Scholars in law, chemical engineering named Distinguished University Professors
19 other faculty also recognized for outstanding contributions
The Ohio State University has bestowed its highest faculty honor – the title of Distinguished University Professor – on Martha Chamallas and Umit S. Ozkan, who lead a list of 21 faculty members recognized by the university this spring for their outstanding contributions in teaching, research and service.
Chamallas, who holds the Robert J. Lynn Chair at the Moritz College of Law, and Ozkan, a College of Engineering Distinguished Professor and chair of the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, are the 67th and 68th faculty members to be named Distinguished University Professor, a title that dates back to 1987.
“Distinguished University Professors Chamallas and Ozkan represent the best of Ohio State,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron. “Both have made countless contributions to their fields and to the Ohio State community over the years. Congratulations to both of these impressive scholars.”
In addition to celebrating its latest Distinguished University Professors, the university recognized 19 faculty members this spring with awards sponsored or co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs: the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service; the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching; and the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer.
The Office of Academic Affairs awards the Distinguished University Professor title to full professors who have exceptional records in teaching, research, scholarly or creative work, and service. Distinguished University Professors automatically become members of the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee and are awarded a $30,000 grant to support their academic work.
Chamallas is an internationally acclaimed scholar whose theoretical insights have restructured basic tenets of tort law. She was at the forefront, for example, in recognizing racial and gender biases in the way that courts calculate awards in tort cases. Those insights refashioned tort theory and prompted courts and decision-makers to alter past practices. For example, the mediator who presided over the 9/11 Compensation Fund relied upon Chamallas’ work to allocate funds among the victims’ families, rejecting previous approaches that would have discriminated against women.
Chamallas also has contributed significantly to the development of feminist legal theory, having written a field-defining treatise on the subject, and is one of the nation’s leading voices on Title VII and employment discrimination.
In 2000, Chamallas was elected to the American Law Institute – the legal field’s equivalent to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine – and is a member of the governing board of the American Association of University Professors Legal Defense Fund.
She has written five books, taught as a visiting professor at Harvard, the University of Tennessee, Washington University, Tel Aviv University and the University of Ghent, and delivered scholarly papers around the world.
Chamallas, who joined Ohio State as a professor in 2002, was named a University Distinguished Lecturer in 2006 and a University Distinguished Scholar in 2013.
“This incredible honor underscores for me just how important it is to live and work in a supportive intellectual community,” Chamallas said. “For nearly 20 years, I have been the beneficiary of stimulating and generous colleagues and students, patient deans who encouraged my long-term projects, and a university that values research from a broad range of approaches and perspectives. This intangible quality of Ohio State cannot be quantified but has made all the difference in my career.”
Ozkan’s work focuses on unraveling the complex processes that mediate chemical and electrochemical reactions. Specifically, she is known for her ground-breaking research in heterogeneous catalysis, in which she and her team are exploring the nature of active sites on catalyst surfaces. The goal, ultimately, is to design catalysts with the desired molecular architecture for specific reactions. This finds application, for example, in catalytic water treatment to decontaminate groundwater and in the development of alternative electrocatalyst materials for cleaner, environmentally friendly fuel cells.
Ozkan is internationally recognized and highly cited, with more than 200 refereed publications, seven patents, 15 books and book chapters, and over 140 invited and keynote lectures to her credit.
She is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemists and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and serves on the editorial boards for 10 of the top catalysis journals.
When she was hired in 1985 as an assistant professor, she was the first woman to join Ohio State’s Chemical Engineering Department and was the only woman on its faculty for 19 years. She was the first woman to serve as associate dean for research at the college and the first woman to serve as the chair of her department. Ozkan has received every major award the college offers, including being named a College of Engineering Distinguished Professor. In 1999, Ohio State recognized her as a University Distinguished Scholar.
“As a proud Buckeye who called Ohio State her academic home for more than 36 years, I am extremely humbled by this recognition,” Ozkan said. “I would like to share it with all my graduate and undergraduate students, who kept challenging me to be a better teacher, a better researcher and a better citizen of the world.”
The Office of Academic Affairs, in coordination with partners, also awarded the following faculty awards this spring:
President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service
Ohio State honored three faculty members with the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service who have served in non-administrative leadership roles and made documentable impact on the quality of the university. They are:
- Michael Bisesi, vice dean, Academic Affairs and Academic Administration, professor and interim chair, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health
- Sathya Gopalakrishnan, associate professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
- Maurice Stevens, professor, Department of Comparative Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching
Ten faculty members were awarded the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching this year for teaching excellence. They are:
- Rebecca B. Dupaix, professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
- Caryn Filson, assistant professor of professional practice, Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
- H. Eugene (Gene) Folden Jr., associate professor of clinical practice, Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology
- Amanda Hummon, associate professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences
- Li-Chiang Lin, assistant professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, College of Engineering
- Paloma Anacelia Martinez-Cruz, associate professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, College of Arts and Sciences
- Janine Overcash, professor of clinical nursing, co-director of the Academy for Teaching, Innovation, Excellence and Scholarship, College of Nursing
- Mary Thomas, associate professor, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
- Laura Wagner, professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
- Robert J. Ward, associate professor, director of choral activities, School of Music, College of Arts and Sciences
Students, faculty and alumni may nominate faculty, and a committee of students, previous recipients and alumni choose the recipients.
Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer
Six associated faculty members were honored with the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer for teaching excellence. They are:
- Michelle Everson, associated professor and program specialist, Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences
- Emma Kindall, lecturer, Department of Art, College of Arts and Sciences
- Lynette Martin, lecturer, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences
- Rosalee K. Meyer, associated faculty, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
- Steven Salopek, senior lecturer, Department of Finance, Fisher College of Business
- Alexandra Ruiz Suer, senior lecturer, Department of Human Sciences, College of Education and Human Ecology
Students, faculty, staff and alumni may put forward nominees, and a committee of students, faculty and alumni choose the recipients. All associated faculty are eligible for the award.