2011-12 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Virginia Hettinger

Dr. Virginia Hettinger’s path to an academic career took many twists and turns. She graduated from Indiana University with a double major in economics and folklore. Like many liberal arts majors at the time, she had little sense of what to do next or even how to go about finding something to do next.

After a brief stint as a retail manager and assistant buyer, Dr. Hettinger earned a Masters in Public Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her second career took her to the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget and then the Virginia Department of Education. In both agencies she worked on evaluation projects and program reviews. Dr. Hettinger loved working on solutions for problems in areas as diverse as child support, educational equity, prison and jail population growth, and Medicaid expenditure growth, but she also wished to concentrate her focus on the questions she found most interesting as opposed to those deemed important by legislators and bureaucrats. Graduate school called to her again. Continue reading

2010-11 Faculty Member of the Year Award: William F. Bailey

Dr. William F. Bailey was born at the vanguard of the “Baby Boomer” generation on December 8, 1946, in Jersey City, New Jersey. His father was the proprietor of a plumbing business in Jersey City. Dr. Bailey spent his Saturdays and summers from the age of 12 to 22 years old learning the business as he rose to the status of a journeyman plumber. However, this was not to be his calling.

Dr. Bailey graduated from St. Peter’s College in 1968, escaping both the plumbing business and the Garden State. He received his Ph.D. from the University Notre Dame in 1973 and completed a two-year postdoctoral position at Yale University. In 1975 he began his independent career at the University of Connecticut where he is now Professor of Chemistry. Continue reading

2009-10 Faculty Member of the Year Award Recipient: Lawrence Gramling

Dr. Lawrence Gramling, Ph.D, C.P.A. is the assistant head of the accounting department in the School of Business. He has actively participated as a faculty member in the Honors Program for many years. He served on the Board of Associate Honors Directors since 1988. In 1995, he spent eight months as the interim director of the Honors Program.

Dr. Gramling has been the accounting department’s Honors advisor for more than 20 years and recently developed a pre-thesis seminar series of workshops for Accounting majors. He also has taught an Honors section of the Principles of Managerial Accounting course and has directed numerous honors theses for Accounting Honors graduates over the years. Continue reading

2009-10 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Robert Thorson

Dr. Robert Thorson earned his B.S. from Bemidji State College, his M.S. from the University of Alaska, and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He is a professor of geology in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Anthropology, specializing in integrated geoscience, kettle lakes, and stone walls. He has been heavily involved with the Honors Program since the Spring of 2001, when he was a candidate for the Directorship of the Honors Program. That fall, he created an elective science course for Honors students, Current Issues in Environmental Science, one that is still being taught today. In 2004, he became fully invested with developing and teaching a new breed of interdisciplinary honors courses, creating Geoscience Through American Studies, the first course for what would later become the Honors Core curriculum. Continue reading

2008-09 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Robert Gross

Dr. Robert A. Gross is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Professor of Early American History at the University of Connecticut. A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, he received his B.A. in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 (Phi Beta Kappa 1965) and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 1976. He taught at Amherst College, the University of Sussex, and the College of William and Mary (where he served as director of American Studies) before coming to the University of Connecticut in 2003. He is the recipient of various national awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim, Howard, and Rockefeller Foundations, the Fulbright Program, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Continue reading

2007-08 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Steven K. Wisensale

Dr. Steven K. Wisensale is a professor of public policy in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. He earned his B.A. in political science and American history at Salem College in 1967, his M.Ed. in social foundations of education from Temple University in 1970, and his graduate diploma in comparative government and social welfare policy from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1973. In addition, he earned his M.A. in liberal studies at Wesleyan University in 1979 and his Ph.D. in social welfare policy from Brandeis University in 1983. Continue reading

2005-06 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Lawrence Hightower

Dr. Lawrence E. Hightower received his B.S. degree summa cum laude in chemistry from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1968. He received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in biochemistry. After working for a year as an instructor in microbiology at University of Massachusetts Medical School, he was appointed assistantprofessor of biology at the University of Connecticut in 1975.

In 1997, Dr. Hightower was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for pioneering work on cellular stress responses. In 1998, he was presented the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Outstanding Achievement Award. He was the founding president of the Cell Stress Society International and founding Editor-in-Chief of Cell Stress and Chaperones, the leading specialty journal in his field.

Dr. Hightower is currently professor and associate head of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, and he teaches the popular Honors course, “Topics in Modern Biology.” He has helped MCB students with their academic programs as an Honors advisor and has advised several Honors students on their theses.

2004-05 Faculty Member of the Year Award: Robin Chazdon

Dr. Robin L. Chazdon was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1957. She attended Grinnell College and got her first taste of the tropics during her second year there on an off-campus field study program. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University in 1984. After three post-doctoral positions she came to UConn as an assistant professor in 1988. She received tenure in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in 2000. At UConn, Chazdon has advised one master’s and five Ph.D. students to completion; she currently has three doctoral students. She has served on dozens of master’s and doctoral committees and has trained Mary Beth Palomaki, a University Scholar and Honors Scholar, who is graduating this May. Continue reading