News Release: Events, People, Research, Teaching, University News

May 8,  2009

Faculty Receive Awards for Outstanding Teaching, Research, Leadership

Ten Emory University faculty members were honored with teaching, research and mentoring awards presented at the university’s commencement ceremony May 11.

Martha A. Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, received the University Scholar/Teacher Award. The recipient is chosen by Emory faculty on behalf of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  

One of the world’s leading feminist theorists and family-law scholars, Fineman has encouraged colleagues, lawmakers and students to challenge the status quo. After earning a B.A. degree from Temple University and a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago, Fineman clerked for the Honorable Luther M. Swygert in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Fineman has taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Columbia Law School and Cornell Law School, where she held the first endowed chair in feminist jurisprudence in the United States. In 2004, she joined Emory Law.

Fineman has published more than 60 scholarly texts. Her books include “The Neutered Mother, the Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies,” “The Autonomy Myth:  A Theory of Dependency” and the forthcoming “The Vulnerable Subject:  Anchoring Equality in the Human Condition.” In her writings, Fineman explores issues such as the nature and function of the family as a societal institution, the economic and political consequences of welfare and divorce reforms, and the meanings of dependency in American society and politics.      

An important component of Fineman’s scholarly work is the Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project, which she founded in 1984. The core purpose of FLT is to foster interdisciplinary examinations of laws, social policies and structures that are of particular interest to women.

Her research, scholarship and activism have helped to define the field of feminist legal theory and family and marriage law. A dedicated teacher and mentor, Fineman also carries forward the themes and methods developed in her research and the FLT Project, encouraging students to question the basic assumptions they have about the ways society operates.   

Fineman’s exemplary scholarship and teaching have earned her national recognition, including the Harry Kalven Prize for Distinguished Research in Law and Society, the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the Thomas Jefferson Law School and the Centennial Celebration Lectureship at the New England School of Law.

Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is presented to a faculty member or administrative officer in recognition of significant service to the university through personal activities, influence and leadership.

Schuchard has devoted 40 years to the service of Emory. After earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, Schuchard came to Emory as an assistant professor of English in 1969. His distinguished teaching career has included courses in 20th century British, Irish and Anglophone literature and graduate seminars on topics such as the Irish literary renaissance, contemporary Irish poets, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy and contemporary poetry.

Schuchard’s vision and determination led Emory to establish the now renowned Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature in 1988. The Ellmann Lectures have drawn such luminaries as Seamus Heaney, Mario Vargas Llosa, Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco. In addition, Schuchard’s dedication to the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) has made it one of the major research libraries in the country.  He worked tirelessly to bring the Seamus Heaney and Raymond Danowski papers to MARBL.  

An internationally recognized scholar, Schuchard’s research and writing have earned him many awards.  His book “Eliot’s Dark Angel” won the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for Outstanding Literary Criticism and the annual SAMLA Studies award for the best book published by a member of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.  His latest book “The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts” was published by Oxford University Press in 2008. He is currently the general editor of the multivolume edition of  “The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot.” He has been a visiting fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, Trinity College, Dublin, Queen’s University, Belfast, and the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, where he has been elected a permanent senior research fellow.  

Through his leadership, Schuchard has inspired many faculty, staff and students at Emory and abroad.  In 2004, he worked with Emory administrators, faculty, staff and students to donate computers to Meru High School located in Meru, Kenya. Before the computers arrived, the school was ranked below the top 100 other Kenya schools. Within a year of the computers’ arrival, the school had risen to the rank of 44.

Described by fellow colleagues with such words as genial, insightful, energetic, patient and dedicated, Schuchard exemplifies all those qualities of engagement and intellectual liveliness that define Emory.

Kenneth W. Stein, William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science and Israeli Studies, received the George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring, established in 1997 by trustee John T. Glover.  

Seven Emory professors received the Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching. The university’s most prestigious awards for teaching were established in 1972 by alumnus Emory Williams. The three awards in the arts and sciences are selected by a committee of Emory College of Arts and Sciences faculty. Goizueta Business School, Oxford College and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing each present an award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, and one other award rotates among the professional schools.

The 2009 recipients of the Emory Williams Award are:

Donald Tuten, associate professor of Spanish, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Randall W. Strahan, professor of political science, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Tracy Morkin, lecturer in chemistry, Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Brenda B. Harmon, senior lecturer in chemistry, Oxford College 

Robert A. Schapiro, professor of law, School of Law

Klaas Baks, associate professor of finance, Goizueta Business School

Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology

Deborah A. McFarland, associate professor of health policy and management, Rollins School of Public Health

William McDonald, J.B. Fuqua Chair in Late-Life Depression, School of Medicine

Elizabeth Downes, clinical assistant professor of nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing


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