Past Award Winners

Regent’s Award for Distinguished Public Service Winners

Arab-American poet and literary studies pioneer Khaled Mattawa is internationally acclaimed for his poems, masterful translations of Arabic poetry, and support for the arts globally. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recognized his many creative contributions with a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014. A native of Benghazi, Libya, Mattawa immigrated to the United States in 1979 at age 15. After earning a Master of Arts degree in English and Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in English from Duke University, he taught at several universities prior to joining the U-M faculty in 2004.

Mattawa has published four books of poetry: “Ismailia Eclipse” (1995), “Zodiac of Echoes,” (2003), “Amorisco,” (2008), and “Tocqueville” (2010), winner of the Arab American National Museum Arab American Book Award in Poetry and San Francisco Poetry Center Prize. Mattawa, an Academy of American Poets chancellor, has translated nine books of Arabic poetry, including “Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems of Saadi Youssef” (2002) and “Adonis: Selected Poems” (2010), both winners of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He also won the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for “Adonis.” Additionally, he has published 19 critical essays and has given many readings, including at the London Book Fair and Poets Forum in New York. This fall, Mattawa will participate in the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, North America’s largest poetry celebration. He has received an Alfred Hodder Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artist Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes. He and his wife, artist and U-M alumna Reem Gibriel, co-founded the Arete Foundation of Arts and Culture in Libya. As president of the Radius of Arab American Writers from 2005 to 2010, he helped raise the group’s profile significantly.

Actor, writer and social entrepreneur Ashley Lucas is renowned for her groundbreaking scholarship on incarceration and her public service. As director of the U-M Prison Creative Arts Project, Lucas and her students help transform the lives of current and former prisoners, juveniles in detention, and their families through creative programs and services. The project coordinates arts workshops in prisons, trains students and volunteers to lead them, and curates an annual prison art show.

With the support of a LSA Teaching Transformed Grant, Lucas launched the Atonement Project, an arts-based restorative justice program. She also developed a student exchange program with Brazil’s federal university UNIRIO. She speaks about the project at academic conferences and prisons, universities, houses of worship, libraries and events such as Legislative Day in Lansing and U-M’s Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.

Lucas performs her one-woman play, “Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass” (2004) in the United States and abroad. It is based on letters, interviews and personal experience as the child of an incarcerated parent. She co-edited “Razor Wire Women” (2011), a collection of essays, and runs the Razor Wire Women blog.

Lucas has served on several dissertation committees and advises undergraduates working on their theses and through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Her awards include an MCubed grant to digitally archive more than 5,000 images of art displayed over a 20-year period at the Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.

Lucas coordinated the Residential College’s Committee on Engaged Learning and served on the Provost’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She is past president of the Women and Theatre Program of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Lucas serves on the advisory board of Open Hearts, Open Minds, which provides arts programming for incarcerated adults in Oregon.

Physician, researcher and health policy educator Dr. Matthew Davis, is recipient of the 2015 Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service. Davis is founding director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, which has informed policy initiatives. During 2013-2015, he bridged the worlds of health care delivery and public health, serving as chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. As the state’s chief medical executive, he contributed to dozens of initiatives, including strategies to reduce infant mortality and the first statewide conference on high utilizers of health care. The Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service recognizes public service activities that relate closely to teaching and research and reflect professional and academic expertise.

Throughout his career, Sridhar Kota has worked to bridge the gap between theory and practice in engineering research and education, accelerating the translation of academic research to commercialization as president of his own company and through his teaching and public service.

As assistant director for advanced manufacturing in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009-12, he developed policies and strategies to enhance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, sparked a vital dialogue about the importance of advanced manufacturing to the nation’s future and helped launch the new Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. He proposed and championed establishment of National Manufacturing Innovation institutes that are being implemented throughout the country. He also launched the National Robotics Initiative and others to enhance the competitiveness of small- and medium-size manufacturers.

A member of the CoE since 1987, Kota has pioneered a new paradigm in mechanical design called distributed compliance that eliminates joints, reduces cost, and improves reliability. In 2001, he founded FlexSys Inc. to bring this technology, including his variable geometry airfoil FlexFoil to market. FlexFoil reconfigures an aircraft’s wing in flight to maximize performance, saving fuel and reducing noise.

Kota holds 25 patents and licenses. He has published more than 65 journal articles, 150 conference papers and has co-authored a textbook. He orchestrated and taught U-M’s first interdisciplinary design course and has taught the Design for Manufacturability course for students and practicing engineers since 1990. He has advised 22 Ph.D. graduates and several hundred graduate and undergraduate student mechanical engineering design projects.

Kota is a fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has consulted for several dozen companies. His awards include ASME’s Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award, Machine Design Award, and Leonardo da Vinci Award and U-M’s Mechanical Engineering Achievement Award and Teaching Excellence Award.

An expert on retirement systems in the United States, Australia and Europe, Muir is a trusted adviser to government and business on fiduciary issues related to employment, compensation, and benefits law and policy. The U.S. Supreme Court has cited her scholarship, and she has been selected a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel in recognition for her significant contributions to the advancement of the employee benefits field.

Muir, who earned A.B. and J.D. degrees at U-M, joined the Ross School faculty in 1993. She has served as a congressional fellow in 2000 and as a member of the Department of Labor Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans from 2002-04, where she co-chaired a study of defined benefit plan funding. In 2008, she was appointed as a representative of the public on the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Advisory Committee, and served on the Aerospace Corporation board from 2003-09.

