Valerie S. Ashby, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity College

Celebrating Faculty Accomplishments - August 2017

August 24, 2017

Dear Faculty and Staff,
As we begin the new semester, I want to share some recent faculty accomplishments from across the college. I am impressed by the diversity of fields represented here, the breadth of professional recognition, and the excellence evidenced by both early-career and senior faculty. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues.

Valerie S. Ashby
Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences

Distinguished Professorships & Bass Fellows


Two Trinity College of Arts & Sciences faculty were among 13 faculty members awarded Distinguished Professorships, while two other Trinity faculty members were inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows for Excellence in Teaching and Research.
Mark B.N. Hansen was named James B. Duke Professor of Literature, and Anne D. Yoder was named the Braxton Craven Professor of Evolutionary Biology. The new Bass Fellows are Emily Bernhardt, who was named the Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor of Biology, and Lenhard Ng, who was named the Eads Family Professor of Mathematics. Read more.

Trinity Distinguished Lecture

In case you missed Professor Mark Anthony Neal's Trinity Distinguished Lecture at the end of the spring semester:



Khanna Named New FHI Director

Ranjana Khanna (English, Literature, and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies) will become the next director of Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) in January 2018. FHI was created in 1999 to be a crucial hub at Duke for scholars across the disciplines to collaborate on humanistic writing, research and teaching. Ranjana has held several leadership roles at Duke, including a term as the Margaret Taylor Smith Director of the Program of Women’s Studies (2007-2015). She also has been honored for her work with students, having received the 2015 Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Read more.

Szabo Initiatives Receive Two Major Grants

Duke recently received two major grants for two different aspects of multi-modal digital humanities. The National Endowment for the Humanities is supporting the Summer 2018 Institute for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities. Led by Victoria Szabo (Visual and Media Studies), and hosted at the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Virtual and Augmented Reality for the Digital Humanities Institute (VARDHI) integrates humanities teaching and scholarship with artificial and virtual reality. Philip Stern (History) is project co-director. The Getty Foundation is supporting an advanced institute in digital art history to be led by Szabo. The grant is given in part of the Getty Foundation’s Digital Art History initiative and reflects the confidence of the Foundation in the quality of the project.

Haverkamp's Documentary Wins Award

“The Rise and Fall of Liberty,” a documentary from filmmaker Carol Thomson and Jim Haverkamp (Arts of the Moving Image) won the Documentary Feature/Best Overall award at the North Carolina Museum of History Longleaf Film Festival.The film examines Durham’s development and shifting economy through the lens of its last tobacco auction house. The documentary explores loss and change and how a city struggles to hang onto its soul as it undergoes revitalization. Read more.

Aidoo Named 2017 Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar

Lamonte Aidoo (Romance Studies) has been named one of 10 Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholars for 2017 at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Malkiel Scholars Award supports junior faculty whose research focuses on contemporary American history, politics, culture, and society, and who are committed to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars. Each Malkiel Scholar receives a 12-month award of $17,500 while working toward tenure.

Shatzman's Work Displayed in Japan

Entangled Encryptions 2, a unique multi-color woodblock print by Merrill Shatzman (Visual Arts) was included in the Hida-Takayama Contemporary Woodblock-Prints Triennale 2017 Japan. Merrill was one of two American printmakers represented in the group of 20 artists included in the Triennale from different countries. The exhibition was held from mid-June to mid-July at two venues — The Takayama Cultural Hall and the Hida Takayama Museum of History and Art.

Collaboration Leads to Drama Desk Award Nomination

The Paper Hat Game, a collaboration between Raquel Salvatella de Prada (Visual Arts) and Torry Bend (Theater Studies) was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. The nomination is based on performances that took place at The Tank/ 3-Legged Dog in New York in summer last year.

Documentary Studies Receives NEH Grants

Bill Chafe and Wesley Hogan (both of Center for Documentary Studies) were instrumental in helping the Center receive two new National Endowment for the Humanities grants. One grant is for critical oral histories with veterans of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; the other for K-12 curriculum reform with high school teachers on how to better incorporate civil rights history into secondary school history courses.

Natural Sciences

Pierce Wins Research Prize

The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) has announced that it will present the third AWM-Sadosky Research Prize in Analysis to Lillian Pierce (Mathematics) at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego in January. The AWM-Sadosky Research Prize recognized exceptional research in analysis by a woman early in her career. Pierce was cited for her outstanding contributions to harmonic analysis and analytic number theory. Read more.

