Career Development Professorships Presentation (2011-2012)

Remarks by Provost Jean Morrison
Career Development Professorships Reception and Dinner
September 23, 2011
Sloane House

Thank you, President Brown. Good evening and welcome. As Provost and Chief Academic Officer for Boston University, I’m delighted to be able to share in this special celebration and to recognize some truly remarkable young faculty members.

This evening and these awards, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our Trustee, Peter Paul, and his commitment to assisting extraordinarily talented young scholars and researchers advance their careers.

To our Peter Paul Career Development Professors: Each of you is here for a reason: Because you are among the best at what you do, and because you have shown exceptional passion for the creation of knowledge and the quality of the student experience here at BU.

It was a joy to read through the nominations submitted by your deans and department chairs and to see the faith they have in each of you as teachers, mentors, scholars and researchers.

As you all know, the Peter Paul Professorship was created in 2006 to recognize the very best in promising young faculty, specifically those who have been at BU for less than two years who have held no prior professorships.

In his book, The Great American University, our good friend and Trustee, Columbia University’s Jonathan Cole, speaks to what separates our institutions of learning from our counterparts across the world:

“We are the greatest,” he writes, “because our finest universities are able to produce a very high proportion of the most important fundamental knowledge and practical research discoveries in the world. It is the quality of the research produced, and the system that invests in and trains young people to be leading scientists and scholars, that distinguishes [our universities] and makes them the envy of the world. This is true across the board, from the sciences and engineering to the social and behavioral sciences to the humanities.”

To look at the talent assembled in this room this evening is to see what Professor Cole was speaking of.

The competition for this year’s Peter Paul Professorships was incredibly strong. There were many outstanding candidates. That you have made it to this point is a reflection of your commitment to excellence. It is also a mark of distinction for each of your schools and colleges.

BU’s continued emergence as one of the nation’s premier private research institutions depends on our ability to support cutting-edge research and to attract, retain and cultivate the academic leaders of tomorrow.

It is our hope that this award and the accompanying stipend over the next three years will help you to further your research and teaching and to truly make your mark on the world as members of the BU academic community.

So now, without further ado, it is my privilege to recognize this year’s recipients of the Peter Paul Professorship…

Colin M. Fisher, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, School of Management

Dr. Fisher began his diverse academic career as an undergraduate studying jazz performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in 1996.

He went on to earn his Ph.D. in organizational behavior from The Harvard Business School in 2010, after the successful completion of his dissertation entitled “The Timing and Type of Team Coaching Interventions.”

Last year, he joined the School of Management as an assistant professor of organizational behavior and today has multiple research projects under way and many publications in process.

Dr. Fisher’s research focuses on team leadership and coaching, with a particular emphasis on two aspects of improvisation—timing and emergent group processes—in the areas of team leadership and coaching, creativity, and group negotiations and decision-making.

He leads a seminar on micro-organizational behavior in the doctoral program, and he teaches team learning to our Executive Masters of Business Administration students and a leadership course for undergraduate and MBA students.

He also may be the only member of our management faculty to have served as artist-in-residence for the Ethiopian National Music Festival in Addis Ababa in 2004.

Xue Han, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Pharmacology, College of Engineering and School of Medicine

Dr. Han holds a dual appointment as an assistant professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department and in the department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. She is also a member of the Photonics Center.

She has focused her forward-looking, multidisciplinary research on the development of radical new genetic, molecular, and optical neurotechnologies that can be used to uncover the neural circuit principles of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

A recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the BU Photonic Center Young Investigator Award, and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, she earned a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2004.

Prior to coming to BU, Dr. Han held the Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and at the McGovern Institute and Media Lab at MIT.

Johannes F. Schmieder, Assistant Professor of Economics, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Schmieder joined the Economics Department last year as an assistant professor. His areas of research are labor and health economics, and he has taught both labor and environmental economics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Schmieder earned his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University in 2010 and has been an invited speaker at conferences all over the world.

While an undergraduate at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, Dr. Schmieder worked with the Timbaktu Collective, a development Non-Governmental Organization, in Andhra Pradesh, India; and with the German Red Cross.

In 2011, this accomplished young researcher received a grant from the Department of Labor’s Scholar Program to support his research.

Everyone, please join me in congratulating this year’s recipients of the Peter Paul Professorship…

Colin, Xue, and Johannes now bring our distinguished roster of Peter Paul Career Development Professors up to 20 members.

I’m delighted to see some of their fellow members at tonight’s dinner:

Emine Fetvaci from the College of Arts and Sciences, and Cara Lewis from the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Services.

I would also like to welcome back our returning Innovation Career Development Professor, Michael Smith from the College of Engineering… and our returning Reidy Family Professor, Douglas Densmore, also from the College of Engineering.

Please join me, everyone, in again recognizing these outstanding young scholars and educators and wishing them continued success with their research.

And, finally, please join me in thanking our Trustee, Mr. Peter Paul, for his generosity that has made it possible for us to recognize our exceptional junior faculty in this way. Thank you, Peter.