OFFICE OF THE PROVOST AND
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

TO:                  University Senate

FROM:            Eric W. Kaler, Provost and Senior Vice President

DATE:             May 2, 2011   

REPORT TO THE UNIVERSITY SENATE

MAY 2011 PROVOST LECTURE SERIES

On May 13, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. in the Wang Center, Room 201, the Provost’s Lecture Series will host a lecture by Dr. Robert Boice entitled “Professors and Imagination: Mastering Mental Imagery to Improve Teaching/Writing and Reveal Hidden Genius.” Robert Boice, emeritus professor of psychology at Stony Brook University and world-renowned author, is notable for his studies in faculty development and progress. A recipient of numerous awards in teaching, Dr. Boice has published more than 200 articles and several books, including Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing, Procrastination and Blocking, and Advice for New Faculty Members. 

EMERITUS FACULTY ASSOCIATION LUNCHEON

On May 20, 2011, we will hold our annual emeritus faculty association luncheon. The keynote speaker will be Jim Simons, the prominent financier and mathematician who, as chairperson, built Stony Brook University’s Mathematics Department into one of the top-ranked in the nation. The Provost’s Office sponsors this annual luncheon as a way to personally thank the emeriti faculty for the years of dedicated service that they have given to Stony Brook University—for their teaching, research contributions and service activities. We are hopeful that, even though their official title is now emeriti faculty, they will continue to be involved with Stony Brook University for many more years to come.

2011 URECA CELEBRATION

On April 27, 2011, we celebrated the research and creative activities of students working with SBU faculty mentors in all disciplines. The URECA program has been listed for the last several years by the US News & World Report as an academic program that leads to student success. This celebration is a testament to how much research collaboration between our students and faculty has really grown.

In 1997, the URECA annual symposium featured 14 student presentations. That year, the university was one of 10 nationwide to receive a grant from the NSF in Recognition of Achievement in Integrating Research and Education. This was the beginning of the URECA tradition at Stony Brook—a custom that grows each year with the showcasing of undergraduate research and creative activities through student posters and departmental symposia. In 2001, there were about 70 posters displayed. This year’s event featured over 200 posters. Many students received funding support from URECA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Beckman Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.

FIFTH ANNUAL WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING BANQUET

On May 12, 2011, Stony Brook will hold its Fifth Annual WISE Banquet in celebration of our 2011 graduates of Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering program. Started in 1993 with a grant from the National Science Foundation, WISE is a truly unique program designed to encourage talented women interested in math, science or engineering to pursue degrees and careers in these fields, thereby, attempting to redress the historical under-representation of women in these disciplines.

Built upon a foundation of mentoring, WISE puts our students at the heart of a community of excellence—a community made up of talented and dedicated students, faculty, staff, and corporate partners. WISE offers special enrichment courses, extracurricular activities and interaction with other highly talented students and faculty. WISE provides students with special classes, early research opportunities, personalized academic advising and small study groups. We currently have over 200 students in our WISE program and over 500 graduates. Reflective of the high-quality education WISE students receive, 85 percent of our WISE graduates go on to graduate or professional school. 

PROVOST’S AWARD FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

This year, 23 undergraduate seniors have been selected to receive the Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence. This award is given annually to a very select number of graduating seniors who have shown true academic excellence—not just in the classroom, but in other ways as well—in research or creative activities, or in helping to build the academic community at Stony Brook. A check in the amount of $250 and a certificate will be presented to these students at the Baccalaureate Convocation Ceremony.

THREE STONY BROOK PROFESSORS AWARDED 2011 GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIPS BY THE JOHN SIMON GUGGENHEIM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

Three Stony Brook University Professors—Agnes Weiyun He, Ph.D., Sachiko Murata, Ph.D., and Jeffrey A. Segal, Ph.D.—have been named 2011 Guggenheim Fellows. Based on distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for the future, Stony Brook's three new Guggenheim Fellows were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 candidates.

Currently Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at Stony Brook University, Dr. Agnes Weiyun He is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies. Her Guggenheim project title, “Language of the Heart and Heritage,” will involve writing a book that explores the trajectory of Chinese heritage language development. Anchored in discourse linguistics and linguistic anthropology, the book will examine the ways in which heritage language speakers acquire, challenge, reject, resist, learn, embrace, and transcend repertoires of language forms and functions associated with complex and changing contextual dimensions over time and across space.
Dr. Sachiko Murata is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Program in Japanese Studies in the Department of Asian and American Studies at Stony Brook University. She plans to finalize a study and translation of The Real Commentary on the True Teaching by Wang Daiyu (ca. 1592-1658). Published in 1642, this book was the first exposition of the religion of Islam in the Chinese language. “It is the first example we have of a Muslim scholar explaining Islam in detail in the language of another major civilization,” says Dr. Murata. 

A SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University, Dr. Jeffrey A. Segal’s Guggenheim project title is “Supreme Court Decision Making During Times of Crisis: 1793-2010.”  According to Dr. Segal, “historical institutionalism and its various subsets, such as American political development, have pushed scholars to broaden their time horizons. Whatever the reason and the research program, the upshot is clear: it is nearly impossible at this late date to ignore the historical turn that has taken place in social science work on judicial politics and behavior.”