UVA Honors Its Leading Researchers at Boar's Head Banquet

The winners of UVA’s inaugural Research Achievement Awards pose with President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill and Vice President for Research Melur Ramasubramanian. (Photo by Amanda Maglione)
The winners of UVA’s inaugural Research Achievement Awards pose with President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill and Vice President for Research Melur Ramasubramanian. (Photo by Amanda Maglione)

The University of Virginia’s top leaders gathered Wednesday evening at the Boar’s Head Resort to honor faculty members from across Grounds for their outstanding contributions to their fields of study and societal impact through their research and scholarly activities.

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan presented the 2019 Research Achievement Awards to 13 UVA faculty members at the dinner event.

“This is the first year of the Research Achievement Awards,” Vice President for Research Melur “Ram” Ramasubramanian said. “We believe that as a university, we are what we celebrate. We want to acknowledge the talented UVA faculty who are leaders in their fields and are impacting the world in positive ways.”

Provost Elizabeth “Liz” Magill said, “We’re delighted to have a chance to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of our faculty. From education policy to precision medicine to police-community relations, there are many different fields and individuals being honored by these awards.”

“I’m awed and immensely grateful for the contributions the award winners have made to their respective fields and to the University of Virginia,” Ryan said. “Our strategic plan focuses a good deal of attention on supporting research. ... Our ultimate goal is to make it possible for researchers at UVA to do their very best work.”

The awards covered excellence in research, collaboration, mentorship, public impact and innovation.

Research Excellence Awards

Daphna Bassok, associate professor of education and public policy, Curry School of Education and Human Development and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Daphna Bassok
(Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Bassok’s work is in early childhood education, and her focus has been to find a way for it to both meet high standards and make a difference in the lives of young children. To do this, she has partnered with policymakers and school districts in Virginia and Louisiana to study how early childhood education opportunities can happen at scale.

In the past four years, her work has accelerated. She has published 16 articles and received more than $6 million in grant funding. In 2017, Bassok was honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

“Daphna Bassok has raised the bar for the field and will motivate other scholars to do more insightful and rigorous work,” said Katherine Magnuson, director of UVA’s Institute for Research on Poverty.

Public Impact-Focused Research Award

Brian Williams
, associate professor, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Brian Williams
(Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Williams only arrived at Batten two years ago, but after the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 he was able to immediately show the value of his research and public service engagement to the University community.

Starting before he came to the University, he has spent two decades doing research in the field on police-community relations around racial profiling, community policing and the need for law enforcement officers to work with their community on issues of public safety. In all his work, he strives to make an impact on communities by building relationships and tackling problems wherever they crop up.

“Dr. Williams consistently uses his knowledge, experience and passion for the good of our city,” Mindy Goodall, executive director of the Charlottesville Police Foundation, said. “Charlottesville is fortunate to have gained him as a citizen and champion of police and community reconciliation.”

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