CLAS Names 2013 Dean’s Scholars, Collegiate Scholars

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chaden Djalali, dean of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has named four faculty members to the honor of Dean’s Scholars and two faculty members as Collegiate Scholars.

The 2013-15 Dean’s Scholars are Margaret Beck, assistant professor of anthropology; Mary Cohen, assistant professor of music; Gregory Howes, assistant professor of physics and astronomy: and Hien Nguyen, assistant professor of chemistry. The new Collegiate Scholars are Elizabeth Heineman, associate professor of history, who holds a joint appointment in gender, women’s and sexuality studies, and Kasturi Varadarajan, associate professor of computer science.

Both awards honor faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and scholarly or creative work, and both carry discretionary funds to support the awardee’s teaching and research initiatives.  Dean’s Scholar awards recognize achievements by assistant professors preparing for tenure review, and Collegiate Scholar awards recognize achievements by tenured faculty preparing for promotion to professor. The Collegiate Scholar award is funded by a generous unrestricted gift to the college. Dean’s Scholar awards are made possible through the UI Alumni Association's endowment of the Dean’s Chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“It gives me great pleasure to recognize these outstanding faculty members,” Djalali said. “They represent the scholarly achievement that continually renews our curriculum and offers exciting academic opportunities to our students. I am also grateful to the Alumni Association for its generous endowment, which provides needed resources for faculty development and other worthy projects.”

Margaret BeckMargaret Beck is an anthropological archaeologist who has made important contributions to research on the material culture of the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains, particularly on ceramic vessels and foodways.  She is affiliated with the American Indian and Native Studies program and the Museum Studies Program, and is a past recipient of the Collegiate Teaching Award.  She earned the PhD from the University of Arizona and joined the UI faculty in 2007.


Mary Cohen holds a joint appointment in Music and the College of Education.  Her research focuses on music-making and wellness, emphasizing community music and choral singing.  She is a leading authority on music in prison contexts.  For her work with the Oakdale Prison Community Choir, she received the CLAS Outstanding Outreach and Public Engagement Award.  She earned the doctorate from the University of Kansas and joined the UI faculty in 2007.


Gregory HowesGregory Howes uses numerical simulations and theoretical modeling to study turbulence in space plasmas, in particular the near-Earth solar wind.  He has received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.  He is strongly engaged in his Department’s outreach program, Hawk-Eyes on Science.  He earned the PhD from UCLA and joined the UI faculty in 2008.


Hien NguyenHien Nguyen’s NIH and NSF funded research is in the development of new methods for synthesizing biologically active compounds that have applications in medical imaging and human health.  He received the 2012 International Young Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society’s Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry. He earned the PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and joined the UI faculty in 2009. 


Lisa HeinemanElizabeth Heineman is a highly visible scholar of twentieth-century German and European history and of the history of sexuality.  Her most recent publications are the monograph Before Porn Was Legal: The Erotica Empire of Beate Uhse and the edited volume The History of Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones.  In 2012-13, she is a senior fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (Germany).  She earned the PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and joined the UI faculty in 1999.


Kasturi VaradarajanKasturi Varadarajan has published pioneering work on foundational theoretical questions in computing, particularly on innovative approximation strategies for arriving at efficient solutions to problems in a geometric setting.  He is associate editor of the International Journal for Computational Geometry and Applications, and is a recipient of the CLAS Collegiate Teaching Award.  He earned the doctorate from Duke University and joined the UI faculty in 2000.

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.