Dillehay, Barz and three others win awards at Faculty Assembly


Thomas A. Schwartz (center) reacts to receiving The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching April 3 during Spring Faculty Assembly. Faculty Senate Chair Salvatore T. March (left) and Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (right) look on. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

An ethnomusicologist who fights the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa and a champion for minority students in gifted education programs were among five Vanderbilt faculty recognized with awards at the Spring Faculty Assembly.

Donna Ford, professor of education and human development, was awarded The Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award for creative scholarship April 3 in the Martha Ingram Center for the Performing Arts at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.

“(Ford’s) research takes a hard look at systemic problems of racial inequity in education, with a particular focus on the achievement gap that divides minority students from their higher-achieving white peers,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.

Ford receives $2,500 and an engraved silver tray, as well as designation for one academic year as The Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor.

Other award winners were Tom D. Dillehay, The Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor Award; Gregory F. Barz, The Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award; Kenneth C. Catania, The Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching; and Thomas A. Schwartz, The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

In addition to the awards, the program included an update on university affairs from Zeppos, welcoming remarks from Faculty Senate chair Salvatore T. March and a presentation by Dr. William Schaffner, “Vanderbilt and the Tennessee Department of Health: A Successful Collaboration.”

Dillehay, Rebecca Webb Wilson University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Religion

Tom Dillehay (left) is congratulated by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (right) April 3 at Spring Faculty Assembly for winning The Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor Award

and Culture and professor of anthropology and Latin American Studies, will receive $2,500, an engraved silver tray and a year as The Joe B. Wyatt Distinguished University Professor.

“This award recognizes accomplishments that span multiple academic disciplines and honors the development of significant new knowledge from research or exemplary innovations in teaching,” Zeppos said. “Tom is internationally renowned for his excavations at Monte Verde of the oldest human habitation in the Western Hemisphere.”

Barz, associate professor of musicology, anthropology, and music and religion, received The Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award recognizing distinctive contributions to the understanding of problems of contemporary society.

“Greg has rendered an incredible service to the people of Africa through HIV/AIDS education,” Zeppos said. “Greg discovered that the most effective way to get the word out in Uganda about how to prevent HIV/AIDS was not through leaflets, government media, clinics or public forums but rather through music. … The movement eventually caught on throughout the continent, gaining traction to where it has now become public policy.”

Barz receives $2,500, an engraved silver tray and the title of The Alexander Heard Distinguished Professor for one year.

The Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching was awarded to Catania and accepted by Dean Carolyn Dever of the College of Arts and Science because Catania was traveling.

“Ken’s work has led to fundamental breakthroughs in the science of sensory perception and has been featured by The New York Times and on national television news outlets,” Zeppos said. “Vanderbilt students recognize his brilliance, and his department chair Bubba Singleton points out that Ken’s numerical student evaluations are always the highest of any faculty member within biological sciences, and the students’ comments are equally glowing.”

Catania, the Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences, recent recipient of a 2013 Pradel Research Award and a MacArthur genius award-winner, receives $2,500 and an engraved pewter cup as recognition for the award.

Schwartz, professor of history, political science and European studies, was presented The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Zeppos called Schwartz “a superb teacher and a major scholar in the field of United States diplomatic history who brings his passion for the study of foreign relations and international history into his classroom and to every course that he teaches,” Zeppos said.

Schwartz receives $2,500 and an engraved pewter cup in recognition of the honor.