Muir is the author or co-author of more than 30 articles, book chapters and books, including “A Manager’s Guide to Employment Law: How to Protect Your Company and Yourself (2003).” She is editor of the annual supplement to Employees Benefits. Co-chair of a 2010 international conference, she co-edited “Imagining the Ideal Pension System: International Perspectives (2011)” based on the proceedings.

An award-winning teacher, she has served on several Ross School committees, and has been a member of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Advisory Board. She is working on the proposed Center on Finance, Law and Policy to study the circumstances that led to the 2007-08 financial crisis and explore new ways to think about finance in the public and private sectors. She also represents U-M on the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Board of Trustees.

Robert Axelrod’s theoretical and applied work on conflict, evolution of cooperation and the management of complexity has contributed to the development of understanding between people and provided a fresh perspective on the causes and prevention of war.

Axelrod is the Mary Ann and Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. Professor for the Study of Human Understanding, and professor of political science, LSA; and professor of public policy, Ford School. Combining game theory, particularly the prisoner’s dilemma, and theories of evolution, he has shown that cooperative arrangements can evolve. His “The Evolution of Cooperation” (Basic Books, 1984), has been published in 12 languages and received positive reviews in scholarly journals, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His research findings regularly inform the actions of the United Nations, World Bank, U.S. Department of Defense and others, and he has advised parties to the Middle East peace process and officials combating terrorism. Axelrod’s “Harnessing Complexity: Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier” (Free Press, 2000), co-authored with Michael Cohen, provides policymakers and business leaders a guide to complexity theory and its practical application. Axelrod has authored or edited seven books and more than 70 papers in publications such as American Economic Review, American Political Science Review, and Nature and Science. He and co-author William Hamilton won the Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the most outstanding paper in Science in 1981.

Axelrod has received the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award for Behavioral Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War. He is a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Affairs, past-president of the American Political Science Association, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, and a member of the NAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Axelrod has received the U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, the Henry Russel Lectureship and an honorary degree from Harvard.

Barbara Anderson, professor of sociology and research professor at the Population Studies Center, is one of the country’s most accomplished social demographers. In approaching public service, she consciously has avoided the spotlight, choosing instead the more challenging route of building capacity within organizations to conduct their own analyses, using the tools of demographic methods that she has provided through careful and patient training.

“Hard work well done and with lasting impact: that’s the essence of public service.” Anderson does such work “regularly and effectively,” says a colleague, and each time, she brings credit to U-M. She exemplifies the role faculty members can play in using their expertise to assist communities. In the late 1990s she worked as a consultant to the Ann Arbor School Board, where she served on the Demographic Committee, conducting analyses that could inform decisions regarding school closing, new construction, and re-drawing boundaries for elementary and middle schools.

Anderson also has made lasting public service contributions to Estonia, South Africa and China. She became a high-level advisor for the Estonian National Family and Fertility Survey, and she is credited with laying “the basis for the emergence of modern survey statistics in the country.” At the invitation of the Estonian government, she attended the United Nations 1993 European Population Conference in Geneva, where she successfully advocated for financial support to build capacity for micro-data analysis within Estonia. In recognition of her valued service, she was awarded a certificate of honor from the Estonian Secretary of State.

Anderson also consulted with the Deputy Head of the Chinese Census about problems with census data from the northwest province of Xinjiang and she trained researchers to analyze micro-data at the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. She also helped establish the Population Institute of Tibet University.

Her current research and public service work is based mainly in South Africa. One of her former students now is executive manager of demographic and social analysis for Statistics South Africa, and in recent years she has consulted with the organization on a number of issues, especially on the impact of the HIV epidemic on adult mortality and orphans in South Africa.

The public service of Anne Ruggles Gere, professor of English language and literature and of education, LSA, School of Education, has benefited hundreds of thousands of people in the three decades since she earned her doctoral degree from the University in 1974.

Her public service began at the University of Washington, where she founded and developed the Puget Sound Writing Program, the nation’s first secondary-level project on writing across the curriculum. Under her direction, the program produced “Roots in the Sawdust,” a ground-breaking book on writing across the curriculum. Twenty-eight years later, the program continues.

Since joining the faculty in 1987, Gere’s public service has grown. Particularly compelling is the Teachers for Tomorrow program she developed, which supports teacher education. She also took the lead on two Farmington Public School efforts to build bridges among diverse racial and ethnic groups and improve the academic achievement of students. As an overseer and then trustee for Colby College, she has served on education policy and search committees, reviewed and led workshops for different departments and otherwise helped shape liberal education there.

Executive directors of the largest professional organizations at the center of her fields separately attest to Gere’s influential public service. According to one, “While many have lent their support to building a national community among English teachers, there may be no one who has done more than Anne in providing leadership in so many realms.”

Her service in the Modern Language Association includes the founding of one and chairing of two divisions that specialize in teaching, and she currently serves on the MLS Executive Council. She also was selected as a member of the advisory board for the association’s flagship journal, PMLA. Gere also has worked unstintingly with Room at the Inn, a program that provides shelter, food and support for homeless individuals and

During his 34-year career at U-M, Bryant has been deeply involved in teaching, research and service to the community. His work on behalf of the Environmental Justice Program (EJP) has gained him local, national and international recognition. In 1994, he was invited to the White House to witness President Clinton’s signing of the Environmental Justice Executive Order. More recently he was involved in a policy briefing at the Michigan State Department of Environmental Quality Advisory Council and was part of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition to encourage the governor of Michigan to sign an environmental justice executive order.

