Michigan State University is able to boast an extraordinary faculty who connect students to cutting-edge research and scholarship, with some 1,940 tenured faculty members and even more dedicated academic staff outside of the tenure stream.
Ten faculty members were named Distinguished Faculty Award winners and recognized by university leaders February 14. Each was honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research or creative activities, instruction, and outreach. Other faculty members were honored for their teaching, outreach and other services.
The past year has seen many other faculty members recognized for their accomplishments by their professional societies and other sponsors.
Elena Litchman, associate professor of ecology, and Tonghun Lee, associate professor of mechanical engineering, were among 94 researchers honored earlier this year by President Barack Obama as recipients of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Litchman and Lee were nominated from a pool of the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions. Winning scientists and engineers have received research grants for up to five years to further their studies in support of critical government missions.
Also this year, a record nine MSU researchers earned national recognition by being named AAAS fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
MSU’s AAAS fellows are Christoph Adami, professor of microbiology; R. Sekhar Chivukula, associate dean of the College of Natural Science and professor of physics; Jeffrey Conner, professor of plant biology; Megan Donahue, professor of astronomy; Sheng Yang He, professor of plant biology; Gregg Howe, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology; Piotr Piecuch, University Distinguished Professor of chemistry; Thomas D. Sharkey, chairperson and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and Elizabeth H. Simmons, dean of Lyman Briggs College and professor of physics.
In the last three years, 20 MSU faculty members were named AAAS fellows by their peers.
In addition, Diane Ebert-May, professor of plant biology, was named the Michigan winner of the 2011 U.S. Professors of the Year awards program. She was among the national and state winners honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Ebert-May implements scientific teaching in her classroom driven by her research on how students learn biology and develop high-level cognitive skills in learner-centered courses.
Also, Robert LaDuca, a Lyman Briggs College professor, was the recipient of the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. LaDuca is one of four professors from Michigan public universities to earn the award, which honors the outstanding contributions made by the faculty from Michigan’s public universities to the education of undergraduate students. LaDuca, who also has an appointment in the Department of Chemistry, was honored for his ability to create a “fun, enthusiastic, and interactive environment for intense scientific development and inquiry in chemistry.”