Penn State honors 14 as distinguished faculty

December 23, 2008

University Park, Pa. — In an honor recognizing exceptional, research, creativity and service to the University community, 12 Penn State faculty members have been named distinguished professors and two have been named distinguished librarians this year. The recipients represent the arts, humanities, medicine, science and libraries.

The honorees for 2008-09 by college follow.

College of Arts and Architecture

• Lisa O. Bontrager, distinguished professor of music - Horn player Bontrager has performed throughout the United States and in Europe and Japan, and can be heard on nearly 20 CD recordings, including her solo CD, Hunter's Moon, and her newest release, MirrorImage at the Opera, featuring her horn duo with Michelle Stebleton.  Distinctive because of her versatility, she is known as one of the leading tenor horn players in the country and plays the tenor horn with the Brass Band of Battle Creek, in addition to playing her primary instrument, the French horn, with the Pennsylvania Quintet, the Millennium Brass and Music at Penn's Woods.

• Christopher Staley, distinguished professor of art -
Staley's ceramic pieces are included in collections around the world, including the International Museum of Ceramic Art, Fuping, China; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C. He is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, based in Geneva, Switzerland, and serves as chair of the board of directors at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, an international craft school in Deer Isle, Maine.

College of Health and Human Development

• John L. Beard, distinguished professor of nutritional sciences - Beard is considered to be one of the most influential and well-respected experts in the world on the nutritional impact of iron on the brain and cognitive function. In a career spanning more than three decades, his research has created a paradigm shift in the way scientists think about the way the brain uses iron, has influenced approaches to dietary supplementation in third world countries and has offered fresh perspectives for the treatment of clinical disorders.

College of the Liberal Arts

• Thomas O. Beebee, distinguished professor of comparative literature and Germanic languages and literature - Beebee has published six books studying literature. In 2008 he published a far-ranging study comparing modern literary treatments of "end-of-the-world" stories charting an ultimate battle between good and evil that destroys previous social structures and rings in a lasting new order. His interdisciplinary approach in Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002 provides nuanced readings of a diverse group of forms and writers, from the letters of Christopher Columbus to the poetry of Ernesto Martinez to the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley.

• D. Scott Bennett, Jr., distinguished professor of political science - Bennett specializes in studies of international conflict, methodology, and computer applications, and has studied the duration of international phenomena including wars, crises, rivalries and alliances. Along with numerous published analyses of war and alliance duration, Bennett published The Behavioral Origins of War, a comparative test of theories of international dispute outbreak and escalation. He has also developed software for political scientists to theories of war.

• Roxanne Parrott, distinguished professor of communications arts and sciences, and health policy and administration - Parrott emphasizes the processes and outcomes associated with communication about health in her research, teaching and service activities. Over the past decade, her funded research has focused on the design of health messages to promote behavioral adaptation in situations where individuals are unable, unwilling, and/or unlikely to avoid situations and practices that put their health at risk. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Board, Pennsylvania’s Office of Rural Health’s Future’s Council, and the Penn State Cancer Institute’s Scientific Leadership Committee.

• Anne C. Rose, distinguished professor of history and religious studies - Rose is a historian of American culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with an emphasis on religion. Her research and teaching focus on the challenges modern society poses to religion and how Americans of many backgrounds have adapted their traditions to new situations and is especially interested in the interactions among them in families, as shown in her book Beloved Strangers: Interfaith Families in Nineteenth-Century America. She teaches courses on religion in America, Christianity, Judaism and social and cultural history.

• Neil Wallace, distinguished professor of economics - A member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences Wallace is a contributor to the fields of monetary theory, regulation of financial intermediaries and central bank policy. He has conducted research on deposit insurance, the role of inside money, deficits and inflation, and the determination of exchange rates. Since the mid-1970s, Wallace has devoted his career to providing a foundation for monetary theory. His work is required reading for graduate students in economics around the world, and he has a separate research program on banking theory.

College of Medicine

• Danielle K.B. Boal, M.D.,  distinguished professor of radiology and pediatrics -
An expert in radiologic imaging of non-accidental trauma, Boal was the first pediatric rediologist at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She added CT, MRI and interventional biopsy capabilities, recruited pediatric radiology colleagues and mentored their career development. As a member of the Medical Legal Advisory Board of the Attorney General has worked closely with coroners with the State of Pennsylvania, developing a statewide database and discovering new information to better understand the relationship of the various injuries. She has previously been recognized in the Best Doctors In America database and is a fellow of the American College of Radiology.

• Lawrence I. Sinoway, M.D., distinguished professor of medicine - Sinoway is the first director of the Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, which launched in 2005. Under his direction, the institute now ranks as one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in America and is considered a leader in research, development and clinical use of heart pumps. A cardiologist, Sinoway's research efforts have made major contributions to understanding heart and blood vessels of patients with congestive heart failure respond to exercise. He has served as program director for the General Clinical Research Center.

• John W. Wills, distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology - Wills' research focuses on several areas of molecular biology and immunology, including the molecular mechanisms of virus assembly and budding, the method by which viruses progress. The goal of his research is to determine how the structural components of these viruses move through the budding pathway, culminating in the virus-cell separation step. His primary focus has been on the retroviral Gag protein because it is the only protein needed for the budding of these viruses. He has begun analysis of the more complicated herpes viruses, for which the minimal budding machinery is completely unknown.

Eberly College of Science

• Vadim Kaloshin, distinguished professor of mathematics -  Kaloshin studies the motion of complex mechanical systems over long periods of time, which can be either regular, as the motion of planets, or chaotic, as the motion of a hurricane. Kaloshin is developing techniques to analyze the interplay between regular and chaotic behavior to determine the length of stability of various systems, including the complicated and important "three-body problem" in classical mechanics, about which little is known.

University Libraries and Scholarly Communications

• John Attig, distinguished librarian - A monographs cataloging librarian and a national and international specialist in descriptive cataloging and authority control, the basis for standardizing practices for bibliographic description worldwide, Attig has raised Penn State's cataloging standards to a level of recognized excellence within the Library of Congress international cooperative cataloging efforts. In addition, he is a John Locke scholar and maintains the internationally recognized John Locke bibliography, utilized by Locke scholars worldwide.

• Linda Musser, distinguished librarian -
Head of the Earth and Mineral Sciences Library, a nationally recognized engineering and geosciences librarian, and recipient of the 2006 Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award by the ASEE Engineering Libraries Division, Musser is one of the Libraries' most prolific authors and speakers. She has held the highest leadership positions within the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Geosciences Information Society and was a member of the select committee that authored the National Science Foundation's publication, "Geoscience Collections and Data: National Resources in Peril."

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Last Updated March 15, 2011