Environmental justice is the term used for efforts to ensure the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. During the past 15 years, the EJP has become one of the most visible in SNRE and has made a unique contribution to the school and University. Six years ago, Bunyan created the Environmental Initiative to research and disseminate conference proceedings and policy briefings. He has made presentations on environmental justice at many national and international conferences.

Bunyan has been an inspiration for his students, and recently completed an environmental textbook for undergraduate students. In one of his courses, students, with the support of the dean’s office, organized an international conference on climate justice, which was held on campus and drew scholars and activists from various countries and racial backgrounds. The conference had a tremendous effect upon public policy and continues to do so. Information disseminated at the conference helped support the Global Climate Change Bill authored by Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman.

During the past year, Bryant chaired the dissertation committee of the first African-American woman to complete an environmental justice dissertation. He also advised the first environmental justice master’s project, which focused on an environmental justice assessment of the Arab community in Dearborn and the surrounding communities.

Bryant has received numerous awards for his achievements, including the Dreamkeeper Award in 1993 and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in 2001. For excellence in teaching he was given an Outstanding Teaching Award from SNRE in 2000, and in 2001, he was awarded an Arthur Thurnau Professorship.

An accomplished literary and cultural historian and a seasoned research administrator, Julie Ellison is remarkable for her service to public cultural institutions in Michigan, her national leadership in building a broad-based movement for the public arts and humanities, and her groundbreaking new scholarship embodying the connections she is forging between the scholarly world and the public.

The sheer volume of public work in which Ellison is engaged is notable in itself, but the extent to which she has successfully integrated this public work and her scholarship is especially impressive. A list of her public scholarship and activities demonstrates the rich, varied and substantive quality of her public service.

At the heart of her public service is founding and directing Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. Imagining America began in 1999 as a two-year program of the White House Millennium Council. U-M, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and 20 college and university presidents were partners in the enterprise. In fall 2001, Imagining America became a national consortium of colleges and universities. Its current membership of more than 50 institutions covers the full spectrum of American higher education: community colleges, liberal arts colleges, arts institutions, comprehensive institutions, and—its largest cohort—public and private research universities. Ellison provided the energy, vision and organizational acumen required to launch the program and build the consortium.

As associate vice president for research (1996-99), Ellison created and led YoHA: Year of Humanities and Arts, a University- and community-wide initiative that provided a national model for integrated cultural education at the post-secondary level. It created a test bed for experimental academic, co-curricular and public programs that brought the University’s many constituencies, including neighboring communities, into significant contact with one another. YoHA was a catalyst for many further events and helped make Arts of Citizenship, which began as a YoHA initiative, a permanent program.

Ellison is in demand nationally and internationally and speaks to a fascinating variety of audiences about many different ways of linking the public and the university. She is the recipient of several awards, including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1987 and a Faculty Recognition Award in 1991, and she is the author of numerous articles and several books, including a work in progress, “Shuttle Zone: The New Politics of Cultural Knowledge.”

Throughout his entire career, before and since coming to U-M, Amid Ismail has been a productive researcher and educator. What sets him apart, however, is the extension of his research efforts into the service area, particularly with underserved populations in the Detroit area. For him it is not enough to document the health care disparities that occur in certain segments of the population; he tries to do something about them. Testaments to his dedication in using research directly for the betterment of the community include his active involvement in the Voices of Detroit Initiative and his continuous presence in the Detroit Department of Public Health, where he has a permanent office; the setting up of dental clinics in the Detroit area to serve low-income residents; his consultations with various private and public agencies; and his overall efforts to help those who most need it.

A few illustrative examples demonstrate how Ismail’s scholarship seamlessly intersects with his influential public service. The first is the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Detroit Center for Research on Oral Health Disparities, for which he is principal investigator. This center is one of five in the country to address oral health disparities in the U.S. population. Another example is Michigan Oral Cancer Prevention Network, which he established and directs. This initiative led to development of the Detroit Cancer Prevention Project, which has just been funded by NIH. He also leads the U-M Detroit Health Services Research Initiative, which includes representatives from medicine, nursing, public health, social work, kinesiology, pharmacy and the U-M Health System.

Ismail is past president of the Behavioral Sciences and Health Services Research Group of the International Association of Dental Research; he chairs the National Affairs Committee of the American Association of Dental Research; he is co-chair of the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs and the key consultant on its Evidence-based Task Force; and he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Dental Education and the Journal of Dental Research.

For Ismail, dentistry is a scientific discipline, and actions, whether in a single dental office, a large clinic serving low-income patients, or major decision-making bodies, should be based on evidence. He imparts this way of thinking to his students. His current graduate course, which focuses on foundations of dental public health practice in the United States and around the world, was given the highest possible rating by his students.

Billy Evans has been active at the University, in the state, and in national and international arenas, committing himself in the field of education with zeal, his award citation says. He has worked tirelessly to engage students and inspire them to continue their study of chemistry, the citation says. His accomplishments have been rewarded on many levels: the American Chemical Society has recognized his work with a National Award; in 1996, he received the Catalyst Award from the Chemical Manufacturer’s Association; and in 1999, President Clinton presented him with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring. In 2000, Evans received the Giant in Science Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network and was among the first honorees to receive the University’s Dream Keepers and Harold Johnson Diversity Awards.

From 1981-96, Evans devoted himself to the Program in Scholarly Research for Urban and Minority High School Students. The program produced the only winners of the Westinghouse Science Competition for the city of Detroit. There were more winners during these 15 years than in the previous 40. Students from this program, many from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds, entered college, graduate schools, law schools and medical schools in record numbers.

