Kudos: Read about faculty, staff and student awards and achievements


James Auer, senior lecturer in Asian studies, emeritus, has received the 31st annual Seiron (“Sound Opinion”) Grand Award from the Fuji-Sankei Group in Japan for his continued efforts to promote liberty and democracy. Auer is the first foreign recipient of the award in its history.

Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, and David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development, have received a $663,449 grant from the John Templeton Foundation for the longitudinal Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. SMPY was founded at Johns Hopkins University by Julian C. Stanley in 1971; Benbow and Lubinski have co-directed the landmark study since 1991. In the next investigation, two of the most exceptional cohorts, now at mid-life, will be assessed for their accomplishments and lifestyle choices. One cohort includes 501 participants who were identified at age 13 as being in the top .01 percent in mathematical or verbal reasoning. The second cohort consists of 714 individuals selected when they were STEM graduate students.

Julia Phillips Cohen, associate professor of Jewish studies and of history, has won the 2015 Jordan Schnitzer Award in Modern Jewish History, the 2015 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize, and an honorable mention for the 2014 Salo W. Baron Book Prize for her work Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (Oxford University Press, 2014). These join her previously announced honors for the book: the 2015 Barbara Jelavich Prize of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Material; and the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Sephardic Culture. In addition, together with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Cohen is co-editor of Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford University Press, 2014), which also won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Sephardic Culture and received honorable mention for the 2015 Judaica Reference Award sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Andrew Finch, associate professor of the practice of human and organizational development, has received the first-ever ARS Recovery School Award from the Association of Recovery Schools in recognition of his outstanding contributions to recovery research in educational settings. Recovery schools provide an environment that supports students’ sobriety. Finch co-founded the Association of Recovery Schools and helped design Community High School in Nashville, one of the early schools for teens recovering from alcohol and other drug addictions. In 2005, he published Starting a Recovery School: A How-To Manual (Hazelden Professional Library), a blueprint for creating an effective recovery school.

Nancy Godleski, associate dean for collections at Vanderbilt Libraries, will participate in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellows program for 2016-17. Godleski was among 28 individuals selected through a highly competitive process for the annual executive leadership development program, which is designed to help prepare future senior-level leaders at large research libraries.

Ebony McGee, assistant professor of education, diversity and urban schooling, has published “Robust and Fragile Mathematical Identities: A Framework for Exploring Racialized Experiences and High Achievement Among Black College Students” in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition, she has published “Reimagining Critical Race Theory in Education: Mental Health, Healing and the Pathway to Liberatory Praxis” in Educational Theory. Her co-author on the latter is David Stovall of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The paper challenges the current research trend of attributing the survival of black students at traditionally white institutions primarily to grit, perseverance and mental toughness while failing to account for the mental health issues associated with weathering racism and microagressions.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia, has acquired “Sadness,” a photo project by Vesna Pavlović, assistant professor of art, produced collaboratively with the Škart artist collective in 1992. This performance and photography project comprises a series of artist books, photographic posters and documentation photographs about daily life in the war-torn former Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 1990s. In addition, Pavlović recently exhibited her “Fabrics of Socialism” photographs as part of the Inside Out/Not So White Cube exhibition at the City Art Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia. And Lost Art, her recent exhibition at Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville, has been reviewed by Burnaway magazine, Daily Serving, The Tennessean, the Nashville Scene and Nashville Arts Magazine.

Emily Quinn, a doctoral student at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, received a $2,000 American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development during the recent 2015 Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association held in Denver. The grant supports a doctoral student in conducting research in the area of child language.

Alice Randall, writer in residence in African American and diaspora studies, has received an NAACP Image Award nomination in the Outstanding Literary Work—Instructional category for her book Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family, which she co-authored with her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams.

Ron Zimmer, associate professor of public policy and education, and Gary Henry, professor of public policy and education, have published “Evaluation of Effect of Tennessee’s School District on Student Test Scores” in conjunction with the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. They have been monitoring progress since the Achievement School District’s creation through the federal Race to the Top grant program. Focusing on test data, they found there was no statistical improvement on the whole and not enough to reach the ASD’s initial goal of a quick turnaround. They found more encouraging results with the turnaround efforts known as iZones led by local districts in Memphis and Nashville.