Nine receive named professorships
July 17, 2006
With research areas ranging from nanotechnology to language acquisition, from Latin American history to Enlightenment scholars in France and more, nine University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty members have been awarded named professorships by the UW Board of Regents. They are:
Robert H. Blick, professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics, Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Engineering II.
Since joining the UW-Madison engineering faculty in 2003, Blick has brought innovative technologies to bear on nano-electromechanical systems, quantum electronics and bio-electronics. He currently is working on building single-electron transistors to be used for quantum computing, designing and constructing three-dimensional nanostructures for mobile communication devices, and applying nanostructuring techniques to ion channels, the most fundamental unit of information exchange in living systems.
The five-year Matthias Professorship honors a 1926 UW-Madison graduate in electrical engineering who developed many seminal product lines for Milwaukee's Allen Bradley Co. The dean of the College of Engineering allocates its funds.
Franco Cerrina, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Engineering I.
Cerrina, director of the UW-Madison Center for Nanotechnology, works on the nanofabrification of semiconductor devices, and in their application to genomic science problems. He leads an interdisciplinary program directed to the de-novo synthesis of genes and other biomolecules to synthesize DNA on demand.
In 2005 the College of Engineering split the Matthias Professorship into two separate endowed chairs, now known as the Lynn H. Matthias Professorship I and II in Engineering.
Myra Marx Ferree, professor of sociology and women's studies, Martindale-Bascom Professor.
Ferree, a leading scholar of gender and social movements, currently is writing a book on German feminism. She also has been analyzing the Web sites of transnational women's organizations to see how they incorporate feminism into their public identities. In addition, she has co-edited (with Aili Tripp, UW-Madison professor of political science and women's studies) on global feminism.
Donald Albert Martindale received his bachelor's (1939), master's (1940) and his doctorate (1948) from UW-Madison. He went on to a long and distinguished career as a sociologist specializing in social psychology, American society, comparative institutions and more. The Martindale-Bascom Professorship is a five-year appointment that carries $10,000 annually to be used for research-related expenses.
Douglas Maynard, professor of sociology, Conway-Bascom Professor.
Interested in the sociology of everyday life and interaction, Maynard is the author of an important monograph on the delivery and reception of good and bad news. Other studies have focused on issues in science and technology, cognition in interaction, disability studies and more. This year he has been named a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Helsinki.
A memorial to Emma Welsch Conway, this professorship promotes research in sociology. It carries an annual $10,000 allocation for five years.
Robert D. Nowak, associate professor electrical and computer engineering, McFarland-Bascom Professor in Engineering.
Nowak is known worldwide for his contributions to statistical image processing, network tomography (solid object X-rays), wireless sensor networks and statistical machine learning. His work addresses the challenge of processing far more data and information than ever before by focusing on the theoretical foundations of information processing, and by training the next generation of researchers. He has received young investigator awards from the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research.
The McFarland-Bascom Professorship supports a faculty member in any engineering department. It comes with a $15,000 allocation annually for five years.
Seth Pollak, associate professor of psychology, College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of Psychology.
Pollak has been studying how social experiences affect underlying causes of emotional, learning and behavioral problems in young children. He frequently consults with Dane County Early Head Start, the Madison Metropolitan School District, police departments and more to improve responses to child victims of violent crime. He also aids caseworker training at the Wisconsin Department of Child Protective Services.
Funds for the College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professorships in Psychology provide $5,000 annually for five years to promote research in the department.
Jenny Saffran, professor of psychology, College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of Psychology.
Saffran's research focuses on how infants acquire their native language: the kinds of learning abilities required to master linguistic complexities. To make that inquiry she investigates what kinds of learning occur in infancy, biases that shape human learning abilities and the relationship between these biases and language. In 2000 she received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Clinton at a White House ceremony.
Steve J. Stern, professor of history, Alberto Flores Galindo Professor.
Stern studies how ordinary Latin Americans have adapted creatively to adversity and injustice, thereby reshaping the moral bases and social relationships of their communities. He has addressed issues including encounters between Spanish and indigenous peoples during colonial periods, gender and power in rural Mexico, the "Shining Path" insurgency in Peru and ways in which Chileans deal with traumatic memories of the Pinochet regime.
Peruvian historian Alberto Flores Galindo studied such subjects as how class and ethnic relations in colonial Lima, the "Indian Question" in Peru and the history of utopian thought among native peoples in the Andes. The Galindo Professorship provides $10,000 annually for five years.
Anne Vila, professor of French and Italian, Halverson-Bascom Professor.
Currently investigating why many seminal figures "living the life of the mind" in 18 the century France often were portrayed not as heroes of the intellect but as social misfits, with physically peculiarities and worse.
Donald L. Halverson maintained that student residence halls should be an important part of the university's educational process. He began his career as a professor of French, and gained recognition for his effective management of French House. He also served later as the university's housing director. His professorship allocates $15,000 for three years to be used for research-related expenses.