Evans has been a member of the Phoenix Memorial Project at U-M, and he has served on the Board of Governors at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. He has done extensive work in the Inkster Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools, especially in their science programs. He has served as a judge of many local and national science fairs, as president of the U-M Research Club and as a speaker in the Sigma XI national program of Distinguished College Lecturers.

A regular participant in the Chemical Sciences Roundtable of the National Research Council, Evans also served as a member of the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society and the Board of Governors for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Currently he is a member of the Advisory Committee for implementing the assessment of the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Government Performance and Results Act, an activity he led as chair of the Advisory Committee for the Physical Sciences Directorate of the NSF.

Scott Kurashige is a scholar whose work in the classroom, in professional scholarly settings, and in many local and national communities embodies the ideal of the citizen scholar, his award citation says. In his three years at the University, he has compiled an extensive record of service. Last year, for example, when he was officially on leave, he organized the keynote lecture of the Martin Luther King Symposium, acted as faculty coordinator of the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates Detroit Program, and served as a member of the Diversity Council, an advisory board chartered by President Mary Sue Coleman.

Kurashige’s service work is driven by his scholarship, the citation says. He brings a sharp, critical and theoretically sophisticated mind to all of his work, but his dedication to critical theory does not confine him to an exploration of history bound by classrooms and conferences, the citation says. His service on and off campus is guided by a passionate commitment to social justice and to faith in the power of scholarship to make social change, the citation says.

A catalog of some of his off-campus commitments suggests the range and quality of the activities to which he devotes an average of 15-20 hours each week: he is a member of the board of directors of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership; a member of the board of directors of the American Citizens for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice; a member of and volunteer with the Japanese American Citizens League; a volunteer with Detroit Summer, a multicultural, intergenerational youth movement; a volunteer with the Association of Chinese Americans Detroit Chinatown Drop-In Center, from which he received a Volunteer of the Year Award; and many more.

For his many service activities inside and outside the University, Kurashige has received numerous awards and grants, and he has been a guest lecturer or presenter at countless symposia and conferences. The citation notes that he is a scholar “who is working to build a diverse democracy.”

Elizabeth Petty, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and of human genetics, received the 2000 University of Michigan Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service. The Regents’ Award, presented annually since 1991, recognizes public service activities that relate closely to teaching and reflect professional and academic expertise. Petty was chosen for her contributions to the public’s and medical profession’s understanding of genetics; her service to the Medical School, University and the state of Michigan; and the example she provides for students and young physicians.

A distinguished mathematician and gifted teacher, Robert Megginson has introduced thousands of young people to the beauty and elegance of mathematics through creative outreach programs, his own teaching and mentoring, and the University of Michigan Math Laboratory.

Professor Megginson, a 1997 winner of the United States Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math, and Engineering Mentoring, spearheaded a Mathematical Association of America Board of Governors resolution calling on all U.S. college mathematics departments to offer pre-college programs to encourage students to study math. As chair of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute’s Human Resources Advisory Board, Professor Megginson has led that group’s outreach efforts to women and underrepresented minorities.

Through his summer work with young people on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Professor Megginson is inspiring many Native American students to attend college and graduate school. He draws upon the laws of probability in the traditional games of his people, the Lakota Sioux, and the patterns and symmetry of beadwork to teach about the connections between math and Native American culture.

A member of the University faculty since 1992, Professor Megginson directs the Department of Mathematics’ introductory courses in pre-calculus and calculus, which are nationally recognized for their emphasis on cooperative learning and other innovative programs. The Math Laboratory, a friendly, discovery-centered gathering place for students, logs an average of 20,000 undergraduate student contacts per year.

Professor Megginson has demonstrated his commitment to undergraduate education through his contributions to the University’s Living-Learning Program Task Force; the President’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs; and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Curriculum Committee. He also has developed and taught a well-received course about Native American experiences in the United States, and advises the U-M chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
Professor Megginson is active in the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society, and has published widely, including a new graduate textbook titled An Introduction to Banach Space Theory. He also sang for a number of years with the Illinois Opera Theatre and continues to pursue a lifelong interest in astronomy.

In recognition of his masterful interweaving of scholarship and teaching with professional service and academic outreach, his numerous contributions to the University and to mathematics education, and his generous mentoring, the University of Michigan proudly presents to Robert E. Megginson the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Director of the nationally renowned longitudinal study Monitoring the Future, Lloyd D. Johnston is one of the nation’s primary and most accurate sources of data about drug use by youth. Dr. Johnston enjoys the respect of colleagues and policy-makers for his scientific expertise, his integrity, and his ability to explain clearly how research results can be used to create sound public policy. The methodology he has developed and perfected to study the epidemiology of substance abuse has become the standard used throughout the world.

A senior research scientist at the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research, Dr. Johnston joined the faculty in 1966. His 1973 book Drugs and American Youth was an influential and early contribution to the field. Monitoring the Future, launched in 1975, is trusted by both scientists and policy-makers. The landmark study shows that there is a direct relationship over time between adolescents’ perception of a drug’s harm and the overall use of that drug. Dr. Johnston and his colleagues also have shown that drug use beyond high school is closely tied to living arrangements, with specific patterns either increasing or decreasing drug involvement.

