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USC Honors Its Best

Faculty honorees include (from l to r, back row) Alison Dundes Renteln, Kevin Starr and Bettine Birge; and (front row) Drew Casper Kathryn Smith and Thomas M. Mack.

Photo/Irene Fertik

More than two dozen faculty members and students will be honored for their contributions to scholarship, research and teaching at USC’s 24th annual Academic Convocation on Thursday, March 10.

Kevin O. Starr, University Professor, professor of history in USC College and California State Librarian Emeritus, and Donald G. Skinner, chair of the Catherine and Joseph Aresty department of urology and holder of the Hanson-White Chair in Medical Research in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, will receive the 2005 Presidential Medallion, the university’s highest honor, at a dinner at Town and Gown.

The 2005 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award will be presented to Mathew Curtis, department of psychology, USC College. Curtis, a doctoral student in social psychology from Britain, has taught classes in statistics, research methods, social psychology, and drugs and human behavior.

The President’s Award for Staff Achievement, presented in the past at this event, will instead be awarded on April 27 at the annual Staff Recognition and Award ceremony.

Other honorees and their awards are:

USC Associates, the university’s premier academic support group, recognizes faculty achievement in two areas: excellence in teaching and creativity in research and scholarship.

USC Associates Awards for Excellence in Teaching

� Drew Casper, professor of American film and holder of the Alma and Alfred Hitchcock Chair in the USC School of Cinema-Television, for a legendary teaching career that has transformed the lives of many of his students. Casper makes his course material meaningful, personal and individual, and his DVD film commentaries extend his reach beyond the classroom.

� Alison Dundes Renteln, professor of political science in USC College, for the range of courses she teaches, her use of innovative teaching techniques and her supervision of independent student projects. Renteln, a leading expert on human rights and cultural issues who shares her knowledge with the community and the world � most recently in the Philippines � is an exemplary role model and mentor to her students.

USC Associates Awards for Creativity in Research and Scholarship

� Stephen Hartke, professor of composition in the USC Thornton School of Music, for his diverse and personal contributions to music � from medieval and non-Western to popular styles � and his vast repertoire of professional recordings and performances.

� Larry W. Swanson, the Milo Don and Lucille Appleman Professor of Biological Sciences and professor in the departments of psychology and neurology in USC College, for his pioneering work in the field of neuroanatomy. His influence on the biological sciences is worldwide, and the work of Swanson and his research team on the brain and its organization is groundbreaking.

Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Awards

� Bettine Birge, associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures in USC College, for her book, “Women, Property and Confucian Reaction in Sung and Yuan China: 960-1368.” Birge’s groundbreaking scholarship reinterprets the social, economic and legal history of late imperial China.

� Paul F. Lerner, associate professor of history in USC College, for his book, “Hysterical Men: War, Psychiatry and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1890-1930.” Lerner’s source-rich history of German psychiatry during these years shows how the priorities of a nation trumped the well-being of individual patients.

� Thomas M. Mack, professor of preventive medicine and pathology in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, chief of the school’s division of epidemiology and director of the epidemiology program at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, for his book, “Cancers in the Urban Environment: Patterns of Malignant Disease in Los Angeles and Its Neighborhoods.” The volume is a detailed reference on the occurrence of various forms of cancer in the culturally diverse neighborhoods of L.A. County.

� Kathryn Smith, associate professor and chair of animation and digital arts, USC School of Cinema-Television, for her work of art, “Indefinable Moods.” Smith’s animation, which explores the combination of digitized oil paintings and music, expresses universal emotions and has been screened at numeral film festivals and art exhibitions.

USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award

� Robert B. Kaplan, emeritus professor of linguistics, USC College, for his seminal work on contrastive rhetoric and his 40 years of contributions to language education, policy and planning, academic writing and mentoring. Also recognized for his administrative service to the university and as director of the American Language Institute, Kaplan was the first recipient of USC’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and he has led his field in numerous organizations, including as president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics.

Awards for Student Achievement

� Wan Sonya Tang, Spanish, and Katherine Trefz, history and political science, Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Awards.
� Aarthy Kannappan and Rahul Kasukurthi, biological sciences, Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Awards.
� Kenneth Basin, international relations, University Trustee Award.
� Thuzar Myo Shin, pathobiology, Rockwell Dennis Hunt Award.

Phi Kappa Phi Student Recognition Awards

� Rahul Kasukurthi, biological sciences, for a research paper, “The ‘Great Game’ Revived: The Afghan Pipeline Battles of the 1990s.”
� Kaytie M. Lee, professional writing, for a novel, “Missing: A Novel in Short Stories.”
� Melissa Rosen, professional writing, for a screenplay, “The Hidden Equation.”
� Nasim Yalpani, architecture, for an urban practicum design proposal, “Los Angeles Downtown Market Districts: Santee Alley Redevelopment Plan.”

Student award winners will also be honored at the annual Senior and Graduate Student Recognition Ceremony, May 12 in Bovard Auditorium.

USC Honors Its Best

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