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

Celebrating Faculty Accomplishments February 2017

February 21, 2017

Dear Faculty and Staff,
I am very pleased to share with you some of the recent faculty accomplishments from across the college. We should all feel deep pride in 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


Nasher Announces Acquisition of Archibald Motley Painting Donated in Honor of Richard Powell

Heirs to artist Archibald Motley (1891–1981) gifted “Hot Rhythm,” a 1961 oil on canvas, to the Nasher in honor of art historian and former Dean of the Humanities Richard Powell his wife C.T. Woods-Powell. This singular honor is a tribute to Powell and recognizes his work in bringing attention to the artist. Powell published a book on the Motleys’s work titled “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist” in 2014, and organized an exhibit of this work at the Nasher. He is the John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art & Art History. Read more.

McLarney wins Book Award for Exploring Women Revivalists in the Islamic Public Sphere

Ellen McLarney (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies) has won the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies Book Award for Soft Force: Women in Egypt’s Islamic Awakening (Princeton University Press 2015). The award recognizes excellence in the field of Middle East gender, women’s and sexuality studies. In Soft Force, McLarney examines the writings and activism of women scholars, preachers, journalists, critics, actors, and public intellectuals who envision an Islamic awakening centering on women’s rights and the family, equality, and emancipation. Read more.

Longino Awarded Brown Foundation Fellowship

Michèle Longino (Romance Studies) has been awarded a two-month Brown Foundation residential fellowship at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France. The fellowship provides residencies for professionals in the arts and humanities to concentrate on their fields of expertise. Longino is an early modern specialist on the French Classical age and will be working on a project focused on French fables and fairy tales.

Lanzoni Awarded NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Exhibition Catalog

Kristin Huffman Lanzoni (Art, Art History and Visual Studies) has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities-Mellon fellowship for her project Jacopo de Barbari’s View: A Digital Exhibition Catalog. It expands upon content that will be displayed in her exhibition, A Portrait of Venice, opening at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, September 2017, moving to Minneapolis in 2018 and then to Venice, Italy. She is an instructor of Early Modern art history, part of the Wired! Lab, and the project manager for the Visualizing Venice Project.

Natural Sciences Division

Duke Research on Apes Named Top 10 Research Breakthrough for 2016 by Science Magazine

A study led by evolutionary anthropologist and post doc Christopher Krupenye, cognitive scientist Michael Tomasello (Psychology & Neuroscience) and colleagues at Kyoto University, the University of St. Andrews and the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, was named one of the Top 10 breakthroughs of 2016 by Science Magazine. The research explores the ability of chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans to recognize when others hold mistaken beliefs. The realization that there is a mental world distinct from the physical world is a key milestone of human cognitive development and usually develops by age 5. This work could lead scientists to rethink how deeply apes understand each other. Read more.

Mathematician and Computer Scientist Win CAREER Awards

Lillian Pierce (Mathematics) has won a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation for her project titled “Research and Training at the Intersection of Number Theory and Analysis.” Pierce’s project will contribute to the mathematical community through postdoc training, a graduate summer school, and mathematical outreach activities for children. Read more.

Sudeepa Roy (Computer Science) has also won a CAREER award for her project titled “FIREFLY - Formal Interactive Rich Explanations On-The-Fly.” Roy is developing a toolkit that provides fast, rich, insightful semantic explanations in response to 'why' questions from users seeking high level explanations for trends and anomalies in datasets. Read more.

McClay Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

David McClay (Biology) received the 2016 Society for Developmental Biology Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes recipients for both sustained research and mentoring. McClay has trained nearly 60 graduate students and postdocs during his career. And, he is being honored for his distinguished body of work uncovering the mechanisms underlying cell fate specification, patterning, and morphogenesis in the sea urchin embryo. Read more.

Rausher wins Lifetime Award For Contributions to Evolutionary Biology

Mark Rausher (Biology) was awarded the 2016 Sewall Wright Award from the American Society of Naturalists. The award, named after American geneticist Sewall Wright, recognizes a senior-level investigator for fundamental contributions to the conceptual unification of the biological sciences. Rausher’s research focuses on evolutionary processes that cause change at both the phenotypic and genetic levels. Read more.

Tomasi Elected ACM Fellow

Carlo Tomasi (Computer Science) has been named an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow for his contributions to computer vision. As a fellow, Tomasi joins a select group of the top 1% of ACM professional members. ACM is the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. Tomasi’s research focuses on computer vision, medical imaging, and applied mathematics. Read more.

