Arts & Sciences Dean Meredith Woo Receives Education Leadership Award

January 13, 2010 — Meredith Jung-En Woo, Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, recently received the Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific Fund.

The Tien Leadership Awards annually honor two Asian-Americans with significant academic accomplishments and the potential to advance to the highest leadership levels in higher education. This year's other recipient is S. Shankar Sastry, dean of the College of Engineering and director of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley. Sastry and Woo each will receive an unrestricted grant of $10,000.

"The award committee was very impressed by her professional accomplishments," said Gail Kong, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund. "She served on the Presidential Commission on U.S. Pacific Trade and Investment Policy, was a consultant for the World Bank, the United States Trade Representative, the Asian Development Bank Institute, the Asia Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, all while she was fully committed to scholarly and university work. We know that Dean Woo has a very bright future."

Woo, dean of Arts & Sciences since June 2008, joined U.Va. at a time when University leaders were laying out ambitious plans to raise the international profile of the institution, which consistently ranks as one of the nation's best public universities.

"I am honored to have been recognized by the Asian Pacific Fund," Woo said. "The Tien Award is a great symbol of the ways Asian-Americans are advancing higher education, and a testament to our international accomplishments and ambitions here at the University of Virginia."

Woo came to U.Va. from the University of Michigan, where she served most recently as professor of political science and associate dean for the social sciences in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Before her eight years at Michigan, she taught for 12 years at Northwestern University, where she helped rebuild the department of political science and co-founded the Center for International and Comparative Studies.

An expert on international political economy and East Asian politics, Woo has written and edited seven books, and was the executive producer of an award-winning documentary film about Stalin's ethnic cleansing of Soviet-Koreans during the Great Terror.

A native of Seoul who was educated in Seoul and Tokyo through high school, she came to the United States to study at Bowdoin College in Maine. She completed her master's and doctoral degrees in international affairs, Latin American studies and political science at Columbia University.

About the Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award

The Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award recognizes the accomplishments of rising Asian-American leaders in higher education to support their professional development and advancement. The recently endowed awards program honors the legacy of Chang-Lin Tien, the first Asian-American to head a major American research university. Chang-Lin Tien served as chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley from 1990 to 1997, and was a founding member of the Asian Pacific Fund's Board of Directors. The awards program was created by the Asian Pacific Fund in 2006 and is supported by the many individuals impressed by Tien's accomplishments as an acclaimed teacher, scientist and administrator.

Past recipients of the Tien Leadership Awards include Vivian S. Lee, vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at New York University Langone Medical Center; Subra Suresh, dean of the School of Engineering and Ford Professor of Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Norman Tien, dean and Nord Professor of Engineering, Case School of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University; Frank H. Wu, former dean and professor of law, Wayne State University Law School; Sung-Mo "Steve" Kang, former dean of the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and Belle W. Y. Wei, dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State University.