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Seven Hilldale and Bascom professors named

June 17, 2014 By David Tenenbaum

The new recipients of the Hilldale and Bascom professorships have been selected by the Named Professorship Advisory Committee.

Four Hilldale Professorships were given to faculty who excel in scholarly activity, have records of outstanding research or creative work, and show promise of continued productivity. The five-year appointments may be renewed until the individual leaves the university or retires. New Hilldale appointees will receive $15,000 per year for research support.

The new Hilldale professors are:

Photo: Nicholas Abbott


Nicholas Abbott, professor of chemical and biological engineering, who performs experimental studies of molecular assemblies and soft materials.   The scope of his work ranges from making measurements of the forces that lead to formation of assemblies of molecules in structured solvents, to investigations of the application of soft materials in chemical and biological sensors, biomedical devices and separation processes.

Photo: Carol Ryff


Carol Ryff, professor of psychology, who studies psychological well-being — things like whether people feel that their lives have purpose and meaning, and whether they are making the most of their talents and potential — and its effects on promoting good physical health. She also directs a major national study of health and well-being, known as MIDUS (Midlife in the U.S.), which has been running for two decades and involves more than 10,000 adults from their mid 20s to their mid 90s.  

Photo: Michael Fiore


Michael Fiore, a clinically active professor of medicine who founded and has served as director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention since 1992. Under his direction, the center has published more than 300 research articles, generated more than $100 million in grant funding, and helped more than 200,000 smokers to quit.

Photo: Susan Stanford Friedman


Susan Stanford Friedman, professor of English and women’s studies, who directs the Institute for Research in the Humanities. She publishes widely on modernism, narrative, feminism, migration/diaspora, world literature and psychoanalysis. Her publications include Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter. She is at work on a book on religion, post/secularism, and Muslim women’s diasporic writing.

Named Bascom Professorships honor distinguished scholar and former UW President John Bascom, and are funded by the University of Wisconsin Foundation. The professorships may be awarded in areas or to individuals designated by the donor. The support provides a reasonable income for teaching and scholarly activities, including books, computers, research assistants and travel. The professorship usually has a five-year term; most are renewable.

The new Bascom professors are:

Photo: Steven Nadler


Steven Nadler, professor of philosophy, who works on the history of early modern philosophy and medieval Jewish philosophy. He has written books on Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and other seventeenth-century thinkers. He is also affiliate faculty in art history. His book “Rembrandt’s Jews” was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

Photo: Janet Hyde


Janet Shibley Hyde, professor of psychology and gender and women’s studies, who specializes in research on the psychology of women, including the development of gender differences in depression in adolescence.  She is known for her gender similarities hypothesis, which asserts, based on massive evidence, that women and men are very similar on most psychological variables.  She is also the author of an undergraduate textbook, “Understanding Human Sexuality.”

Photo: John Gallagher


John S. Gallagher, professor of astronomy, who focuses on observational studies of the structure of galaxies and their evolution, especially in terms of stellar population characteristics. A second area of interest is the evolution of close binary stars and related phenomena.