Dr. Johnston’s work is based on a belief that public policy could and should be influenced by good social science, and that social scientists are obligated to make their work accessible and meaningful to policy-makers. He has been tireless in his efforts to bring the results of his research and its policy implications to the attention of government officials and the public, and has worked to focus the drug debate on prevention of substance abuse among youth by changing their attitudes toward drugs.

Appointed to the National Commission for Drug-Free Schools in 1989, Dr. Johnston has donated hundreds of hours to help guide the efforts of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. He also is a key leader in the University’s Substance Abuse Research Center. Dr. Johnston’s scholarly and public service contributions have been recognized with the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s National Pacesetter Award in Research and the University’s Senior Research Scientist Lectureship Award.

For his dedication and meticulous scholarship and his monumental contributions to research, education, and social policy regarding drug use among young people, the University of Michigan is proud to bestow upon Lloyd D. Johnston the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

From Ann Arbor City Hall to the nation’s Capitol, policy makers and politicians rely upon noted economist Edward M. Gramlich to provide the facts and analyses for sound decision-making.

Recently nominated to the Federal Reserve Board by President Clinton, Professor Gramlich has helped shape the nation’s fiscal policy for more than three decades, first as a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., in the late 1960s and later as deputy and acting director of the Congressional Budget Office in the 1980s.

Professor Gramlich, who joined the faculty in 1976, has served the University in a number of administrative capacities, including as chair of the Department of Economics, as director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies, and as the first dean of the School of Public Policy since 1995.

His attention to national affairs has been broad in scope, including directing a study about the economics of professional sports, and, most recently, chairing the Federal Advisory Council on Social Security. The Council’s exhaustive study of the long-term viability of the nation’s pension program resulted in a report that has received an enormous amount of attention from economists and other social scientists, political leaders, and taxpayers.

Professor Gramlich also is a trusted adviser at the state and local levels of government. Last year he organized and taught a graduate course in which students analyzed the implications of converting some of the City of Ann Arbor’s property tax to an income tax.

For the masterful way he meshes his scholarship, teaching, and service, and for his significant public contributions as an economist, the University of Michigan is proud to present to Edward M. Gramlich the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Through his teaching and service to the community, Orin G. Gelderloos has influenced a generation of environmentalists and policy-makers at the local, state, and federal levels. Using the Rouge River Watershed as his laboratory, he has focused on improving the public’s understanding of environmental issues and involving the community in developing remedies to environmental problems.

Since 1970, Professor Gelderloos has served as director of the Dearborn campus’s natural areas. Each year more than 6,000 children and adults participate in seasonally topical educational programs on natural history and the environmental impact of humans in southeast Michigan.

As director of the U-M Dearborn’s Environmental Studies Program, Professor Gelderloos has placed dozens of students in internships in businesses and governmental agencies where they have gained knowledge and experience that have enabled them to tak e their places as environmental leaders.

For the past five years, Professor Gelderloos has directed a National Science Foundation-sponsored Teacher Enhancement Program for middle and high school teachers in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. More than 120 teachers have learned about methods to analyze the biological, hydrological, chemical, social, political, and economic dimensions of the Rouge River Watershed. More importantly, the teachers have developed strategies to infuse these concepts into their science, social studies, and language arts classes.

Professor Gelderloos is chair of the Rouge River Remedial Action Plan Advisory Council and of the Board of Trustees of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. He also is a member of the Environmental Policy Advisory Committee for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Calvin College and Seminary, the Board of Directors of the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, and the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Wetland Mitigation Project at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. For 20 years he has represented southeast Michigan on the Board of Directors of Camp Tall Turf, a camp for inner city youth.

Committed to sharing his knowledge and love of nature and increasing awareness of how individuals’ actions affect ecosystems, Professor Gelderloos has served the University, the academy, and society with distinction. He also has demonstrated the positive impact sharing academic resources can have on the wider community. The University is proud to present to Orin G. Gelderloos the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

William R. Alexander is unequivocally committed to making a difference in the community by using the power of the pen and the strength of drama to transform lives, both on campus and in places where only the most daring care to go. His work with prison inmates and at-risk youth exemplifies what can happen when an extraordinary individual confronts an extraordinary task.

Since 1990, Professor Alexander has been working with faculty and students to direct theater workshops in Michigan correctional facilities. More recently, the focus has expanded to include one Detroit high school and two juvenile detention centers.

Professor Alexander and his English 310 and 319 students help inmates, public school students, and at-risk youth develop their own dramatic material. Often the work focuses on such serious issues as addiction, drug trafficking, AIDS, the effects of extended incarceration, family relations, and parole. Once a body of material is developed in the form of scenes and monologues, Professor Alexander’s English students guide the actors in developing character, staging, and vocal strength to create a polished performance. These theatrical experiences help participants—inmates and at-risk high school students—find strengths, skills, and an inner voice many never realized they possessed.

In what he hopes will be a model for other institutions, Professor Alexander is now working on an interactive video experience between inmates from the Western Wayne Correctional Facility and at-risk youth from the Adult Basic Education Program at Henry Ford High School as well as youth from the Adrian Training School. The first part of this interactive videotape project began with Inside Out, a play about making decisions. The play was collectively created by the prisoners to be videotaped and shown to the youth. The response of the youth audience to the play was videotaped and then played back to the prisoners. The interactive process has continued, with the prison actors and the youth communicating through video exchange. Professor Alexander believes theater can lead to healing, self-discovery, and the working through of life problems, especially when the theater experience is followed by dialogue, analysis, and careful counseling.

