Progress on all fronts
We continued to hire new faculty. We continued to add new programs around skill sets that are emerging and relevant. We continued to maintain a high degree of excellence despite the challenges we faced.
Here’s one of the most exciting examples: this past year saw the inception of our University Honors College, a brand-new undergraduate college for BU’s most highly motivated and self-directed students. It is, quite simply, a whole new way of teaching at the collegiate level—a multidisciplinary approach to education that allows intellectually curious students to partner with faculty, partake of an exceptionally enriched curriculum, and discover lifelong avenues of research, learning, and creative endeavor within the liberal arts and professional disciplines. The initial class of this new academic entity will be recruited from within the University for three seminars this fall, then start with its very own freshman class in fall 2011.
- The Medical Campus was the recipient of several grants and awards, including a $10.5 million pledge from an anonymous graduate of the School of Medicine to create a Breast Cancer Research Center. It was MED’s largest individual gift to date, and includes an assistant professorship and an international scholars training program.
- Professors George Annas, James Collins, Nancy Kopell, Laurence Kotlikoff, and James Winn were named as the University’s first five William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors. The award is intended to be the highest honor bestowed upon senior faculty members who continue to be involved in research, scholarship, and teaching, as well as the University’s civic life.
- Christopher Ricks, our William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities and outgoing Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his services to scholarship.
- Four more Peter Paul Career Development Professors were chosen. The awards are named for alumnus Peter Paul, who supports these awards to help young faculty fund their research. This year’s recipients were assistant professors Emine Fetvacı, Assen Marintchev, Michael Smith, and Yesim Tozan.
- Other faculty receiving recognition for their work include Anatoli Polkovnikov, from Physics, who was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship; Sam Kauffmann, from the Film & Television Department, who won a Guggenheim Fellowship; Sarah Campbell, a lecturer in the Writing Program, who won a Fulbright Scholarship to study medieval and early-modern Welsh literature in Cardiff; and Ward Farnsworth, of Law, who was named our 2009 United Methodist Church Scholar/Teacher of the Year.
- In an important step toward greater access to academic scholarship and research, the Boston University Council last spring voted to support an open access system that would make scholarly work of the faculty and staff available online to anyone, for free, as long as the authors are credited and the scholarship is not used for profit. The council vote also approved an initiative to establish an archive of the research and scholarship produced by the faculty of the University, making it easier for faculty to share their own research with students and colleagues.
Finally, no discussion of academics would be complete without highlighting some of the exciting new research that’s been going on.
- A collaboration of Boston University and National Institutes of Health scientists has discovered that the shape of DNA—the molecule’s width and its nooks and crannies—may be as important as the base-pair sequences when it comes to translating genetic code into living organisms. Their findings, which appeared in the March 12 online edition of Science, could revolutionize genomics and help unravel the genetic underpinnings of disease.
- Elizabeth Goldsmith, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of romance studies, has been researching and writing about two sisters brought up in the court of Louis XIV, who, trapped in unhappy marriages, hit the road like the seventeenth century’s Thelma & Louise.
- Lee Goldstein, associate professor of psychiatry, neurology, ophthalmology, pathology, and laboratory medicine, leads a team that has developed a noninvasive test for identifying distinctive Alzheimer’s cataracts that can lead to earlier detection and treatment of the disease.
- James Galagan, associate director of the Systems Biology of Infectious Disease Core in BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), is probing the interactions of the gene and protein networks within the tuberculosis bacterium, hoping to arrive at a better understanding of how TB functions—and to identify prime targets for more effective drugs.
BU students follow in Charles Darwin’s footsteps (sometimes literally) as they discover the unique biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands.
A very graphic display
Culminating four years of hard work, graphic design majors set up their senior exhibit.
Finding the words inside
BU scientists strive to help a paralyzed man utter his first words in 10 years.
A very special quintet
The very first William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors were named this past year.