Friday, April 9, 2004
OU names two new distinguished professors
By Jeff Samoray, OU Web Writer
Oakland University has officially conferred distinguished professor status on two of its most prominent long-time faculty members for their inspired teaching, scholarly achievement and tireless devotion to their students and the university. Professor of Physics Michael Chopp and Professor of English Robert Eberwein join just 11 other Oakland faculty members who have been honored with this prestigious status. The OU Board of Trustees made the appointments at its April 7 formal meeting.
Chopp is one of the world’s most prominent specialists in medical physics and neuroscience. Since joining OU’s Physics Department in 1976, he has produced more than 300 research publications that have been cited thousands of times in professional literature. His work has been supported by grant funding amounting to more than $20 million and has resulted in significant contributions in the areas of magnetic resonance imaging, the physics of stroke, neurological disease and injury, treatment of brain tumor, and brain repair and remodeling.
Chopp pursues his research in specially equipped labs in the Neurology Department of Henry Ford Hospital, making possible a partnership that opens important opportunities for Oakland University doctoral students in medical physics. He has directed 10 doctoral dissertations in medical physics, with more in progress.
“Dr. Chopp is a great mentor. He provides students with a balance of guidance and freedom that really pushes them to become critical thinking, independent researchers,” said Mark Katakowski, a doctoral student in medical physics who has been working alongside Chopp in the Neurology Department of Henry Ford Hospital since 2001. “He is a world leader in stroke research, and it is a great opportunity to work with him. Honestly, he is the reason I decided to stay at OU for my graduate work. Besides that, he is a really funny and personable guy. I really look forward to every day here.”
The basic and applied research conducted by Chopp and his students includes a number of important “firsts.” He pioneered the concept of brain remodeling through the development of therapies to enhance and restore neurological function after injury, stroke or disease. This work received major recognition throughout the world and was recognized by the American Heart Association as one of the top 10 medical advances of 2001.
Other “firsts” include developing methods for making cell therapy visible using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging; identifying molecular triggers and associated pharmacological agents to induce brain plasticity; discovering that delayed treatment of neural injury by trophic factors provides therapeutic benefit; developing therapies to enhance the function of thrombolytic agents to open clots after stroke; providing fundamental biophysical insight into why thrombolytic therapy has a three-hour therapeutic window; developing many aspects of magnetic resonance technology now commonly in use worldwide; identifying and measuring the role of nitric oxide in brain injury; demonstrating novel mechanisms of cell death, including suicide processes after stroke and brain injury; and discovering the profound effects of brain temperature on stroke and neural injury, spawning a worldwide research effort.
More than 160 of Chopp’s publications include Oakland University medical physics students as co-authors, attesting to his energetic devotion to teaching and nurturing students’ development in research at the graduate level.
“This outstanding productivity in both groundbreaking research and in mentoring of medical physics Ph.D. students is primarily due to Michael’s phenomenal talents and energy,” said Andrei Slavin, professor of physics and department chair. “The significance of his work also has been richly recognized by the National Institutes of Health. He has attracted some 20-million NIH dollars, which also has some impact on the Michigan economy. What is even more important, much of his research has the potential to improve the health and well-being of any one of us.”
Now in his 35th year at Oakland University, Eberwein has established a national reputation in film studies; his students have attested to his excellence as a teacher; his colleagues have benefited from his dedicated mentoring, effective leadership and extensive service; and he has profoundly influenced the development of OU’s academic environment and programs during its critical formative years.
Through his four books about film and film criticism, numerous scholarly articles and reviews, and constant participation in conferences of film scholars, he has become nationally recognized for his contributions to cinema studies. He is now writing his fifth book. Topics he has explored include the range of critical approaches to film, the psychoanalytical basis of the seductiveness of film, the nature and use of sex education films in schools, and the war film. His outstanding contributions to this field for more than 25 years have occurred in tandem with its growth and development as an academic discipline. Many of his students in cinema studies have gone on to receive advanced degrees and become scholars and professors of film.
“Bob is an inspiration,” said Scott Higgins, CAS ’90 and assistant professor of film studies at Wesleyan University. “In his classes, he showed us that intellectual struggle can be gratifying. Moreover, he has built a first-rate program. OU’s concentration in film studies is truly a gem. It balances history, theory and criticism and integrates film into a broader critical-studies context. One would be hard pressed to find a more rigorous undergraduate program in film studies at a university in Oakland's class.
“Bob has cultivated a terrific environment for learning. Only now, when I face the daunting prospect of balancing advising, committee work, teaching and scholarship, can I truly appreciate the heroic effort and energy that Bob brought to his work with students.”
Eberwein has received the university’s Teaching Excellence Award and enjoys a reputation for high standards and tireless mentoring. He demands intellectual engagement, library research and extensive writing in his courses, and students consistently rise to these challenges and flock to his classes. He helped develop the Concentration in Film Aesthetics and History Committee and serves as the adviser for the secondary teaching minor in English. Additionally, Eberwein and Brian Murphy, professor of English, helped to obtain more than 500 books on film, directors, actors, individual films, and the history and development of film companies from the late film enthusiast and book collector Robert Malcomson. The books are cataloged and available to OU students at Kresge Library.
As chair of the English Department for nine years, Eberwein hired and nurtured through tenure and promotion about one-third of its current membership. His department colleagues hold him in the highest esteem for the rigorous standards and humanistic values he has championed, for his long hours and dedicated mentoring, and for the collegial spirit he has inspired in practice and as a role model.
“Bob has remained consistently productive as a scholar during his long career, and this is amazing given his heavy teaching load and administrative work,” said Associate Professor of English and Department Chair Bruce Mann. “While we have become a larger, more diverse department, we still pay homage daily to Bob because of the ways he shaped and trained our minds. He has focused his life and career on Oakland University and its students and has given everything for our betterment here.”
The Board of Trustees created the faculty rank of distinguished professor in 1988. The criteria is based on preeminence in scholarship, teaching and public or professional service.
Chopp, Eberwein and many other OU faculty will be honored at the ninth annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon on Thursday, April 15, at 11:30 a.m. in the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms. The luncheon, which honors faculty whose teaching and research excellence, scholarly productivity, creative achievements and community service have contributed to the university's success, is part of OU’s Founders’ Day activities.