Professor Alexander, who joined the Department of English 24 years ago, brings a level of commitment and integrity to his work in the classroom and community that is inspiring; his students learn about language and literature, and personal responsibility, commitment, and fulfillment. He has received many awards, including the Distinguished Service Award, the Amoco Good Teaching Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for his research on community-based theater, video, and film.

Professor Alexander’s perfection of theater workshops and its application in a prison setting is an excellent example of how academic knowledge can be shared in a community. Recognizing his unselfish dedication and commitment to his students and to community service, the University is proud to present William Alexander with the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

A rare combination of highly regarded scholar and effective community activist, Barry Checkoway blurs the distinction between teaching, research, and service, and in so doing helps to redefine the meaning of university service.

Professor Checkoway successfully links his scholarly research with service activities in the areas of community organization and community development, social planning and multicultural practice, community participation in health programs, and urban affairs and neighborhood work.

His name is synonymous with community service and service learning programs at the University of Michigan. He chairs the University’s Task Force on Community Service Learning, and leads our efforts to create more community service opportunities on campus. On a national level, he worked with the Clinton administration to develop the AmeriCorps program and the Community Service and Service Learning programs. He is also co-director of one of the state of Michigan’s first AmeriCorps programs, working with the Michigan Neighborhood Partnership and the University of Michigan School of Business Administration, School of Public Health, School of Social Work, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Institute of Public Policy Studies in an interdisciplinary effort to advance community service.

Barry Checkoway is engaged in a sustained effort to reach out to the City of Detroit. His efforts and the work of his students touch the lives of thousands of Detroit-area residents, including community-based public health programs, strategic planning and project development with Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, and participation and planning for low-income neighborhoods.

Playing an important yet often overlooked role, Barry Checkoway works to create a forum for new ideas by frequently bringing people together for discussions at his home. His approach is highly personal, and he invests enormous amounts of time, without expecting—or receiving—either compensation or recognition.

For his unparalleled contributions in public service, his unwavering devotion to others, and his accomplishments as a scholar and educator, the University is pleased to honor Barry Checkoway with the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Professor Miller received his B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1961 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Washington in 1965. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship (1965-67) and was appointed assistant professor (1967-68) at the University of Michigan. He joined the University of Washington faculty as an assistant professor in 1968, and was promoted to associate professor in 1972, and professor in 1976. He returned to the University of Michigan as a professor in 1984 and was named the Lynn and Ruth Townsend Professor of Communicative Disorders from 1996-2005. He received an additional appointment of professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden in 1999.

A leading authority on hearing sciences, Professor Miller studied the neuroscience of the auditory system, cochlear prosthesis, blood flow to the inner ear, prevention of noise induced deafness, and the prevention of degeneration and promotion of regrowth of the auditory nerve. In addition, he researched novel stem cell strategies to rebuild and replace the sensorineural epithelium of the inner ear. Professor Miller has published over 240 peer-reviewed articles, authored 50 book chapters, and edited two books. He led major research teams funded by the National Institutes of Health Program Project and established innovative training programs for graduate students and medical residents. Professor Miller developed collaborative research programs between the United States and Europe to study tissue engineering of the inner ear. From 1984-99, he served as director of the Kresge Hearing Research Institute and director of research for the Department of Otolaryngology. Professor Miller received honorary M.D. degrees from the University of Goteborg in Sweden (1987) and the University of Turku in Finland (1995), the University of Michigan Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service (1993), the Presidential Citation from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (1997), and the Gold Medal Honor Award from the Prosper Meniere Society (2001).

Richard Bailey is that model educator who demands that the university exist not in and for itself but for the growing good of the world. Throughout his career he has continually brought his scholarly interests in language and pedagogy to bear on real social problems.

Professor Bailey is a local and national leader in community college education. He played a key role in designing, implementing, and directing the Doctor of Arts in the English Department. This unique program has brought talented mid-career teachers, many of them from community colleges throughout the country, into the academy for intensive re-education in pedagogy. Long before the Michigan Mandate became a design for the University’s diversity efforts, the D.A. program in English enrolled a lively and heterogeneous group of dedicated educators and returned them to their various educational enterprises with a renewed sense of purpose and spirit of innovation.

Furthermore, Professor Bailey has been an elected member of the Wash-tenaw Community College Board of Trustees since the mid-1970s and has chaired the Board since 1986. In this role he brings his expertise in language study and teacher training to an institution that, through his leadership, has become increasingly important to the local community. He strongly believes in the open door philosophy of ensuring a high quality education and job training programs for a wide spectrum of people. He is a gracious and articulate spokesperson for the institution and for its mission.

Acknowledging his energetic efforts in both educating teachers and setting policy at the community college level, the University is pleased to confer upon Richard Bailey its Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Whether she is teaching architectural design, helping elementary school children to improve their community, or raising public awareness of environmental issues, Sharon Sutton connects knowledge with action in pursuit of social progress. She is a national advocate for reinvigorating urban America and its youth, and is a socially conscious—and conscientious—teacher and community worker.

Professor Sutton engages her students in service to low-income communities as she teaches them professional skills. In 1991, she and her students developed housing proposals for the Hubbard Richard Citizens District Council in Detroit. Students worked closely with Council members and residents, presenting their proposals—some visionary, others immediately attainable—to a large audience at the end of the term.

Another example of Professor Sutton’s linkage of research and public service is The Urban Network, a K-12 program that she designed, which won the 1991 American Planning Association’s Education Award. This one-year program involves more than 50 schools in 12 cities. It teaches children and adults to study their environment, to select an area of focus, to develop a plan for improving their school community, and then to raise money to implement the plan. Projects already undertaken include a clean-up campaign in New York City, a mural in Watsonville, Calif., and a wildflower center in Chicago.

