been almost continually funded as an independent investigator by external grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. Harris’ courses are in high demand, given that they are of great interest to students pursuing careers in medicine and public health. Many are accepted to medical school because Harris has provided them with the type of research experience that will deepen their learning as physicians. He is also very involved with the Institute of Pilgrimage Studies at the university and has developed a new, interdisciplinary area of research exploring health and pilgrimage, often sending students to participate as travelers and as data collectors for physiology fieldwork on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Robert J. Hinkle

Professor of Chemistry

Hinkle’s recent research has been in two very different areas. In the realm of organic synthetic methods, he studies the catalytic generation of cyclic oxocarbenium ions. In the area of alternative fuels, he has evaluated and attempted to identify processing pathways for algal-derived organic components. Hinkle publishes in the best peer-reviewed journals for his field in the world, and he is the only chemistry faculty member at William & Mary to have garnered single-investigator funding from both the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. His current NSF funding supports his work in organic synthetic methodology. Hinkle has mentored over 85 undergraduates since his arrival at William & Mary and was recently recognized with the Jennifer and Devin Murphy Award for outstanding integration of research with teaching. Hinkle has also contributed to governance and service both at the university and to the profession. He is currently the chair of the College’s Athletic Policy Advisory Committee, as well as the Arts and Sciences’ Nominations and Elections Committee. In the field of chemistry, he is an active reviewer for journal manuscripts and grant proposals.

Kathleen Jenkins

Associate Professor of Sociology

Jenkins’ research focuses on the intersection of two social institutions, family and religion. Her latest research project examines the experience of parents and their emerging adult children who walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in northwest Spain, exploring the relationship between contemporary kinship, religious practice and therapeutic culture. She is currently analyzing this data and working on the initial chapters for her third book project. Jenkins was instrumental in the design of an innovative study abroad program focusing on pilgrimage studies in Santiago, Spain. She has also contributed to important growth in William & Mary’s sociology curriculum, serving in her second term as the chair of the Department of Sociology. Jenkins developed and regularly teaches a senior capstone course on qualitative methods, as well as a course in her specialty area of the sociology of religion. She has embraced the concept of undergraduate research, integrating undergraduate students into her research projects and presenting papers at conferences that are co-authored with her students. Jenkins has won extramural research funding, being awarded a grant from the Congregational Studies Team to support research for her second book published in 2014, Sacred Divorce: Religion, Therapeutic Culture, and Ending Life Partnerships.

Simon P. Joyce

Margaret Hamilton Professor of English

Joyce is a well-respected teacher and scholar in the fields of Victorian and Modernist literary studies. His productive scholarly record includes 13 published articles and three monographs — Naturalism and Modernism in British and Irish Fiction, 1880-1930, Capital Offenses: Geographies of Class and Crime in Victorian London and The Victorians in the Rearview Mirror. The latter was nominated for the Modern Language Association’s prestigious James Russell Lowell Prize. Joyce currently is working on a fourth book, tentatively titled Learning About Sex from the Victorians. His scholarly achievements have led to speaking invitations from a variety of universities, and he delivered the keynote address during the special topics conference on “Arthur Morrison and the East End” last November at Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom. Joyce also has served on nearly every committee in William & Mary’s English Department, of which he is a former associate chair. He currently co-chairs the Arts & Sciences Committee on Retention, Promotion and Tenure and was the longtime director of the Literary and Cultural Studies/Film Studies program. Joyce, who came to William & Mary in 2002, holds a doctorate in English from the University at Buffalo.

Allison Orr Larsen ’99

Associate Professor of Law

At William & Mary Law School since 2010, Larsen has developed a national reputation as a scholar of the process of decision-making in U.S. courts. Her work has explored topics such as the practice of dissent by judges in controversial cases; negotiation and compromise by jurors in the jury room; and the citation of materials outside the record by courts and the complications this practice poses in the Internet age. Larsen’s scholarship has been featured in major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Recognized as an outstanding teacher, Larsen was honored with the Class of 2013 Walter Williams Jr. Memorial Teaching Award, which is awarded by the graduating class to one member of the Law School faculty for “excellence in teaching, devotion to law and friendship to students.” She received William & Mary’s Alumni Fellowship Award in 2012. In 2014, Larsen received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, which also named her an early-career “Rising Star.” Larsen earned a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from William & Mary and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Rowan Lockwood

