September 1, 2011

Research awards highlight VU Fall Faculty Assembly

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Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, left, presents awards to David Zald, Ph.D., center, and Robert Kessler, M.D., at last week’s Fall Faculty Assembly. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Research awards highlight VU Fall Faculty Assembly

Mark Lipsey, Ph.D., director of the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University, has won the 2011 Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research for his contributions to education studies and the design of evaluation studies.

“Mark’s work is having a transformative effect on the quality of education in Tennessee,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said in announcing the award during the Fall Faculty Assembly Aug. 25 at the Student Life Center.

“He has produced seminal social science and public policy research on such topics as early childhood education and risk and intervention for juvenile delinquency and substance abuse.”

The Sutherland Prize is the university’s highest honor for research. It comes with a $5,000 prize and the winner’s name is engraved on a silver bowl, which the winner keeps for a year.

Lipsey, research professor of Human and Organizational Development in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, is currently helping to conduct a five-year, $6 million study on the effectiveness of Tennessee’s pre-kindergarten program.

Kassian Kovalcheck, Ph.D., associate professor of Communication Studies, received the Thomas Jefferson Award for distinguished service to the university. The award includes a $2,500 prize and an engraved pewter goblet.

Six faculty members received Chancellor’s Awards for Research for outstanding contributions to research and scholarship. The winners, who each received a $1,000 prize, are:

• Brandt Eichman, Ph.D., associate professor of Biological Sciences and Biochemistry;

• Larry Isaac, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Sociology;

• Jeffrey Johnston, Ph.D., Stevenson Professor of Chemistry;

• Antonis Rokas, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biological Sciences; and

• The team of David Zald, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Robert Kessler, M.D., Wilheim Roentgen Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and associate professor of Psychiatry.

The Fall Faculty Assembly program began with a presentation by Robert Whaley, Ph.D., MBA, Valere Blair Potter Professor of Management and Finance, on “Financial Innovation.”

After remarks by David Weintraub, Ph.D., professor of Anatomy and chair of the Faculty Senate, Zeppos recognized 44 faculty members for 25 years of service and gave his bi-annual address to the senate.

For more on Zeppos’ address, click on