Lebeck Named IEEE Fellow

Alvin Lebeck (Computer Science) has been elected as an IEEE Fellow in recognition of his contributions to memory hierarchies and energy-efficient and parallel computing. This is IEEE's highest honor. Less than 0.1% of voting IEEE members are selected annually for elevation to fellow status. Lebeck’s research focuses on computer architecture, nano-scale systems, memory system, energy efficient computing, and multiprocessors. Read more.

Nijhout Garners International Recognition for Contributions to Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Fred Nijhout (Biology) won the International A.O. Kowalevsky Medal, which is awarded annually by the St. Petersburg Society of Naturalists. The award is given for significant contributions to evolutionary developmental biology. Through his research, Nijhout seeks to understand how complex traits arise through, and are affected by, the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Read more.

Conitzer Wins Best Paper Award for Decision Frameworks

Vincent Conitzer (Computer Science) is one of three winners of Blue Sky Awards sponsored by CCC (Computing Community Consortium) for his paper "Moral Decision Making Frameworks for Artificial Intelligence."

Greenside Honored by APS

Henry Greenside (Physics) received an "Outstanding Referee Award" for 2017 from the American Physical Society for outstanding refereeing of manuscripts submitted to APS journals. The APS recognizes only a small number of people (150) each year out of the 60,000 active physics referees.

Social Sciences Division

Malone Recognized Through Service-Learning Award

David M. Malone (Education) received the 2017 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award from the North Carolina Campus Compact, a network of public and private colleges and universities committed to civic and community engagement. The Sigmon Award recognizes one faculty member in the state for significant contributions to the practice of service-learning. Malone is pictured above with Robert Sigmon ('57), a nationally renowned leader in experiential learning. Read more.

McElroy Honored for Improving the Status of Women in the Field of Economics

Marjorie B. McElroy (Economics) was honored by the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP) for her tireless work on behalf of the committee. A standing committee of the American Economic Association CSWEP is charged with monitoring the progress and promoting the careers of women economists. Read more.

Makhulu Received NEH Grant to Study Financial Elite in South Africa

Anne-Maria Makhulu (Cultural Anthropology and African & African American Studies) received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for her project The New Financial Elite: Race, Mobility, and Ressentiment After Apartheid. The project examines questions of race and mobility in contemporary South Africa and specifically the trajectory of black professionals since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Sinnott-Armstrong Leading Team Study Influences of Civility and Humility in Public discourse

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Philosophy) and his team were awarded a grant for a project titled Towards a Culture of Questioning: Accountability, Humility, and Public Discourse. The team is working to determine which questions and contexts produce humility and civility in public discourse and which produce polarization and inflexibility. The ultimate goal is to find ways to promote a culture of democratically engaged inquiry. Team members include graduate student Aaron Ancell, psychology postdoc Jordan Carpenter, and philosophy lecturing fellow Jesse Summers. Read more.

Stern Selected for Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar

Philip Stern (History) and Rachel Brewster (Law) have been selected by the Mellon Foundation for a Sawyer Seminar this spring and throughout the academic year. The topic, Corporate Rights and International Law, is of pressing contemporary importance. And the seminar will enable Stern and Brewster to work with scholars across the disciplines to explore the role of corporations over time, from the early modern period to the present. Read more.

Duara to Receive Honorary Doctorate from the University of Oslo

Prasenjit Duara (History) will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Oslo this September. The honor recognizes his scholarship and myriad contributions to the field of East Asian Studies. Duara's works have been widely translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and the European languages.

Faculty Books

Titles Worth Toasting

Celebrating Faculty Books in the Humanities, Arts & Interpretative Social Sciences, 2013-2016

More than 130 scholarly books by faculty in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences published between 2013 and 2016 were recognized at a celebration on January 23, 2017. The event was sponsored by Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI), the Duke University Press and Duke University Libraries. Thank you to FHI Director Deborah Jenson for her leadership, and to her staff, for making this celebration happen.

New Books

Faculty across the college have recently published new books (see DukeToday). Please congratulate: Laia Balcells (Political Science), Ed Balleisen (History), Linda Burton (Sociology) Laurent Dubois (Romance Studies), Owen Flanagan (Philosophy), Gary Gereffi (Sociology), Mona Hassan (Religious Studies, History, ICS), Beth Holmgren (Polish and Russian Literature), William A. Johnson (Classical Studies), Toril Moi (Literature), Alex Rosenberg (Philosophy), David G. Schaeffer (Mathematics, emeritus), John Staddon (Psychology, emeritus), Timothy Tyson (Center for Documentary Studies), Aarthi Vadde (English), and the writing teams of John Biewen and Alexa Dilworth (both of Center for Documentary Studies), and Frank Sloan (Economics) and Chee-Ruey Hsieh (Global Health Institute).

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