University Scholars Program

Faculty excellence is the cornerstone of any university of high quality. There is no more important task at the University of Illinois than attracting and retaining the very best teachers and scholars. The Faculty Scholar Program aims to recognize outstanding members of the faculty and to provide each with a funding allocation to enhance their scholarly activities.

Scholar awards are not made for a specific project or proposal; rather, they represent recognition of the recipient’s excellence and the University’s commitment to foster outstanding people and their work. Therefore, the awards are made through nominations, not by application.

As of 2013, each award consists of an allocation of $15,000 per year for a period of three years. Recipients may use the funds at their discretion to enhance their scholarly work through travel, equipment, research assistants, scholarly materials or other uses that support their university-related teaching or research. University Scholars funds cannot be used toward the recipients’ base salary but can be used to support a summer salary of up to two-ninths of base salary.

Eligibility to the University Scholar Program is limited to members of the University of Illinois faculty, as defined in the University Statutes, i.e. members of the academic staff who are tenured or receiving credit toward tenure.

Each university will determine its selection criteria and process. Prior to the end of the academic year, they will submit the selection results to the President. Formal announcements of new University Scholars will generally be timed to coincide with the beginning of the academic year following selection.

University Scholars from 1985 to current year

2016 University Scholars

Nicole Allen
Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Allen is internationally recognized for her scholarship in the study of organized community efforts to address domestic violence and has been at the forefront of developing service learning courses for undergraduates.  Her work has had a significant impact on the way in which communities view solutions to difficult social problems, and she developed the System of Care in Champaign County for children with complex mental health needs.

P. Scott Carney
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Carney is a world leader in the area of applied theoretical optics.  As a theorist who works with experimentalists to maximize the impact of his work, he has made many scholarly contributions, including the ability to translate foundational theory into applied technologies.  He is committed to being a champion for all ECE ILLINOIS students through personal interactions, encouragement, outreach and innovative teaching.

Ioannis Chasiotis
Department of Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Chasiotis’s research focuses on the competing roles of physical processes with different length and time scales controlling the mechanical deformation and fracture of the micro and nanoscale building blocks of materials.  He has received all major awards from all international technical and scientific societies in his field.

Alexander Furman
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Chicago
Professor Furman is a highly influential mathematician and is considered the top specialist in super-rigidity.  His research centers on rigidity involving systems with a multitude of symmetries.  He is also one of the leaders in the new field of measured group theory, which his work has helped create.

Joy Hammel
Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Applied Health Sciences, Chicago
Professor Hammel’s research focuses on developing evidence-based strategies for improving participation and community living for people with disabilities.  Her projects have had tremendous impact at state, national, and international levels by contributing to policy and system’s changes that impact the lives of those with disabilities.

Waïl S. Hassan
Department of Comparative and World Literature and Department of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Hassan is a major figure in Arabic and postcolonial studies known both as a critic and a translator.  His groundbreaking research over the past decade has significantly expanded the scope of modern Arabic literary studies beyond its traditional parameters, and his broad range of interests converge around modern Arabic literature, Arab intellectual history, and Arab diaspora literatures and cultures. 

Robert Liden
Department of Managerial Studies, College of Business Administration, Chicago
Professor Liden’s research focuses on interpersonal processes as they relate to leadership, groups, and career progression.  His research is widely recognized by professional peers as well as in the broader business media.  In 2014, he received the Thomas A. Mahoney Mentoring Award for his work with doctoral students.

Donald Morrison
Department of Biological Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Chicago
Professor Morrison is a leading expert on the biology of Streptococcus pneumoniae, one of the principal bacterial causes of human disease.  He has developed important and ingenious new techniques for studying the bacterial pathogen, which have become industry standards.

Mariann Piano
Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing, Chicago
Professor Piano has developed an outstanding program of research, which has advanced the understanding of adverse effects of unhealthy drinking patterns on the cardiovascular system.  Her ground-breaking work has had a critical impact on clinical practice and on national and international health policy.

Chad Rienstra
Department of Chemistry, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Rienstra is responsible for many of the breakthroughs that have transformed SSNMR spectroscopy into a useful technique for structural biology, developing SSNMR to the point where it is making major contributions to medicine.  As one of the leading scientists of his generation, he has proved equally innovative in the classroom, and he has assumed major leadership roles on campus in multiple capacities.

Nava Segev
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine, Chicago
Professor Segev is a leader if the field of intracellular vesicular trafficking with an outstanding track record of innovative contributions.  Because of her early work, we now know that that the family of Rab GTPases proteins has critical roles in cellular trafficking with implications for many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Peter Shapinsky
Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Springfield
Professor Shapinsky is an expert on piracy in medieval Japan.  His monograph, Lords of the Sea:  Pirates, Violence, and Commerce in Late Medieval Japan, draws parallels between the pirates (Sea Lords) and the Feudal Lords of terrain, which allows future researchers to view the topic from a different perspective.

Rebecca Stumpf
Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Urbana-Champaign
Professor Stumpf is a biological anthropologist with a research specialization in primatology.  Her work examines the behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology of primate social systems, with a focus on mating and reproduction.

Zaijie Wang
Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Chicago
Professor Wang conducts research in the area of chronic pain, drug abuse, and natural product pharmacology.  In recent years he has led his research team in developing a novel paradigm for studying spontaneous pain in preclinical models, which has the potential of positively impacting on the current problem of poor clinical translation for pain medication.

updated September 2016