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

Celebrating Faculty Accomplishments - December 2017

January 2, 2018

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we close the Fall semester and prepare for the upcoming holiday season, I want to celebrate some recent faculty accomplishments from across the college. As always, I am so very proud of the diversity of fields represented here, the breadth of professional recognition, and the excellence evidenced by our faculty. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues.


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

Social Sciences

Photo of Nancy MacLean

MacLean's Book Receives National Accolades

Nancy MacLean’s (History) book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” won the the 2017 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book. The award honors nonfiction works of particular relevance to the current historical moment. The book was also named among the five finalists — among 550 books — for the 2017 National Book Award from the National Book Foundation. Nancy's work is an intellectual history of 20th Century American politics that traces how economist James Buchanan’s ideas fueled a right-wing movement funded by billionaires.    

Photo of William Darity Jr.Darity Named Among Politico 50

William “Sandy” Darity, Jr. (African & African American Studies, Economics) and collaborator Darrick Hamilton were cited among the Politico Magazine 50 — 50 Ideas blowing up American politics (and the people behind them). The team was recognized for its research and advocacy for a Federal Jobs Guarantee — the idea that everyone who wants a job should be able to get one, and if the private sector doesn't employ them, the government should.

Photo of Thavolia GlymphGlymph Selected SHA President

Thavolia Glymph (African & African American Studies, History) has been selected to serve as the 86th President of the Southern Historical Association (SHA). Thavolia — a historian of the 19th century US South specializing in gender and women’s history, slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, and Reconstruction — will begin her term in 2020 when she delivers the presidential address at the organization's annual meeting in Memphis. The SHA’s objectives are the promotion of interest and research in southern history, the collection and preservation of the South’s historical records, and the encouragement of state and local historical society in the South.

Natural Sciences

Photo of Emily Derbyshire

Derbyshire Receives New Innovator Award

Emily Derbyshire (Chemistry) was named recipient of a 2017 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award. As part of the NIH High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, the award grants $1.5 million over a five-year period to fund innovative, high-impact research from exceptionally creative early career investigators. The award will support Emily's ongoing efforts to understand the early stages of Plasmodium infection in humans, a key starting point in the development of new antimalarial therapies for overcoming parasite drug resistance.         

Photo of Sherryl BrovermanBroverman Honored by Kappa Alpha Theta

Sherryl Broverman (Biology) has been selected by Kappa Alpha Theta sorority as one of its 2016-2017 Outstanding Faculty Members in Canada and the United States. The Beta Rho Chapter at Duke nominated Sherryl for her "passion for inspiring her students, as well as her dedication to her own personal values." Kappa Alpha Theta is the oldest Greek-letter organization for women, and was founded to support equal education for women.

Photo of Amanda HargroveHargrove Receives Research Award

Amanda Hargrove (Chemistry) has received a Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) (R35). The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency of National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility, thereby enhancing scientific productivity and the chances for important breakthroughs. Amanda’s research under this award will aim to develop a diverse but uniquely RNA-targeted small molecule library along with effective general strategies for the targeting of disease-related RNA structures.

Photo of Jianfeng LuLu Awarded 2017 IMA Prize

Jianfeng Lu (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics) has received the 2017 IMA (Institute for Mathematics and its Applications) Prize. Jianfeng received this recognition for his many contributions in applied analysis, computational mathematics, and applied probability, in particular for problems from physics, chemistry, and material sciences. The unique strength of his research is to combine advanced mathematical analysis and algorithmic tools with a deep understanding of problems from science and engineering. The IMA presents the annual award to a mathematical scientist who is within 10 years of having received his or her Ph.D.

Photo of Maiken MikkelsenMikkelsen Receives Early Career Achievement Award

Maiken Mikkelsen (Physics) has won the 2017 International Society for Optics + Photonics (SPIE)'s Early Career Achievement Award, Academic Focus. Only one is given each year worldwide and is presented in recognition of significant and innovative technical contributions in the engineering or scientific fields of relevance to SPIE. Maiken was recognized for her seminal contributions to the understanding of light-matter interactions and ultrafast emission dynamics in plasmonic systems.

Photo of Tom Mitchell-OldsMitchell-Olds Named AAAS Fellow

Thomas Mitchell-Olds (Biology) is one of three Duke faculty members named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2017. Election as a AAAS Fellow is an honor that recognize scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Tom studies the natural genetic variation in rice and a wildflower called Boechera, asking questions about flowering time and elevation, insect resistance and drought resistance, and seeking the genes that affect ecological success and evolutionary fitness.   

Photo of Jon ShawShaw Wins NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Award

Jon Shaw (Biology) has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Dimensions of Biodiversity Award. The Dimensions of Biodiversity Program links functional, genetic and phylogenetic dimensions of biodiversity, offering opportunities to produce rapid advances in understanding the creation, maintenance and loss of biodiversity. Jon’s project — “Genome structure and adaptive evolution in peatmosses (Sphagnum): ecosystem engineers” — will connect DNA variation in Sphagnum with specific plant traits and ultimately ecological functions of peatmoss. Understanding a humble moss better could help to solve giant problems of our climate.      