Professor Sutton is also a tireless local advocate for the role of the environment in human development. She advises such Detroit groups as Your Heritage House, the Church of the Messiah Housing Corporation, and Preservation Wayne.

Honoring her dedication to improving the environment for those living in urban poverty, the University is proud to present Sharon Sutton with the Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service.

Beth Glover Reed has a joint appointment with Women’s Studies and her general scholarly interests focus on how to define and work for social justice, barriers to this work, and ways to reduce these. Her current research is designed to a) identify approaches for working both on alcohol and other drug problems (AOD) and intimate partner violence (IPV) together; b) explore why joint work occurs infrequently despite need, and c) determine what can enhance effective attention to both issues together. Past research has included a study of how states responded to several congressional mandates to increase services for women with AOD problems, plus various types of program evaluation. Recent work has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson and Fahs-Beck Foundations and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organization Studies and several community-based programs. Other areas of research/scholarly interest focus on educational strategies and other interventions to increase social justice and social justice practice, and the application of multiple types of theorizing, including feminisms, to social justice, social problems and social change.

President’s Award for National and State Leadership

Marisa C. Eisenberg, associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, and associate professor of mathematics and of complex systems in LSA, will receive the 2021 President’s Award for National and State Leadership. It honors individuals who provide sustained, dedicated and influential leadership and service in major national or state capacities.

Eisenberg was nominated for her contributions to the public health response amid the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically her work modeling trajectories of the pandemic and generating predictive scenarios to help state policymakers determine next steps in the response.

Emily Toth Martin, PhD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health, will receive the President’s Award for National and State Leadership, which honors individuals who provide sustained, dedicated and influential leadership and service in major national or state capacities.

Martin received multiple nominations for her surveillance and engagement work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with the University of Michigan community, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the many panels and forums she participated in to share critical information and guidance on slowing the spread of the virus.

J. Alex Halderman, director of the Center for Computer Security and Society in the College of Engineering received the President’s Award for National and State Leadership, which honors individuals who provide sustained, dedicated, and influential leadership and service in major national or state capacities.

Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering, focuses his research on computer security and privacy, emphasizing problems that broadly impact society and public policy. He is a noted election security expert and has worked to educate members of Congress about the need for election cybersecurity improvements.

Science advocacy has been a hallmark of Bierbaum’s career, building an international reputation in the fields of science policy and climate science adaptation. She was recently named senior adviser to the Global Commission on Adaptation, led by former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Bierbaum served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology throughout the Obama administration, helping formulate policy on science, technology and innovation. She also ran the first Environment Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and serves on the Michigan Climate Action Council and Michigan’s Chronic Wasting Disease Commission.

She also was an important conduit between U-M and the science policy community, helping SEAS secure guest lecturers such as former Vice President Al Gore. Bierbaum has co-authored or contributed to many governmental and intergovernmental reports, including the “World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change” and served on several national environmental boards and councils.

“Thirty years ago on my first day in Washington, D.C., I attended a congressional hearing, eager to hear a brilliant discourse between Congress and leading scientists testifying on ozone depletion and climate change,” she said. “The uneasy exchange was sorely disappointing. The lawyers and the scientists spoke past — not to — each other.

“I realized that there was a crying need for translators and assessors of science. If all the good research produced by universities is not ‘accessible,’ it is not useable. I never looked back, and made communication of science a lifelong goal.

“I believe we must all be ‘civic scientists’ and tithe some of our time to improve public understanding and use of best available science. The President’s Award for National and State Leadership shows the value the university places on being the ‘leaders and the best’ everywhere — from the classroom to the statehouse to the White House.”

SEAS Dean Jonathan Overpeck said Bierbaum is a “tremendous asset” to the university and the nation.

“It’s hard to find a person who embodies state and national leadership on climate and natural resources more than Rosina,” he said. “She has served multiple presidents as well as the governor of Michigan. Importantly, she brings her connections, experiences and insights to the University of Michigan, leaving a lasting impression on a long line of students and faculty colleagues.”

James S. Jackson is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology in the School of Literature, Science, and the Arts and a professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health. His research focuses on issues of racial and ethnic influences on life course development, attitude change, reciprocity, social support and coping and health among blacks in the Diaspora. He is past director of the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, and past national president of the Black Students Psychological Association and Association of Black Psychologists. He was awarded the University of Michigan’s inaugural Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award in 2017, and was honored with the Distinguished Career Contributions to Research Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, American Psychological Association and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for Distinguished Career Contributions in Applied Psychology from the Association for Psychological Sciences. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences.

Jackson is currently directing the most extensive social, political behavior and mental and physical health surveys on African American and Black Caribbean populations ever conducted: “The National Survey of American Life” and “The Family Survey across Generations and Nations” as well as the National Science Foundation- and Carnegie Corporation-supported “National Study of Ethnic Pluralism and Politics.” Recent publications include “African Americans in a Diversifying Nation” and “Age Cohort, Ancestry and Immigration Status Influences on Family Relations and Psychological Well-being among Three-generation Caribbean Black Families.” He serves on several boards for the National Research Council and the National Academies of Science and is a founding member of the Aging Society Research Network of the MacArthur Foundation.

