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Senate names Faculty Research Lecture and public service award recipients

By Dave Jones on March 9, 2015 in University

Music professor Anna Maria Busse Berger is this year's recipient of the Faculty Research Lecture Award, the Academic Senate's highest honor.

The senate's Representative Assembly recently voted unanimous approval of Busse Berger's selection, as recommended by a committee. Another committee recommended four Distinguished Public Service Awards — for James Carey, entomology; Harry Cheng, mechanical and aerospace engineering; and Robert Powell, chemical engineering and materials science — ans those also received unanimous approval.

Here are excerpts from the committee reports forwarded to the Representative Assembly:

Faculty Research Lecture Award

Busse Berger

Professor Busse Berger (music) is an internationally renowned, award-winning scholar of exceptional originality and productivity. She has received both the H. Colin Slim Award (best article by a senior scholar) from the American Musicological Society and the Bruno Nettl Award (outstanding publication) from the Society for Ethnomusicology. This is unprecedented, because the two societies have very different interests and memberships. Her second book, Medieval Music and the Art of Memory, a musicological study of medieval composition and performance that showed how composers worked from memory rather than on paper, won a best book award from the Society for Music Theory (one of two awards the book received).

Among her many fellowships and honors, she spent two years at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at the Villa I Tatti (Florence, Italy), she was a Director’s Guest at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Italy, and she received the Lise Meitner Fellowship from the Austrian Science Fund for a year in Vienna, an award that normally goes to scientists.

That a musicologist can receive awards and fellowships from nonmusicological entities is a testament to the exceptional breadth of her research and how it crosses boundaries.

Professor Busse Berger’s distinctive scholarly research and outstanding accomplishments make her a highly deserving candidate for the 2015 UC Davis Faculty Research Lecture Award. We believe the Faculty Research Lecture by Professor Busse Berger would be of great interest to the campus and the local community alike.

The Faculty Research Lecture will be part of an awards program scheduled for Tuesday, May 5. See details below.

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Awards


Professor Carey (entomology) is an internationally recognized leader and distinguished scholar in invasion biology. His significant contributions on two pest invaders, the Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) and the light brown apple moth, led to much-needed in-depth policy discussions, and impacted several California control programs, not only saving California millions of dollars but also focusing national and worldwide attention on controlling invasive pests. Over the period of three decades, Dr. Carey has published his research in major journals, served on the governor-appointed California Medfly Science Advisory Panel, testified before the U.S. Congress and California state legislators and to other government entities; held workshops with citizenry; developed and disseminated information; and granted more than 200 interviews with major print and electronic news media, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and Science.  He exemplifies what public service, based on sound science, is all about: integrity, dedication, commitment, enthusiasm and an eagerness to investigate, serve and share. He continues to be the “go-to” expert on invasion biology, making a large impact locally, statewide, nationally and globally.



Professor Cheng (mechanical and aerospace engineering) has provided a great deal of service to community groups, nonprofit organizations and the general public as the developer and leader of the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education. C-STEM is a revolutionary program designed to transform computing and STEM education in both formal and informal K-14 programs. In collaboration with industry partners, and working closely with K-14 educators, he has developed innovative educational tools that integrate computing and robotics technologies for project-based, hands-on learning in STEM subject areas. Since 2011, the C-STEM Center and its partners also have organized annual, curriculum-based RoboPlay and Math Programming competitions in various regions on “C-STEM Day” to further engage students in project-based team activities and to showcase their accomplishments and creativity in not only math and engineering, but also in writing, art, music and film production. Students from traditionally underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups excel in the C-STEM program. These students may now also use C-STEM courses as part of the UC-approved Educational Preparation Program. Professor Cheng works tirelessly for K-14 outreach and his work has profoundly changed the lives of many young men and women.



Professor Powell (chemical engineering and materials science) has built an excellent profile of public service with his expertise in energy resources. Recently appointed by Gov. Brown to be the science adviser to the secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, Professor Powell has worked to facilitate implementation of Senate Bill 4 to regulate oil and gas well stimulation in California — an area of great public concern. For the necessary studies, he has engaged the California Council on Science and Technology and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to ensure that the highest standards for scientific work will be met. He has also been appointed as the chair of the Science and Technology Committee of the Board of Governors that oversees the corporations that run the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories, where he is responsible for informing the assessment of the health of science and technology at the labs. Professor Powell has in addition served as program director at the National Science Foundation, and served as panel manager for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nanoscience and Engineering in Food and Agriculture Program. Robert Powell’s public service activities have come to reflect those of a faculty member whose academic background is informing critical decisions facing California and the country. 



An awards program will comprise the Faculty Research Lecture and a joint reception for all Academic Senate and Academic Federation award recipients. The event is scheduled from 5:15 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, in the multipurpose room at the Student Community Center. RSVPs are requested.

The program:

  • Awards presentation — 5:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Reception — 6:15-6:55 p.m.
  • Faculty Research Lecture — "In Search of Medieval Music in Africa,” by Professor Anna Maria Busse Berger, Department of Music, 6:55-7:45 p.m.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,