faculty members are recipients of prestigious fellowships
and grants in ever-increasing numbers. From July 1, 2003,
to June 30, 2004, Smith faculty received more than $3
million in awards. Just this past fall, the National
Science Foundation awarded large grants to two Smith
science professors to fund ongoing research.
Of those, a five-year $1.2 million collaborative NSF grant will give Laura
A. Katz, associate professor of biological sciences, support for her project
researching the evolutionary history of the microbial cells. Most of her research
will take place in her laboratory in Burton Hall and will involve numerous
In addition, Stylianos P. Scordilis, professor of biological sciences and of
biochemistry, won a $471,813 NSF grant to study proteomics instrumentation.
Like Katz, he will lead a Smith research team, which will include numerous
Another recent science grant went to Borjana Mikic, associate professor of
engineering: a five-year $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of
Health to study "GDF modulation of tendon maintenance and repair."
But science isn't the only field bringing distinction to Smith professors.
In the humanities, Scott Bradbury, professor of classical languages and literatures,
won a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to support a current
book project, "The Social World of Libanius."
According to Alan Bloomgarden, director of faculty grants and government relations,
in the past six years Smith humanities and social science professors have received
numerous distinguished NEH fellowships to support scholarly projects. They
include a book on 17th-century British women writers by Sharon Seelig, professor
of English language and literature, and an anthology of essays in the philosophy
of chemistry, co-edited by Nalini Bhushan, associate professor of philosophy.
While noting that the NSF and NEH may be sources of some of the largest grants,
Bloomgarden stresses that other awards -- such as the American Council of
Learned Societies and Guggenheim fellowships -- can be just as prestigious,
regardless of the size of the prize money.
Recently Katherine Schneider, lecturer in art, received a John Simon Guggenheim
Memorial Foundation fellowship to support "artistic research and creation:
painting." An ACLS award each went to Justin Cammy, assistant professor
of Jewish studies, and Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Sydenham Clark Parsons Professor
of History and professor of American studies. Cammy is using the fellowship
to support a book project titled "Yung-Vilne: Yiddish Literature, Jewish
Culture and National Identity in the Lost ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania'," and
Horowitz, her project titled "New York and the Birth of Popular Culture."
Overall, the numbers of individual faculty grants and fellowships conferred
to Smith faculty are up, says Bloomgarden, who gives individual assistance
to professors during the grant application process. Several trends are at work,
including a noteworthy increase in professors who are actively seeking grants. "As
Smith seeks to compete with its peers, the departments have ratcheted up the
expectations about scholarship," he notes. "It reflects a trend
of rising expectations in higher education as well."
"It's a measure of institutional prestige," he adds, "that
Smith is achieving such a high level of recognition from circles of peer review." -- JME