Dr. Ella Atkins is a professor of aerospace engineering and director of the Autonomous Aerospace Systems Lab. Atkins holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. She previously served on the aerospace engineering faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is past chair of the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, an AIAA Associate Fellow, an IEEE senior member, a small public airport owner/operator (Shamrock Field, Brooklyn, MI) and a private pilot. She served on the National Academy’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board from 2011-2015 term, was a member of the Institute for Defense Analysis Defense Science Studies Group from 2012-2013, and recently served on an NRC committee to develop an autonomy research agenda for civil aviation.

President’s Award for Public Impact

H. Luke Shaefer, director of Poverty Solutions, professor of social work in the School of Social Work, and the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, will receive the 2021 President’s Award for Public Impact. This award honors individuals whose research and expertise tangibly addresses a major public-sector challenge.

Shaefer’s work on the expanded Child Tax Credit, and his impassioned dedication to leveraging research to help communities and advance social policy, were referenced in his nomination. The expansion of the tax credit was motivated in part by Shaefer’s work, on which he partnered with the city of Detroit.

Margaret Dewar, PhD, professor emitera, urban & regional planning in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, will receive the President’s Award for Public Impact. The award honors individuals whose research and expertise tangibly addresses a major public-sector challenge.

Dewar’s work focuses on American cities that have experienced abandonment and loss of employment, with the goal of helping strengthen deteriorated neighborhoods and enhance access to safe and affordable housing.

Marc Zimmerman, director of the Prevention Research Center and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center in the School of Public Health, received the President’s Award for Public Impact. The award honors individuals whose research and expertise tangibly addresses a major public-sector challenge.

Zimmerman is the Marshall H. Becker Collegiate Professor of Public Health and professor of health behavior and health education. He also is editor of Youth and Society, a member of the editorial board for Health Education Research, and editor emeritus of Health Education and Behavior. His research focuses on how positive factors in adolescents’ lives help them overcome risks, and measurement and analysis of psychological and community empowerment.

Ryan has committed his career to improving the lives of children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems in Michigan and other states. His research on the risk factors associated with child maltreatment has been critical in helping state governments and social service agencies better prevent abuse.

Along with Brian Perron, professor of social work, Ryan Launched the Child Development and Adolescent Data Lab to help policymakers and social service agencies use data and empirical evidence to better inform their decisions.

Former Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Ryan to the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice in 2018. His work using data to study child welfare, education, juvenile justice and adult arrest has helped the state think more critically about child welfare and justice policies. He also helped the Illinois Department of Children and Youth Services evaluate programs for families and youth at risk.

“The social problems we face today are incredibly complex and will not be solved in isolation by policymakers, direct service workers, agency directors or the scientific community,” Ryan said. “The answers we pursue will only arise in productive and focused partnerships. The opportunity to help build these partnerships to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families is inspiring and incredibly rewarding.

“I feel honored to work at the University of Michigan, an institution that values public service and actively encourages and supports faculty to build bridges between research labs and communities around the world.

“Scientific inquiry and the advancement of knowledge are foundational activities on campus. This award reflects the university’s commitment to using that knowledge for the sole purpose of making life better for others.”

School of Social Work Dean Lynn Videka said Ryan is a great example of a scholar who makes a difference in people’s lives.

“Joe Ryan is a transformative public scholar,” she said. “His work informs better policies and services for the children of Michigan, Illinois and the nation. His research serves the public good for our nation’s most vulnerable children and it is an exemplar of strong university-government partnerships.”

Meghan Duffy received her B.S. in biological sciences from Cornell University in 2000. After a brief stint working as a field technician in Antarctica, she moved to the Kellogg Biological Station and Michigan State University for graduate school. She received her Ph.D. in zoology and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior from MSU in 2006. At the University of Wisconsin, she conducted postdoctoral research, which was supported by an NSF fellowship in biological informatics. From 2008-2012, she was an assistant professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. She joined the EEB faculty at U-M in August 2012.

Duffy’s research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, especially in aquatic systems. In addition to her research activities, she writes for a popular ecology blog, Dynamic Ecology. She has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama, the Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America, and the Yentsch-Schindler Early Career Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

Duffy is currently a public engagement fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her outreach activities include teaching classes to middle and high school students in Southeast Michigan. She also writes for and speaks to general audiences, and is happy to speak with reporters about issues related to ecology, the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, basic science, diversity in science, women in science, public engagement and outreach.

Arthur Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science. He examines how people make decisions when they lack information and how they manage complex information flows. He draws from multiple scientific and philosophical disciplines and uses multiple research methods. 

Lupia’s topics of expertise include information processing, persuasion, strategic communication and civic competence. He has held a range of scientific leadership positions, including principal investigator of the American National Election Studies. Lupia has also developed new means for researchers to better serve science and society.  

As a founder of TESS (Time-Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences), he has helped hundreds of scientists from many disciplines run innovative experiments on opinion formation and change using nationally representative subject pools. He contributed to the development of the EITM Summer Institutes, and currently serves as its lead PI. Lupia is regularly asked to advise scientific organizations and research groups on how to effectively communicate science in politicized contexts. 

He currently serves chair of the National Academy of Science’s Roundtable of the Application of Social and Behavioral Science Research, is an executive member of the board of directors of Climate Central and is on the advisory board of the National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Science and Education. He is past chair of the Division of Social, Economic and Political Sciences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Lupia has received multiple honors, including the Ithiel de Sola Pool Award from the American Political Science Association and the National Academy of Sciences’ Award for Initiatives in Research. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and is one of the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellows. His newest book is titled “Uninformed: Why People Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It.”