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Two faculty named Distinguished University Professors - 06/06/08

COLUMBUS – A pioneer in the field of psychoneuroimmunology and a leading narrative theorist received The Ohio State University's highest faculty honor at Friday's meeting (6/6) of the university's Board of Trustees.

The title of Distinguished University Professor was conferred by trustees on Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology and holder of the S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine in Ohio State's College of Medicine, and James Phelan, Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Department of English.

Each will receive a one-time cash award of $30,000 from the Office of Academic Affairs to support their academic work and will become a member of the President's and Provost's Advisory Council.

Kiecolt-Glaser, who also serves as director of the Division of Health Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and a member of Ohio State's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, has made major contributions to understanding how life events and emotions influence health and illness. Her groundbreaking research on the adverse effects of stress on the immune system has made her one of the world's leading experts on the topic. She has authored nearly 200 articles, chapters and books, most in collaboration with Ronald Glaser, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

A member of the Ohio State faculty since 1978, she holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Miami in Florida. She received Ohio State's University Distinguished Scholar Award in 1993.

Phelan has gained an international reputation in the field of narrative theory, with a primary focus on 20th century British and American narrative. He is the author of five books on criticism and theory, including Worlds from Words; Reading People, Reading Plots; Narrative as Rhetoric; Living to Tell About it; and Experience Fiction, as well as the autobiographical journal Beyond the Tenure Track, and more than 100 essays and reviews. In addition, he has several books in progress or under advance contract. His work is taught in universities around the world, and two of his books have been translated into Chinese. Phelan has been the editor of Narrative, the leading journal in the field of narrative studies, since 1992 and has been co-editor of the Ohio State University Press series on the Theory and Interpretation of Narrative since 1993.

He is the first person in the history of the university's English department to be awarded both the Distinguished Scholar Award (2004) and the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (2007). He is also the recipient of the university's 2007 Arts and Sciences Research Award for Exemplary Service.

Phelan holds a master's degree and a doctorate, both in English Language and Literature, from the University of Chicago. He joined Ohio State's faculty in 1977 and served as chair of the English Department for 1994 to 2002.