Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, July 16, 2010

Henry Russel Lecturer, awardees named for 2011

Richard Janko, one of the most influential living scholars of ancient Greek literature and culture, has been selected as the Henry Russel Lecturer for 2011 — one of the university’s highest honors for a senior member of its active faculty.

Janko joined U-M in 2002 as the Gerald F. Else Collegiate Professor of Classical Studies and served as chair of the Department of Classical Studies for five years. His selection as the Henry Russel Lecturer, approved July 15 by the Board of Regents, recognizes his scholarship and literary contributions exploring Greek language and literature.

The Henry Russel Lectureship, established in 1926, is awarded each year to an U-M professor in recognition of exceptional achievements in research, scholarship and/or creative endeavors, and an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring and service. Janko will present the Russel Lecture March 8, 2011.

Janko is the author of numerous books on a broad range of topics in Greek language and literature. He contributed a volume to the Cambridge “Iliad” commentary, which widely is considered as the best in a five-volume work done by four leading Homerists. His edition of Philodemus’ “On Poems” Book 1 won the Goodwin Award of Merit, the prestigious book prize of the American Philosophical Association.

Also, three faculty researchers will receive the Henry Russel Award, one of the highest honors the university bestows upon junior faculty.

Anthony Grbic, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering (CoE); David Harding, assistant professor of sociology, LSA; and Anna Michalak, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, CoE, have been selected by the Russel Awards Faculty Advisory Committee chaired by Janet Weiss, dean of the Horace Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

Grbic, who came to U-M in 2006, heads a research program at CoE focused on the development of novel metamaterials: manmade structures that exhibit tailored, and often counterintuitive, electromagnetic properties.

He also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in electromagnetics, radiowave propagation and electromagnetic metamaterials. He was the first to develop a practical implementation of a metamaterial superlens, and has had papers published in Physical Review Letters and Journal of Applied Physics.

Harding’s research focuses on general questions linking social contexts to the emergence and reproduction of inequality, focusing particularly on the sources of poverty and individual disadvantage that are rooted in the characteristics of communities and neighborhoods. He has completed a major ethnographic study of urban inequality and is co-author of a book about school violence.

Harding serves on a dozen doctoral committees and has more than 18 undergraduate students engaged in ongoing research projects. In 2007 he won the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award from the Summer Research Opportunity Program.

Michalak, who came to U-M in 2005, focuses her research on characterizing complexity and quantifying uncertainty in environmental systems in order to improve the understanding of those systems and the ability to forecast their variability. She has developed three new courses, at undergraduate and graduate levels, on statistical methods and uncertainty modeling.

She was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Educator Award by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Michalak co-directs the Carbon Cycle Science Working group that is developing the next U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, and serves on numerous committees at U-M.

Both the Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from Henry Russel of Detroit who received three degrees from U-M.