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Awards Recognize Faculty Achievements in Research, Teaching and Service

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Tamara Chapman

Senior Managing Editor

Senior Managing Editor"

News  • Announcement  •

At the University of Denver, high-impact research, inspired teaching, indefatigable service and thought-provoking creative work are always on the faculty’s “to do” list. To recognize the role that faculty contributions play in the University’s life, the institution bestows a mix of awards each year. For 2019, the awards go to six faculty members who were selected based on their impressive work and the recommendations of colleagues and students.

The winners will be honored later this year at DU’s annual Faculty and Staff Awards Luncheon.


Distinguished University Professor Award

Recognized around the world for her groundbreaking scholarship on global financial governance, Ilene Grabel has been named the 2019 Distinguished University Professor.

Ilene Grabel

A professor of international finance at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Grabel also is a member of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Expert Group on Financing for Development. What’s more, her recent book, “When Things Don’t Fall Apart” (MIT Press, 2018), won two of the most prestigious prizes in her discipline: the 2018 British International Studies Association International Political Economy Book Prize and the 2019 International Studies Association International Political Economy Best Book Award.

In a letter nominating her for the Distinguished University Professor Award, members of the Korbel Research Committee noted that her work has “high visibility, broad reach and strong impact.”

Just as important, her scholarship challenges conventional wisdom. “Grabel’s book,” the committee explained, “is winning awards and garnering international attention because a simple but controversial idea lies at its core: that the emerging incoherence in global financial governance and development finance, most pronounced since the U.S. and global financial crises of 2008 and after, is productive rather than debilitating for the world order.”

The Distinguished University Professor Award is the highest honor the University bestows on its faculty members. Selection is based on scholarly productivity, national and international distinction in a field of research and scholarship, and work that makes a positive impact on society.


University Lecturer

Malcolm Lynn Baker of the Lamont School of Music has been named the University Lecturer for the 2019–20 academic year. One of the University’s most distinguished honors, this designation was first conferred in 1955. It is based solely on scholarly work and creative contributions.

Malcolm Lynn Baker

Among members of the Lamont community, Baker is known for both his creative and scholarly work. A faculty member since 1993, he has spent his time at DU championing jazz studies and performance. In 2005 he won the Downbeat magazine award for Outstanding Achievement in Jazz Studies in the collegiate category. And in “The Shape Method for Jazz Improvisation,” a textbook for music students, he offers emerging artists insight into how to create their individual jazz voice.

In a letter testifying to his many contributions to teaching and to music performance and scholarship, longtime colleague Donna Wickham credited Baker with a robust commitment to the progress and artistry of his students and to advances in teaching music. “Lynn is constantly searching for new ways to clarify advanced jazz techniques for students,” she wrote, noting that his shape method “departs from the standard scale-based approach to improvisation to a much more intuitive approach that focuses on phrase and melodic shape.”

Baker, an award-winning composer and accomplished saxophonist, has performed extensively with his own Lynn Baker Quartet, the free-improvisation trio Rhythmic Void and Gemstone Debris, a beats-electronic-free-improvisation trio.


Distinguished Scholar Award

At the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), associate professor Jennifer Bellamy — recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award — is known for work that strengthens the connection between research and practice, all while increasing the visibility of the science of social work.

Jennifer Bellamy

A proponent of evidence-based practice and the author of numerous books, articles, book chapters and manuals, Bellamy focuses her research on the engagement of fathers in child and family services.  In addition, she is committed to conducting funded research in real-world settings in partnership with social service agencies.  

Bellamy’s research and her approach to practice guide her time in the classroom, where her innovative approach is credited with enhancing student learning. Just as important, her commitment to scholarship is admired by her colleagues. In a letter nominating her for the Distinguished Scholar Award — which recognizes unusually significant and meritorious achievement in professional scholarship as evidenced by publications and their enhancing effect on classroom teaching — GSSW Dean Amanda Moore McBride identified Bellamy as “a valued colleague, thought partner, mentor and social justice advocate.”

In addition, Moore wrote, “the approach that Dr. Bellamy takes engages with the struggles of how to ask questions, appraise multiple ways of knowing, and translate evidence to inform practices that keep at the forefront scientific rigor while also holding central issues of social justice, context and critical multiculturalism.”


Distinguished Teaching Award

The 2019 award for distinguished teaching goes to Debra Austin, professor of practice at the Sturm College of Law, where her contributions are credited with elevating DU’s Lawyering Process Program into the U.S. News Top 10 Legal Writing Programs. 

Debra Austin

Nominating letters written by Austin’s former students and teaching assistants portray a professor focused on empowering student success and well-being within the rigorous and intense world of legal education. The letters cite her teaching style, her mastery of legal research and writing, her concern for students’ well-being and her welcoming personality as attributes that make her an exceptional mentor and educator. In addition, students commend Austin for her “growth mindset,” which fosters an environment conducive to achievement by encouraging students to pay more attention to their intellectual and skill development and less to grades and academic standing.

As one former student noted, “Professor Austin taught me what it means to be a professional in the legal community and that although it may be hard to believe as a law student, grades are not determinative of our success. She taught me and continues to show me the importance of treating my colleagues with dignity and respect in a hypercompetitive environment.”   


Faculty Service Award

In recognition of her service to the University, the community and her profession — not to mention her tireless work to advance DU’s commitment to inclusive excellence — Lisa Martinez, an associate professor of sociology and criminology, has been designated the recipient of DU’s Faculty Service Award.

Lisa Martinez

Martinez, who joined the DU faculty in 2005, served her department as chair from 2014–17. She also chaired its recruitment committee and served on its tenure and promotion committee. Among her many contributions to her field, she has served as an associate editor of Law and Policy, a member of the editorial board for Critical Sociology and a grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation.

Martinez also serves as an interim faculty associate for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a position that calls on her to help various departments and divisions at DU enhance their inclusive excellence practices. Thanks to her track record of advancing inclusivity, she also was selected to lead, via the John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts, the University’s efforts to bring together research on immigration from across the disciplines and to engage students and community organizations in this work.

Perhaps most important, Martinez is celebrated for her service to students. She has worked as faculty advisor to the Latino Student Alliance and has mentored first-generation students in the Pioneer Pathways Program. A letter from her colleagues also noted the countless hours she spends with her students: “Exceedingly generous with her time, she listens carefully, offers sage advice, and provides unflagging encouragement; she is a sounding board, counselor, and advocate.”


Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award

For nearly a decade, Josiah Hatch has been an adjunct faculty member at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, primarily working with students pursuing degrees related to global finance, trade and economic integration.

Josiah Hatch

An international business lawyer specializing in dispute resolution, Hatch brings his professional experience in law and with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Federal Energy Administration to bear on course topics. Just as important, he is known for taking a personal interest in his students, not only directing their work in his classes but also offering invaluable career advice.  

For these — and many other reasons — Hatch will receive the University’s Ruth Murray Underhill Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching by an adjunct faculty member.

In a letter nominating him for the award, a colleague called Hatch “irreplaceable,” noting that, “He is a consummate professional, a deeply engaging communicator and teacher and an extremely generous mentor, freely giving his time to support many students … .”

Hatch’s students, meanwhile, note that their experiences in his courses — among them, International Business Transactions, Multinational Corporations, Principles of International Law, and Globalization and International Economic Crime —enhance their intellectual development and prepare them for rewarding and productive careers.

During his time at Korbel, Hatch has done more than teach. He also has served as a member of the school’s Social Science Foundation.