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Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: June 2009
CAS Faculty Members Named to Warren Professorships

BU President Robert A. Brown has appointed two CAS faculty members as the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors. Nancy Kopell, the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Mathematics and Science, and Larry Kotlikoff, professor of economics, received the honor on June 24.

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New Program Combines Bachelor’s Degree, Master of Public Health

The College of Arts & Sciences is collaborating with the School of Public Health on an innovative dual-degree program that will allow Boston University undergraduates to earn a bachelor’s degree from CAS and a Master of Public Health from the School of Public Health in five years. BU will unveil the program this fall.

Learn More Grant Boosts CAS Programs
in Five World Languages

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a grant to Boston University to strengthen the abilities of future military officers in five critical world languages.

Learn More Professors Mookherjee, Paserman Receive Economics Department Awards

The Department of Economics has announced the winners of this year’s Gitner Prize and Neu Family Award.

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Professor Gallagher Joins State Department Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of State has invited Assistant Professor of International Relations Kevin Gallagher to serve on the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. He will join a subcommittee that will review the investment measures of U.S. trade and investment treaties, and prepare a report on the extent to which the template for such treaties should be changed under the Obama administration. The subcommittee will submit its report by the end of the summer.


American University in Beirut Honors Professor El-Baz

The American University in Beirut honored Professor Farouk El-Baz, director of the BU Center for Remote Sensing, with a Doctor of Science degree on June 27 for his outstanding contributions to geology and a better understanding of the Earth and its environment.

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A Knight’s Tale
Professor Ricks Receives High Honor from Queen Elizabeth

Christopher Ricks does not ride on horseback or look particularly like Sir Lancelot. Nonetheless, the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at BU recently received one of the highest honors for a British subject when Queen Elizabeth granted him a knighthood. Read the full article


Humanities Foundation Announces 2009/2010 Faculty Fellows

The Humanities Foundation Executive Committee has selected the Junior Fellows and the Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellows for the 2009/2010 academic year. Each year since 1984, the Humanities Foundation has chosen a small group of junior fellows from among the tenure-track junior faculty members in the humanities to participate in a fellows’ seminar. Since 2004, the foundation, in collaboration with the College of Arts & Sciences, has also offered research fellowships to senior BU faculty. In 2007, these fellowships were named in honor of CAS Dean Jeffrey Henderson, who did much to make them possible.

Both the Junior Fellows and Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellows receive one semester’s release from teaching at full salary, with the Humanities Foundation providing their departments with course replacement funds. Congratulations to the following faculty:

Humanities Foundation Junior Fellows 2009/2010
Mark Alonge, Classical Studies
Peter Bokulich, Philosophy
Deborah Burton, Music Theory
Gina Cogan, Religion
Christopher Lehrich, Religion
Paolo Scrivano, Art History
Andrew Shenton, Music
Keith Vincent, MLCL

Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellows 2009/2010
Charles Griswold, Philosophy
Dorothy Kelly, Romance Studies Christopher Martin, English
Nina Silber, History
Michael Zell, Art History

In Memory

PROFESSOR EMERITUS LOWELL COULTER
Lowell Coulter, professor emeritus in CAS’s Chemistry Department, died last month at age 95. A physical chemist by training, Lowell taught at BU from 1942 to 1977. His research focused on the thermodynamic properties of clathrates (inclusion compounds). He explored the variation of their heat capacities from cryogenic to ambient temperatures, building impressive calorimetric equipment for comprehensive and accurate measurements to derive detailed thermodynamic properties. His research qualified him for election as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1963. Early in his career, his scientific talent led to his connection to a momentous historical event, serving as group leader on the Manhattan Project. Lowell was chemistry chair from 1961 to 1973. During his tenure, he recruited 21 teaching and research faculty. “The legacy of talent Lowell left our department is truly impressive, and one for which we owe him a debt of gratitude,” notes Chemistry Chair John Straub.

In the News
Highlights of national news coverage received by CAS faculty

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, JUNE 3

Churches Fight Back against Shrinking Membership
Stung by a 25 Percent Drop in Membership, Churches Are Launching Recruiting Campaigns

“‘What if church wasn’t just a building, but thousands of doors?’ asks a new website launched by the United Methodist Church. ‘Each of them opening up to a different concept or experience of church. . . . Would you come?’ After watching its membership drop nearly 25 percent in recent decades, the United Methodist Church, which is still the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, thinks it knows the answer. So it’s pouring $20 million into a new marketing campaign, including the website, television advertisements, even street teams in some cities, to re-brand the church from stale destination to ‘24-7 experience.’ . . . With their pews having thinned dramatically, other mainline Protestant denominations are posing similar questions in like-minded campaigns. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a major mainline denomination, has TV ads spotlighting the church’s charitable work and encouraging Lutherans to take pride in and to share their faith with friends. And the Episcopal Church recently launched a website called ‘I am Episcopalian,’ where half a million church members have uploaded videos explaining their faith. These are the kinds of entrepreneurial church-building strategies that are more typical of evangelical mega-churches, which have focused on member experiences by offering contemporary music and weeknight small-group meetings. Mainline denominations, meanwhile, have clung to hymns and centuries-old worship styles. ‘In the competitive spiritual marketplace, mainline churches are trying to reinvent themselves,’ says Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University.”


WASHINGTON POST, JUNE 4

Extent of Nazi Camps Far Greater Than Realized
Decade-Long Study by Holocaust Museum Scholars Could Alter Public Understanding

“A little more than a decade ago, researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum decided to create an encyclopedia of concentration camps. They assumed the finished work would be massive, featuring a staggering 5,000 to 7,000 camps and ghettos. They underestimated by 15,000. Their ultimate count of more than 20,000 camps—which they reached after a year of research—is far more than most scholars had known existed and might reshape public understanding of the scope of the Holocaust itself. ‘What’s going to happen is that the mental universe of how scholars operate is going to change,’ said Steven Katz, director of Boston University’s Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies. ‘Instead of thinking of main death camps, people are going to understand that this was a continent-wide phenomenon.’”


ASSOCIATED PRESS, JUNE 4

Experts: Bat Fungus Causing Historic Decline

“A mysterious fungus attacking America’s bats could spread nationwide within years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century, experts warned Congress Thursday. Displaying pictures of bats speckled with the white fungus that gave the disease its name—white-nose syndrome—experts described to two House subcommittees Thursday the horror of discovering caves where bats had been decimated by the disease. As a state wildlife biologist from Vermont put it, one cave there was turned into a morgue, with bats freezing to death outside and so many carcasses littering the cave’s floor the stench was too strong for researchers to enter. They also warned that if nothing more is done to stop its spread, the fungus could strike caves and mines with some of the largest and most endangered populations of hibernating bats in the United States. At stake is the loss of an insect-eating machine. The six species of bats that have so far been stricken by the fungus can eat up to their body weight in insects a night, reducing insects that destroy crops, forests and carry disease such as West Nile Virus. ‘We are witnessing one of the most precipitous declines of wildlife in North America,’ said Thomas Kunz, director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology at Boston University, who said that between $10 million and $17 million is needed to launch a national research program into the fungus.”

Upcoming Meetings and Events

JULY 1
Spring Course Evaluations Available for Pick-up in CAS Faculty Actions, CAS 109

JULY 3
Independence Day Observed (Offices Closed)

JULY 7
Dean’s Summer Casual, 4 p.m., CAS 106

JULY 10
Department, Program, and Center Annual Reports due to Chris McMullen

JULY 17
Nominations for Peter Paul Career Development Awards and United Methodist Scholar/Teacher Award Due to Dean Sapiro

JULY 29
Dean’s Summer Casual
4 p.m., CAS 106

AUGUST 19
Dean’s Summer Casual
4 p.m., CAS 106

AUGUST 25
New Chairs and Directors Orientation
8:30 a.m.–noon, CAS 132

AUGUST 26
All Chairs and Directors Orientation
8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Photonics Colloquium Room
8 St. Mary’s Street, 9th Floor

AUGUST 28
BU New Faculty Orientation
8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (exact time TBD)
Metcalf Trustee Ballroom
One Sherborn Street, 9th floor

AUGUST 31
Matriculation Day for Class of 2013
10 a.m.–noon, Track and Tennis Center
100 Ashford Street

Keep Us in the Loop

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