University of Michigan faculty members Betsey Stevenson and Lilia Cortina were awarded the 2022 presidential awards for public engagement at a ceremony on April 3, 2023. The awards recognize the recipients’ demonstrated commitment to public service, contributions to significantly impact society through national and state leadership, and efforts to address the challenges communities face every day.
Arthur Lupia, Associate Vice President for Research, Gerald R. Ford Distinguished University Professor of Political Science, and professor at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, opened the ceremony at the University of Michigan Museum of Art by congratulating Stevenson and Cortina and highlighting their work before presenting them with the awards.
“The University of Michigan has a long history of working to make a difference in the lives of our communities, our state and beyond. These awards celebrate that tradition and recognize the important work of individuals who share this commitment,” Lupia said. “The value of sharing our research and our expertise with the public has never been greater.”
Stevenson, professor of public policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and professor of economics in LSA, received the President’s Award for National and State Leadership, which honors a faculty member who provides sustained, dedicated and influential leadership and service in major national or state capacities. Stevenson is a nationally renowned labor economist who advised President Barack Obama as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and was an economic adviser to the Biden-Harris Transition Agency Review for the U.S. Department of Treasury.
“It’s important that I take what I learn and help policy makers understand — and not just policy makers, but the people who vote for them. So playing that role of translating the research into something that can be accessed is really important to me,” Stevenson said.
“I want to empower people through their own knowledge. I want to educate as broadly across the spectrum as I can.”Betsey Stevenson
Cortina, a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor and professor of psychology and of women’s and gender studies in LSA, and professor of management and organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, received the President’s Award for Public Impact honoring a faculty member whose research and expertise tangibly addresses a major public-sector challenge. Cortina is an acclaimed leader in the study of women and gender in the workplace. She investigates the many ways in which people are violated, from subtle slights to harassment. She has published nearly 100 scientific articles, book chapters and opinion pieces, with much of her work receiving major news media coverage. In 2018, Cortina co-authored a landmark report on sexual harassment as part of a consensus study commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that has been referenced in five proposed pieces of legislation and hearings.
“Our institution is known as a research powerhouse, and it’s important that research reach members of the public, that it reach members of Congress, and awards like this help raise the value of community engagement work.”Lilia Cortina
Stevenson, Cortina and Lupia were joined by Patrick Carter, Co-Director of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention and associate professor in the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health, and Luke Shaefer, Director of Poverty Solutions and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Ford School of Public Policy for a panel discussion about public engagement.
Keynote speaker Deborah Loewenberg Ball, William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of Education, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the Marsal Family School of Education, emphasized how integral public engagement efforts are to the University of Michigan.
“Public engagement is an imperative for us as a public university,” Loewenberg Ball said. “These awards represent our commitment and value of serving the public with our work. While today’s awardees and those previously awarded may be exceptional and that’s why they are receiving these awards, this sort of work can’t be the exception on our campus.”