Associate Professor of Geology

Lockwood is recognized as a talented paleoecologist, an enthusiastic teacher and an outstanding adviser. Her research focuses on mass extinctions and the effects of climate change on organisms and ecosystems. Lockwood’s work has been published in first-rate journals, and she has successfully secured external funding for her research from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund and the Jeffress Memorial Trust. She teaches courses that run the gamut from introductory level to upper-level seminars and was named in the Princeton Review’s Best 300 Professors in 2012. Lockwood also received William & Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award in 2009, the Alumni Association Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007 and the Undergraduate Adviser of the Year Award in 2005. She has advised more than 60 undergraduates on their research, and her students often present results at national meetings and go on to publish in peer-reviewed journals. Lockwood served for two years as the faculty director of the Office of Academic Advising, and she was the activating agent for William & Mary’s Committee on Sustainability. She currently co-chairs the Women’s Network and serves on the task force that is examining the university’s gender climate. Lockwood, who has been at William & Mary since 2001, holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

Jack B. Martin

Professor of English and Linguistics

Martin is an award-winning scholar and a highly rated teacher. A linguist, he focuses his research on studying Creek, Miccosukee and Koasati — native languages of the American South. Martin works to help tribes preserve languages that are in danger of extinction. Martin has authored four books (a fifth book is forthcoming) and two dozen articles. He also has presented at more than 50 professional conferences. His book, A Grammar of Creek, received the Linguistic Society of America’s 2012 Leonard Bloomfield Book Award. Martin’s teaching record is equally impressive and includes core and advanced courses. For nearly two decades, Martin has included students in his fieldwork in Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma. At William & Mary, Martin has served as director of the linguistics program and chaired the English department. He also co-chaired the Arts & Sciences Education Policy Committee during the recent implementation of the new College Curriculum. Outside of the university, Martin has served as senior chair of the Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation. Martin, who first came to William & Mary in 1993, holds a doctorate in linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Vassiliki Panoussi

Associate Professor of Classical Studies

Since arriving at William & Mary in 2005, Panoussi has built an impressive record of research, teaching and service. Described by her students as very demanding, but highly effective and approachable, Panoussi has taught Latin and Greek at all levels as well as a variety of civilization courses in translation. Panoussi’s recent freshman seminar class, “When Odysseus Met Harry Potter: Classical Myth in Youth Literature,” showcased her creativity in the classroom and was featured prominently in William & Mary’s 2014 President’s Report. Her first book, Greek Tragedy in Vergil’s Aeneid: Ritual, Empire, and Intertext, was published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press and was well received by her scholarly peers. She has completed a second book, Brides, Mourners, Bacchae: Women’s Rituals in Roman Literature, currently under review. Panoussi has also published several articles on various Latin authors and on the intersection of literature, religion, gender and culture. Her growing international reputation is evidenced by invitations to lecture at Oxford University last fall, as well as in Italy this summer. Panoussi, who currently serves at the director of William & Mary’s newly established Post-Baccalaureate Program in Classical Studies, holds a doctorate in classics from Brown University.

Jeffrey Shields

Professor of Marine Science

Shields is a world-class scientist, a dedicated public servant of the Commonwealth and the nation, and a highly valued teacher and mentor. His most important contribution is his research combining field and laboratory experiments, classical histological methods and molecular genetics approaches towards advancing our understanding of diseases of crabs and lobsters. Over his career, Shields has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles on infectious diseases and parasites, notably on how disease affects commercially and ecologically important species, as well as other important topics. He is currently working on an encyclopedic volume on crab parasites and pathogens. Shields has also been the recipient of over $12.5 million in grant and contract funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The broad interest and importance of his expertise was formally recognized in a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his research on lobsters. Shields draws on his expertise to enrich classroom, field and laboratory experiences. The students in his courses have expressed their appreciation of his teaching style and his knowledge of the fields covered.

Megan Tschannen-Moran

Professor of Education

Tschannen-Moran epitomizes the competence, passion, commitment and effectiveness of an exceptional faculty member. She teaches courses in the Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program, and is highly versatile and creative in using a variety of instructional approaches across her content courses, research seminars and field-based internships. Since 2002, Tschannen-Moran has chaired 28 dissertation committees and served on many others. Students appreciate her constructive mentoring, timely feedback and helpful guidance for publishing and presenting their research. Tschannen-Moran is also among the most productive scholars in the School of Education. With her research focused on constructs of trust, self-efficacy and organizational climate, she has published three books, 13 book chapters and 37 articles. She has presented numerous papers at professional conferences. Tschannen-Moran also contributes greatly to university governance and service to the profession. She currently serves as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and provides valuable insight as part of the Faculty Executive Committee. At the national level, Tschannen-Moran served as a secretary for Division A of the American Educational Research Association and is active in the University Council for Educational Administration. She is the recipient of the 2015 AERA Division A Excellence in Research Award.

