Top faculty advisers, TAs honored at dinner

By: Linda B. Glaser,  Cornell Chronicle
Wed, 06/01/2016

College of Arts and Sciences faculty member Sarah Murray received the Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship for Humanists and Social Scientists, and Linda Nicholson received the Robert A. and Donna B. Paul Academic Advising Award in the College of Arts and Sciences at a May 28 trustee-faculty dinner which recognized universitywide teaching and advising and newly tenured faculty.

“We are proud to honor these outstanding faculty and the critical contributions they have made to the college,” said Gretchen Ritter, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are grateful to the Appels and the Pauls for their generous support of teaching and advising, both so vital to our students.”

Murray, assistant professor of linguistics, joined the Cornell faculty in 2010. Her primary interests are the semantics and pragmatics of natural language, as well as fieldwork and semantic fieldwork methodology. She works with the Cheyenne in Southeastern Montana during the summers. Her book, “The Semantics of Evidentials,” is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Murray is described by her colleagues as an outstanding scholar; her students call her a dynamic, inspiring and enthusiastic teacher. The new course she developed in 2015, Native American Languages, generated such interest that rather than being offered in alternate years as planned it was offered again this year; the students unanimously rated her the top score of 5 in their evaluations.

Nicholson, professor of biochemistry and biophysics in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, joined the Cornell faculty in 1994. Her research focus is the investigation of relationships between protein dynamics and function, including function in the context of the cell and/or organism, with emphasis on proteins with an established role in diseases that include Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Noted for her excellence as an adviser, in 2013 Nicholson was chosen as faculty adviser for a Posse cohort of 10 students from inner-city Chicago, while she continued to advise nine other undergraduate biology students. Nicholson’s warm and generous support has been critical to their success. As one Posse student wrote, she “has helped each Posse member during their darkest moments and has guided our development not only as students but as individuals to our communities and society.” 

The Paul academic advising fellowship was established in 1992 to honor undergraduate advisers who make a difference in the lives of their students. Recipients receive a semester’s leave with full salary and fringe benefits.

The Appel fellowships have recognized faculty excellence since 1995 and give recipients a semester’s sabbatical leave at full salary to write, develop new courses, conduct research or otherwise enrich their teaching and scholarship.

Other College of Arts and Sciences honorees include Eric Tagliacozzo, associate professor of history; Floyd Davis, professor of chemistry; and Wee Hao Ng, physics teaching assistant, recipients of the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award. Graduate students William Pennington, government; Andrew Zemke, mathematics; Kristie Schlauraff, English; and Ben Tam, English, received the Deanne Gebell Gitner ’66 and Family Annual Prize for Teaching Assistants.

Linda B. Glaser is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

This article was originally published in the Cornell Chronicle.