Photo of Roxanne SpringerPhoto of Chris WalterSpringer, Walter Elected APS Fellows

Roxanne Springer (Physics) and Chris Walter (Physics) have been elected American Physical Society (APS) fellows. The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise, and election is restricted to 0.5% of the membership in any given year. Roxanne was cited for significant contributions to understanding the low-energy properties of hadrons, nuclei, and especially for pioneering contributions to the use of low-energy effective field theory techniques in the quest to identify and understand the fundamental symmetries of nature. Chris was cited for experimental study of neutrino oscillation physics including the first observations of neutrino flavor appearance and the systematic study of neutrino flavor disappearance, using atmospheric and long-baseline neutrinos with the Super-Kamiokande, K2K, and T2K experiments.     

Photo of Weitao YangYang Selected as NC ACS Distinguished Lecturer

Weitao Yang (Chemistry, Physics) was presented the 2017 Distinguished Lecturer Award by the North Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Weitao, who served as the keynote speaker at the Local Section Conference this fall, was recognized for his significant research contributions to the chemical sciences. He is developing methods for quantum mechanical calculations of large systems and carrying out quantum mechanical simulations of biological systems and nanostructures.   

Arts & Humanities

Photo of Marcia Rego Photo of Chris Sims Photo of Laurent Dubois
Rego, Sims, Dubois Receive Curriculum Enrichment Awards

Marcia Rego (Thompson Writing Program), Chris Sims (Documentary Studies) and Laurent Dubois (History, Romance Studies) were named recipients of the Duke Performances inaugural curriculum enrichment awards. Rego and Sims’ awards are offered as part of a joint initiative between Duke Performances and the Duke Language, Arts & Media Program (LAMP), which supports faculty in teaching students to think critically across media and to conduct research in old and new media alike. The curriculum enrichment awards reflect Duke Performances’ belief in the power of the arts to spur new ideas in the classroom while forging lasting interdisciplinary connections between a diverse set of campus partners.

Photo of Torry BendPhoto of Racquel Salvatella de PradaBend, Salvatella de Prada Collaboration Receives Recognition

Torry Bend (Theater Studies) and Racquel Salvatella de Prada (Art, Art History & Visual Studies) were awarded a Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry for their collaboration, “The Paper Hat Game.” The production is based on the true story of Scotty Iseri, the Paper Hat Guy of Chicago. The citation, presented by the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA-USA), was announced during the National Puppetry Festival in Minnesota this summer. Founded in 1929, UNIMA-USA is dedicated to promote international understanding and friendship through the art of puppetry.

Photo of Tolly BoatwrightBoatwright Elected President of Society for Classical Studies

Tolly Boatwright (Classical Studies) was selected as President-Elect of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS). Tolly, who officially takes office in January, was elected in September by members of the society. The SCS, founded in 1869, is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and civilizations.

Photo of Tommy DeFrantzDeFrantz Honored for Dance Scholarship

Thomas F. DeFrantz (Dance, Theater Studies, African & African American Studies) has won the 2017 Award for Outstanding Scholarly Research in Dance from the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD). The award recognizes an exceptional scholar for sustained contributions to dance research. In making the announcement, the awards committee noted DeFrantz has contributed substantially to understanding of aesthetics and race politics and has inspired a reevaluation of race and dance history.

Photo of Mona HassanHassan Receives Excellence Award for Book

Mona Hassan (Religious Studies, History, Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies) was presented a 2017 American Academy of Religion (AAR) Award for Excellence for her book “Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History.” Hassan’s book — which delves into why the caliphate has been so important to Muslims in vastly different eras and places — won in the Historical Studies category. The AAR awards honor works of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity, and importance; books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood, and interpreted.      

Photo of Cole RussingRussing Wins Two Top Prizes at Film Festival

Cole Russing (Arts of the Moving Image) won the Best Documentary and Judge’s Choice awards at the Asheville Film Festival for the documentary “Arthur, Meet Ruth: The Miraculous Journey of Arthur H. Kingberg.” The film tells the story of 92-year-old Kingberg, born in Frankfurt, Germany, whose childhood was overshadowed by the rise of Hitler's party.    

Photo of Jeff StorerEnd of an Era, as Storer Closes Manbites Dog Theater

After 31 years of operation, the professional nonprofit theater Manbites Dog will close its doors. Artistic Director Jeff Storer (Theater Studies) launched the theater to produce new and challenging theater events, and to showcase and nurture developing playwrights, directors, actors and artists. The Manbites Dog Theater has been a strengthening and visionary force in the region’s theatrical presence, as well as a genuine labor of love. Jeff and Manbites Dog Managing Director Edward Hunt now plan to exclusively serve as a support agency for local theater companies and artists.    

Photo of Tim TysonTyson’s Book Makes National Book Award Longlist

Timothy Tyson (Documentary Studies) made the longlist (Top 10) of nonfiction books being considered for the 2017 National Book Award from the National Book Foundation. His book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” reexamines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement — the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till.


Faculty Books

Please join me in congratulating our faculty who recently published new books. Also, 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