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TO: University Senate

FROM: Dennis N. Assanis, Provost

DATE: May 7, 2012



On Thursday, May 3, 2012, at 5:00 p.m. in Harriman Hall, room 214, Jonathan Israel will present his lecture, entitled “Democracy Acclaimed!: Anglo-American Intellectuals and the French Revolution (1789-93).” Jonathan Israel is a Professor of Modern European History at Princeton University, who has written on Dutch and Spanish History, European Jewry and the Age of Enlightenment.

Israel's books include European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550-1750 and Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-179. His recent work focuses on the impact of radical thought on the emergence of modern ideas of democracy, equality, toleration, freedom of the press and individual freedom. In this co-sponsored lecture with the Philosophy Department, Israel will seek to explain the enthusiasm of the Anglo-American intelligentsia for the principles of the Revolution and assess the significance of this phenomenon.


Stony Brook University is a trailblazer in integrating research and undergraduate education. Accordingly, SBU was one of the first research universities in the country to establish an office for the specific purpose of promoting undergraduate research and creative activity, and offers many programs that support undergraduate research efforts. One such program administered through our office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs is the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Program. URECA collaborates with the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME), and through this program Stony Brook undergraduates are introduced to the world of research through introductory research-oriented courses, encouraged to participate in independently supervised research projects, and offered useful support services on writing abstracts, giving presentations, and finding research mentors.

Every month, URECA celebrates the research accomplishments of one of our SBU junior researchers. In February 2012, the featured student was Oleksandr (Alex) Gorbatsevych, a Biology major who is doing research under the direction of Dr. Eckard Wimmer, Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology. Alex will be completing a thesis for Undergraduate Biology (departmental honors) on: " Competition between wild-type and codon pair Polio virus in HeLa cells." For the last two years, Alex has also gained clinical research experience, working with Dr. Mark Gudesblatt in South Shore Neurologic where he has contributed data analysis for an upcoming group presentation & publication (pending) at the Multiple Sclerosis Consortium.

In March 2012, the featured student was Dara Bobb-Semple, a dual Chemistry/CME major in her junior year who has been engaged in research in the laboratory of Dr. Stanislaus Wong, Department of Chemistry, for the last year on the preparation of crystalline metallic ruthenium (Ru) nanowires using an ambient template-based methodology. Just recently, Dara was announced as a 2012 UNCF Merck Undergraduate Science Fellow (a national competitive award), and will be offered internship opportunities at Merck for the following summer(s). Dara Bobb-Semple is a member of the Collegiate Science & Technology Entry program (CSTEP), the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), and is also a member of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers and the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society.

The April 2012 featured student was Bart Massi, a senior in the Psychology Honors program who works with Dr. Christian Luhmann of Psychology. Supported in 2011 through the URECA summer program, Bart has gained expertise in programming and in EEG protocols. Recently, Bart became involved with a second research group, working in the laboratory of Dr. Joshua Rest (Ecology & Evolution) on research that developed from a bioinformatics class on computing a substitute rate matrix model of CNS glutamate receptor evolution based on biophysical properties. This fall, Bart will be going into Yale University's Biological & Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program.


Last week, 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 was 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 the RAIRE grant from the NSF in Recognition of Achievement in Integrating Research and Education. This was the beginning of the URECA Celebration tradition, which continues to grow every year. In 2001, there were about 70 posters displayed. This year, we had over 200 posters, involving more than 300 students. The undergraduate students who exhibited posters and projects at the 2012 URECA Celebration represent some of the best students at Stony Brook. Many have received funding support from URECA, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Battelle for work at BNL, the Beckman Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.


Last month, Stony Brook will hold its Sixth Annual WISE Banquet in celebration of our 2012 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.


This year, 13 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.


President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. and Provost Dennis N. Assanis are pleased to announce an exciting new initiative, undertaken as part of SUNY 2020, to hire 100 faculty members over the next five years to rejuvenate the intellectual capital of Stony Brook University and expand teaching and research in emerging fields of study that cut across traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. The interdisciplinary faculty cluster hires are aimed at addressing society’s most vexing challenges through the collaboration of natural, life, and social sciences; technology; medicine; humanities; policy; business; and the arts.

This is the first annual call for proposals through this initiative. All schools and colleges on Stony Brook University West Campus are eligible to submit proposals for this initiative. Collaborations with participating departments from schools and colleges on SBU’s East Campus and Brookhaven National Laboratory are welcome. There is no limit to the number of proposals a school or college can submit, either alone or in collaboration with another school or college.

In addition to faculty hires, proposals may request appropriate start-up packages consisting of equipment and renovations. The proposing school or college must commit space and any additional elements of a start-up package. Specifically, summer support, research assistant support, post-doctoral scholar support, moving costs, and similar items will not be funded by the initiative. Hiring departments will be responsible for the costs of faculty searches. Salary for each faculty member hired through this initiative will be provided to the hiring unit, but will revert to the Provost’s Office at the time the faculty member leaves the University.

For information on proposal requirements and deadlines, please visit the Office of the Provost web site at The proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee representing a broad range of disciplines on campus. The committee will make recommendations to the President and Provost regarding which proposals to fund. The President and Provost aim to make final decisions prior to the 2012/13 hiring season.

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