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Evjue Chair, Hilldale professors named

April 25, 2024 By Chris Barncard

Six members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty have received the Evjue Distinguished Chair and Hilldale Professorships.

The Evjue Distinguished Chair

Photo of Michael Wagner sitting at a table and smiling as he speaks with others.

Michael Wagner Photo: Jeff Miller

Michael Wagner, professor of journalism and mass communication, is the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea.

The chair was created with an endowment from the William T. Evjue Foundation to recognize outstanding contributions to outreach and service and to honor the late William T. Evjue, founder, editor and publisher of The Capital Times. The chair is designed to enhance and further the legacy of the nearly 120-year-old Wisconsin Idea, which holds that the boundaries of the university are boundaries of the state and beyond.

Conferred by the Office of the Provost, the chair represents substantial contributions to the outreach mission of the university and the ability to transfer knowledge and research.

Wagner, director of the Center for Communication and Civic Renewal, focuses his scholarship how individuals’ experiences with news, political messages and other information sources are associated with what they believe to do true, what they want from their government in terms of public policies, and how they participate civically and politically.

Now a five-year appointment with one potential renewal, the Evjue Chair was first held by emeritus chemistry professor Bassam Shakashiri from 2002 to 2023. The appointment includes an annual $75,000 award.

The Hilldale Professorships

Hilldale Professorships are given to faculty members who excel in scholarly activity, have records of outstanding research or creative work, and show promise of continued productivity. Recipients receive a salary increase in addition to funding that may be used for research support and teaching release. Appointments are for five years with the possibility of renewal until the individual leaves the university or retires.

New recipients will be:

Russ Castronovo, English

Portrait photo of Russ Castronovo

Russ Castronovo

Castronovo’s published work on American literature pays special attention to critical flashpoints wrapped up with democracy, propaganda, citizenship, aesthetics, and surveillance.

David Kaplan, Educational Psychology

Portrait photo of David Kaplan

David Kaplan

Kaplan’s research focuses on the development of Bayesian statistical methods for education research and is directed toward large-scale cross-sectional and longitudinal survey designs.

Mark Kenoyer, Anthropology

Portrait photo of Mark Kenoyer

Mark Kenoyer

Kenoyer’s studies the archaeology of early urbanism and state-level society, ancient technology, ornaments, textiles, pottery, lithics and metallurgy.

Stephen Wright, Computer Science

Headshot photo of Stephen Wright

Stephen Wright

Wright designs and analyses algorithms for continuous optimization and studies optimization and machine learning in many areas.

Ellen Zweibel, Astronomy and Physics

Portrait photo of Ellen Zweibel

Ellen Zweibel

Zweibel’s work in theoretical astrophysicist specializes in plasma astrophysics and focuses on evolution of astrophysical magnetic fields, interstellar astrophysics, star formation, cosmic rays and stellar physics.