Duke Names Nine Faculty as Bass Scholars

Honor recognizes scholars who combine great research with exceptional teaching

Nine Duke University faculty members have been
appointed to endowed chairs in the university's Bass Program for Excellence in
Undergraduate Education, which recognizes professors who have outstanding
records in undergraduate teaching and research.

"This is an incredible group of professors
who give lie to the concept that stellar researchers don't have time or
interest in teaching," said Provost Peter Lange. "The Bass professors
are proof positive that one talent can complement the other and they provide great
service to their colleagues as well, through their stellar service on
University committees."   

The
chairs were created in 1996 when Anne T. and Robert Bass gave $10 million as a
matching gift to encourage Duke alumni, parents and friends to fully endow the
positions. Candidates are nominated by faculty and evaluated by a faculty
committee. Bass Professors hold the chairs for five-year terms and then become
lifetime members of the Bass Society of Fellows. 

Steve
Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education who is also a Bass
Fellow, is raising the visibility to the Bass Society as an academy of master
scholar-teachers. In 2011, for example, the Bass Society collaborated with the
Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Center for Instructional Technology to
sponsor an inaugural lecture series titled "Re-imagining the Academy."
Five leaders in the debate about the competitiveness of American higher
education came to speak.

This
month, a Bass Society executive committee was appointed with Craig Henriquez, professor
of biomedical engineering and computer science, serving as the faculty
chairperson. Anne Allison, cultural anthropology, will serve as vice chair.
Other members include: Peter Feaver, political science; Emily Klein, earth and
ocean sciences; and Kate Scholberg, physics.

"The
Bass Professors have shown they know what it takes to be great teachers,
especially when it comes to innovation," Nowicki said. "The
importance of faculty leadership in developing this resource cannot be underestimated.
I look forward to working with the Bass Fellows on expanding and promoting
their activities related to teaching and learning at Duke."

The newly appointed Bass Fellows are:

* Thomas
Ferraro
, Frances Hill Fox Professor of English, specializes in American literature
and culture, with expertise in the novel and the interplay of religion,
ethnicity and the media arts. His has a lively teaching style, which can
include analysis of the cultural impact of Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and the
Sopranos.  He meets with each
student to go over papers in person no matter how large the class and earned
the 2010 Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.

 *
Andrew Janiak, Creed C. Black
Associate Professor of Philosophy, is an historian of early modern philosophy
with a focus in Newton, Kant and the philosophy of science. He teaches core and
elective classes on the history of philosophy through the scientific revolution
and the Enlightenment. He has also developed several new curricular initiatives
including a new FOCUS cluster on science and religion.

* James Moody, Robert O. Keohane Professor of Sociology, is a pioneer
in area of social networks, formal sociological theory and quantitative
methodology. His interdisciplinary research on teen social networks analyzes
their impact on health, racial segregation, friendship groups, delinquency and
substance abuse.  He has
transformed an undergraduate theory course in which students are encouraged not
to take notes during the class but rather to listen and concentrate on
understanding.    

* Diane Nelson, Eads Family Professor of Cultural Anthropology,
specializes in the study of identity, gender, political economy and popular
choice. She focuses on Latin America and more specifically Guatemala, where she
began her research two decades ago, during the country's civil war. She
received the Robert B. Cox Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award in
2009.

* Kathryn Nightingale, James L. and Elizabeth M. Vincent Associate
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has developed a novel method of ultrasound
imaging that can be applied clinically. She has designed several electives,
including one that introduces students to biomedical engineering through design
projects. She is a recipient of a Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award.

* Mohamed Noor, Earl D. McLean, Jr.
Professor of Biology, specializes in the study of evolution, genetics, and
genomics. In 2008, he was among the 12 scientists awarded the Darwin-Wallace
Medal for outstanding contributions that lead to "major advances in
evolutionary biology." He is a pedagogical innovator, committed to
discovering the best techniques for teaching introductory courses, such as his
basic genetics classes. 

* Lincoln Pratson, Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown & Sons Professor
of Earth and Ocean Sciences is a leading scientist in sedimentology, but in the
past few years, he has shifted his research focus to carbon sequestration and
renewable energy storage. He created the undergraduate and professional masters'
programs in the Energy and Environment and oversees undergraduate research
projects, while carrying a heavy teaching load of popular courses.

* Thomas
Robisheaux
, Fred W. Shaffer Professor of History, is an expert in early
modern European history.   His lecture course on "Magic,
Religion, and Science since 1400," which probes psychology, anthropology,
religious experiences, the occult and physics, has become one of the most
popular classes on campus.  

* Adam
Wax
, Theodore Kennedy Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has
earned a national reputation as one of the best scholars in his discipline and
the field of biomedical optics. His research involves the use of light to
characterize cells and tissues, which helps detect disease. He has taught five
different BME courses, playing key roles in the development of new lectures and
laboratory materials -- and an entire set of biophotonics courses. 

For more information, visit the Bass Society website.