Haravifard Awarded Powe Award

Sara Haravifard (Physics) was awarded the Oak Ridge Associate University's Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. These annual awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities. Haravifard’s research interest lies in exploring novel phenomena in quantum magnets and superconductors by means of neutron and x-ray scattering techniques, and investigating quantum critical phenomena at extreme environmental conditions.

Welsher Receives NIH Award

Kevin Welsher (Chemistry) has received an NIH award — the prestigious Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (R35). Kevin’s research aims to develop virus-locked 3D imaging methods to enable continuous observation throughout the infectious cycle from the perspective of a single virion. These methods will investigate the interactions of viral particles with the extracellular matrix, the cell membrane and cell surface receptors with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution.

Wilbourn To Participate in Science Symposium

Makeba Wilbourn (Psychology and Neuroscience) has been invited to participate in the first Japanese-American-German Frontiers of Science Symposium in late September. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Attendees are selected by a committee of Academy member from among young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science, including recipients of major national fellowships and awards and who have been identified as future leaders of science.

Yang Named Honorary Fellow of Chinese Chemical Society

Weitao Yang (Chemistry) has been named an Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society. This is the highest honor that the organization bestows, and the total number of recipients is limited to 100 worldwide. The title was conferred in recognition of Weitao’s contribution to the development of the field of theoretical chemistry as a whole as well as the development of Chemistry in China.

Astrachan Given Outstanding Educator Award

Owen Astrachan (Computer Science) was named recipient of the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for three decades of innovative computer science pedagogy and inspirational community leadership in broadening the appeal of high school and college introductory computer science courses. Owen is known as “Mr. AP” because of the central role he has played in the Advanced Placement Computer Science exam taken by high school students. From 1985 to 1989, he served on the committee that writes the AP CS exam, and from 1989 to 1994 he was the Chief Reader, the person in charge of grading the exam. Over his three decades of involvement, Owen also played a critical role as the exam’s language changed from Pascal to C++, and later to Java, the language it is given in today.

Reiter Appointed to National Academy of Sciences Committee

Jerry Reiter (Statistical Science) was appointed to the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) of the National Academy of Sciences. His term is three years. The CNSTAT was established in 1972 to help improve the statistical methods and information on which public policy decisions are based. The committee carries out studies, workshops and other activities to foster better measures and fuller understanding of the economy, the environment, public health, crime, education, immigration, poverty, welfare, and other public policy issues.

Malcolmson Receives NIH Grant

Steve Malcolmson (Chemistry) has been awarded his first NIH RO1 grant. The award is aimed at developing new synthetic methods for the selective assembly of several amine-containing molecules.


Social Sciences

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Center

Charmaine Royal (African & African American Studies, Biology, Community & Family Medicine) will lead a new Duke center devoted to racial healing and transformation. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) selected Duke as one of 10 colleges — among the 125 applications — to be a site for the new centers. The center's goal is to work closely with Durham to help eliminate any deeply rooted beliefs and societal structures that perpetuate racism. Read more.

Darity Honored for Racial Inequality Research

William “Sandy” Darity Jr., (African & African American Studies, Economics, Public Policy) founding director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, was honored for his research related to racial inequality and the racial wealth gap in the United States at the 2017 Future of Wealth Summit: Technology, Inclusion and Social Change. The summit was convened by the Center for Global Policy Solutions, an organization that supports building a diverse and inclusive world. Read more.

Beardsley's Work Earns "Book of the Year" Prize

Kyle Beardsley's (Political Science) recent book “Equal Opportunity Peacekeeping” has been awarded the Book of the Year Prize by the Conflict Research Society. This annual prize honors research that is contemporary, exceptional, and world leading, and which provides an invaluable contribution to the literature on conflict and peace studies, very broadly defined. The award will be presented at the CRS Conference in September at Oxford University, where Kyle and his co-author Sabrina Karim will present their work in a plenary session.

Ramaswamy Elected President of the AIIS

Delegates from the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) member institutions have elected Sumathi Ramaswamy (History) as its next president. Ramaswamy, who assumes the new role in July of 2018, is a cultural historian of South Asia and the British Empire. Over the course of her academic career, her research has focused on linguistics and language politics, gender studies, spatial studies and the history of cartography, visual studies and the modern history of Indian art, and more recently, digital humanities.

Burton Leads Duke Center for Child and Family Policy

Linda Burton (Sociology) became director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy last month. The center, established at the Sanford School in 1999, works to discover and evaluate strategies for improving the lives of children and families, and to share those findings with policymakers and public agencies.

Faculty Books

Faculty across the college have recently published new books (see DukeToday’s Spring & Summer book series roundup). Please congratulate:

Please be sure to send your new book announcements to the Office of News & Communications to ensure your work is included in the DukeToday book roundups. Send that information to