Christopher R. Vinroot

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Vinroot’s research interests are in the representation theory of groups and combinatorics. More than 20 of his research papers have been published in top refereed journals, and more works have been submitted for publication. Vinroot has been an invited presenter at dozens of conferences and colloquia. At William & Mary, he has taught undergraduate mathematics courses at all levels. Vinroot’s teaching is often praised by both colleagues and students, who consistently rate his courses dramatically higher than departmental averages. To recognize his outstanding teaching, Vinroot was awarded the Mathematics Department’s Simon Teaching Prize in 2011. He has served on several committees within the Mathematics Department, including the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Vinroot also has served as the chief undergraduate adviser for mathematics majors and as the faculty adviser to the William & Mary chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon. Outside of the university, Vinroot has served as a referee for several mathematical journals, and he has written 18 reviews for Mathematical Reviews. He holds a doctorate in mathematics from Stanford University.

Harry Wang

Professor of Marine Science

Wang is an exceptionally dedicated teacher and mentor, as well as a strong contributor to the academic program of the School of Marine Science, playing a key role in shaping the physical oceanography component of the graduate program. In the 16 years that he has been at VIMS, Wang has been the recipient of nearly $13 million in grant and contract awards, and established the VIMS Estuarine and Coastal Modeling Lab as one of the premier research groups in that field in the nation. The lab has been the recipient of prestigious honors in recent years, including the 2011 Governor’s Innovative Technology Award, which recognizes Virginia agencies, programs and people that use information technology to improve the delivery and efficiency of government services while solving real-world problems. Wang’s highly sought research and advisory expertise focuses on issues of extreme interest to the Commonwealth, to the nation as a whole and to international collaborators. His work on the development of cutting-edge hydrodynamic/water quality models and his application of those models to address real-world problems in coastal systems, including pollution reduction, sea level rise and storm surge prediction, have earned him a strong international reputation.

Kim E. Wheatley

Professor of English

Wheatley has been recognized by colleagues in the English Department for her success in teaching the classic works of British Romanticism. As a scholar, she specializes in the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley and in early 19th-century British periodicals, especially the influential Edinburgh Review and Quarterly Review. Wheatley has authored two monographs: Shelley and His Readers: Beyond Paranoid Politics and Romantic Feuds: Transcending the “Age of Personality.” She has also edited a collection of essays entitled Romantic Periodicals and Print Culture, and has published 10 refereed articles and book chapters in top academic journals and edited collections. Currently, Wheatley is starting work on a third book, focusing on the influence of Romanticism on 20th-century British novelist John Cowper Powys. At William & Mary since 1992, Wheatley has served as associate chair of the English Department. She has served two terms on the Arts & Sciences Educational Policy Committee, which she chaired when the university began a debate about general education revisions that eventually led to the new College Curriculum. She advises English majors in the William & Mary/St Andrews Joint Degree Programme. Wheatley holds a doctorate in English literature from Johns Hopkins University. 

Gexin Yu

Associate Professor of Mathematics

Yu is described as a well-rounded faculty member who demonstrates passion and quality in research and teaching. His expertise lies in the field of graph theory. Within graph theory, Yu’s interests include graph linkage, graph packing and applications of graph theory to computer science. Graph theory studies the properties and structures in graphs, applies them to study the extremal behaviors on graphs, and design efficient algorithms to solve problems from applied areas. He has taught a variety of lower- and upper-level mathematics courses and has completed more than 40 papers, five of which were co-authored with William & Mary undergraduates. Yu has advised honors thesis research for five students, including Ari Cukierman ’12, the 2012 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy. Yu currently supervises the research of five more students. He has been invited to give more than 30 talks at national and international conferences or colloquiums and secured external research support from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency. At William & Mary since 2008, Yu holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gang Zhou

Associate Professor of Computer Science

Zhou enjoys an international reputation as a researcher. His work addresses some of the many problems that arise in connection with the omnipresence of computing devices in everyday life. His research interests are broad and encompass smartphones, ubiquitous computing, mobile computing, sensor networks, wireless networks and mobile healthcare. Much of his research focuses on how to improve mobile devices and seeks software solutions to hardware limitations — including recent research that studied battery life in smartphones. Zhou has published 25 refereed journal papers and 43 refereed conference papers. He also holds several patents that grew out of his research and has been approached by Google, among others, to discuss commercialization possibilities. Since arriving at William & Mary in 2007, Zhou has been awarded more than $1.2 million in external research funding, including a prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award. Zhou teaches popular graduate-level courses and has been active in recruiting and advising graduate students to William & Mary. In the computer science department, he has served on several committees, including the Graduate Admissions Committee and Faculty Recruiting Committee. Zhou holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Virginia.