Roediger, Wallace receive Arts & Sciences faculty awards

The introduction of new faculty, the presentation of two faculty awards and the start of a new academic year were celebrated during the Arts & Sciences’ annual faculty reception, which was held Sept. 8 in Holmes Lounge.

Gary S. Wihl, PhD, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, introduced the new faculty (see bios on Arts & Sciences’ new faculty in 2010) and presented the faculty awards.

Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger III, PhD, an internationally recognized scholar of human memory and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, received the Arts & Sciences Distinguished Leadership Award.

William E. Wallace, PhD, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Michelangelo and the Barbara Murphy Bryant Distinguished Professor of Art History, received the David Hadas Teaching Award.

The awards, both presented for the first time last year, recognize tenured faculty.

The leadership award recognizes faculty who dedicate their time, energy and expertise to the advancement of Arts & Sciences and the university, above and beyond a commitment to research and teaching.

Roediger joined WUSTL in 1996 as chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences, a position he held for two terms until 2004, when he was named dean of academic planning in Arts & Sciences. He stepped down from that position this past summer.

In a nomination letter by psychology department colleagues, Roediger’s tenure as chair was referred to as “wildly successful. It brought the department to national prominence, and the strong consensus of the department is that Roddy was the driving force that made it happen.”

“As chair and since, he has worked tirelessly to mentor junior faculty and to help them succeed in their own work,” the nominating group wrote. “He continues to serve as a sought-after mentor, not only for junior but also for senior faculty in our department.”

The group also noted that Roediger “regularly and eagerly volunteers to write nomination letters,” much like the one written for him, to promote the careers of his colleagues.

Roediger has served on numerous university committees, including the Faculty Advisory Council for the Public Health Institute (2008-present); Academic Planning Committee for Arts & Sciences (1999-2010); Graduate Task Force, which he chaired from 2004-2006; the Steering Committee for the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function (1997-2004), and a range of search committees.

His colleagues noted that despite a busy schedule, he regularly volunteers for service, which takes many forms beyond serving on a task force or a committee.

Whether teaching an introductory psychology course, greeting parents of incoming freshmen or giving lectures in the community, he voluntarily “does so without complaint or shirking other responsibilities.”

An experimental cognitive psychologist whose research is concerned with human learning and memory, Roediger has published more than 200 articles, chapters and reviews and has written or edited 11 books. Three are textbooks that have been through a combined 20 editions.

Roediger has served as president or chief executive officer of the American Psychological Society, the Experimental Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, the Midwestern Psychological Association, the Psychonomic Society and the Society of Experimental Psychologists.

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has edited two major psychology journals and serves on the editorial board of 10 journals.

In 2008, the Society of Experimental Psychologists awarded Roediger its highest honor, the Howard Crosby Warren Medal, in recognition of “his creative experimental investigations of false memory and its underlying processes that have led to a new understanding of human memory.”

In 2008, Roediger received WUSTL’s Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award.

Hadas Teaching Award

The David Hadas Teaching Award recognizes an outstanding tenured faculty member in Arts & Sciences who demonstrates commitment and excellence in teaching first-year undergraduates.

Pamela W. Hadas, PhD, widow of David Hadas, a beloved Arts & Sciences professor known for his warm personality and Socratic teaching style, established the award in his memory.

David Hadas, PhD, was a renowned professor of both English and of religious studies for nearly 40 years until his death in 2004. His courses were legendary, especially his “Bible as Literature” class. Many students say he changed their lives. He continued teaching, even while battling cancer.

Pamela Hadas, who earned a bachelor of arts, master of arts and doctorate from Washington University, attended the faculty reception.

In accepting the award named for “one of the most successful and beloved teachers Washington University has ever had,” Wallace said that he had the great fortune to have lived in Ames Place in University City, along the route Hadas walked to and from the university.

Wallace said Hadas took him “under wing — encouraging me as a beginning scholar and teacher. Wise, kind and gentle, he asked countless questions and took genuine delight in others.”

A colleague in the art history and archaeology department in Arts & Sciences nominated Wallace for the award.

“I had a student lodger in my home, years ago, who took a course with Hadas, and she described him as the most energized, engaging, and provocative and even funny teacher she encountered at Wash U. Bill Wallace is that and more,” the colleague wrote in a nomination letter.

“And what is great is that he has been this consistently for his 27 years at Washington U. … Some teachers just burn out. Others just burn brighter. That is Bill Wallace, lecturer extraordinaire.”

Wallace joined WUSTL’s Department of Art History and Archaeology in 1983 and served as chair of the department from 1999 to 2007.

A renowned scholar of Renaissance art and architecture, Wallace is an internationally recognized authority on Michelangelo and his contemporaries.

As such, he was among a select group of scholars, curators and conservators from around the world invited in 1990 to confer with the Vatican about the restoration of Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel.

Wallace has published extensively on Renaissance art. In addition to more than 80 articles and essays, he is author and editor of six books on Michelangelo, including the award-winning Michelangelo: The Complete Sculpture, Painting and Architecture (1998) and Michelangelo at San Lorenzo: The Genius as Entrepreneur (1994).

His most recent book is Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and his Times, a biography published in December 2009.

He teaches courses in the early Italian Renaissance, High Renaissance art as well as Italian Renaissance architecture.

He is known for bringing his subjects to life, using his sense of humor and attention to detail to do so. He also has been known to enliven his lectures with the occasional handstand.

This is not the first time he has been recognized for his teaching.

In 1995, he received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

And at WUSTL’s 2003 Founders Day celebration, Wallace received a Distinguished Faculty Award, given for outstanding commitment and dedication to the intellectual and personal development of students.