U.Va.'s Beatley, Ryan Named Winners of State's 25th Annual Outstanding Faculty Awards

January 26, 2011 — Two University of Virginia professors – Timothy Beatley of the School of Architecture and James Ryan of the School of Law – are among a dozen faculty members from Virginia's public and private colleges and universities selected as recipients of the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Awards, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Dominion Resources announced Wednesday.

Beatley is Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, where he has taught for the last 24 years.

Much of his work focuses on the subject of sustainable communities and creative strategies by which cities and towns can fundamentally reduce their ecological footprints, while at the same time becoming more livable and equitable places. Beatley believes that sustainable and resilient cities represent our best hope for addressing today's environmental challenges.

Beatley is the author or co-author of more than 15 books, including "Green Urbanism: Learning from European Cities" and "Native to Nowhere: Sustaining Home and Community in a Global Age." He recently co-authored two new books with Australian planner Peter Newman: "Resilient Cities" and "Green Urbanism Down Under: Learning From Sustainable Australian Communities."

His most recent book is "Biophilic Cities: Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning," which argues that cities can and must be designed to permit daily contact with the natural world. It identifies a variety of means for doing this, from green walls and rooftops to urban forests and sidewalk gardens.

Beatley recently collaborated on a documentary film about green cities and urban nature, "The Nature of Cities," which has been shown on PBS stations all over the U.S. He also writes a regular column for Planning Magazine, called "Ever Green," about environmental and sustainability matters. His research has been funded by a variety of agencies and organizations, including the National Science Foundation, Virginia Sea Grant, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others.

Beatley holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning and an M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master's in urban planning from the University of Oregon, and a bachelor's in city planning from U.Va.

Ryan, the William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law, has taught at U.Va. since 1998. He teaches a variety of courses, including constitutional law, law and education and land use law. He is also an instructor in the Supreme Court litigation clinic and argued his first case before the Supreme Court last fall.

Ryan served for five years as academic associate dean. In 2008, he helped create and now directs the Law School's program in law and public service.

His scholarship focuses on law and educational opportunity. He has authored articles on school finance, school desegregation, school choice, a right to preschool and the No Child Left Behind Act, which have appeared in the leading law journals in the country. He has also written commentary for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post, Slate, Education Week, Phi Delta Kappan and The New Republic.

In 2010, Ryan published "Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America" with Oxford University Press. The book uses two schools in the Richmond area – one in the city of Richmond and the other in Henrico County – to explain how law and politics have shaped educational opportunity over the last half century.

In 2004, Ryan was awarded the McFarland Prize for Outstanding Scholarship, a biennial award given to a member of the U.Va. law faculty. That same year, he also received the Black Law Students Association Outstanding Service Award. In 2008, he received the Education Law Association's Award for Distinguished Scholarship, and in 2010, he received an All-University Teaching Award.

Ryan received his B.A from Yale University in 1988 and his J.D. from U.Va. in 1992. Following graduation, he served as a clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Ryan has been a visiting professor at Yale and Harvard universities and was the inaugural Cameron Fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

This year marks the silver anniversary of the SCHEV awards program, which honors faculty members for excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration and public service. Each of recipient will receive an engraved award and a $5,000 check underwritten by the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, which has supported the awards program since 2005.

"Dominion is proud to once again sponsor the Outstanding Faculty Awards program, which has honored Virginia's most talented educators and researchers for 25 years," said Virginia M. Board, president of the Dominion Foundation. "These individuals strengthen their respective communities and the entire commonwealth through their commitment to teaching and service. They serve as an inspiration to us all, both in and out of the classroom."

The other 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award recipients are:

•     Melanie Almeder, associate professor of creative writing and literature, Roanoke College

•     Rebecca Benefiel (designated as a "Rising Star" recipient), assistant professor of classics, Washington and Lee University

•      Mark Butler, professor of biological sciences, Old Dominion University

•      Gary Downey, professor of science and technology in society, Virginia Tech

•      Eden King ("Rising Star" recipient), assistant professor of psychology, George Mason University

•     Robert Kolvoord (Teaching with Technology recipient), professor of integrated science and technology, James Madison University

•     James O’Brien, professor of psychology, Tidewater Community College

•      Domnica Radulescu, professor of Romance languages, Washington and Lee University

•      Kenneth Rasmussen, professor of geology, Northern Virginia Community College

•      John Barkley Rosser Jr., professor of economics and business administration, James Madison University

The recipients will be recognized during a Feb. 17 ceremony at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond. This year's recipients were selected from a highly competitive pool of 106 applicants. Since the first awards ceremony in 1987, a total of 292 Virginia faculty members – including the 2011 recipients – have received this high honor.

SCHEV is the coordinating body for Virginia's system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues for Virginia colleges and universities. SCHEV has administered the Outstanding Faculty Awards since their inception in 1986. Photos and information about each of this year's recipients can be found on the Web.

Dominion http://www.dom.com is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion serves retail energy customers in 13 states.

Media Contact

Kathleen Kincheloe

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia