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Uffelman and Carey Awarded Outstanding Faculty Awards

Erich Uffelman
Erich Uffelman

Mary Carey

Mark Carey

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Two Washington and Lee University professors -Mark Carey and Erich Uffelman - today were named recipients of the 2009 Outstanding Faculty Award, administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Uffelman, professor of chemistry, and Carey, assistant professor of history, are among 12 outstanding faculty members from Virginia's public and private colleges and universities to receive the award this year.

Carey is the recipient of the "Rising Star" award.

The SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards are the commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service. The winners will be recognized on Feb. 20 during a special ceremony at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

"The annual SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Awards provide a wonderful way to recognize outstanding educators in the Commonwealth. I am delighted that W&L has two faculty members among the 2009 awardees," said June Aprille, Washington and Lee's provost. "Both have novel, exciting research programs that involve undergraduates and that contribute to their excellent teaching in the classroom. Professors Carey and Uffelman are terrific examples of the best that teacher-scholars can be in an undergraduate liberal arts college."

A member of the Washington and Lee faculty since 2006, Carey is an environmental historian whose current research merges the history of science and technology with environmental history in Latin America to understand historical intersections science, engineering, technology, and society in the context of global climate change and persistent environmental hazards. He teaches courses in Latin American history and environmental history and served as co-leader of W&L's 2008 Spring Institute to Barbados. Carey's courses on the history of natural disasters and environmental history attract students from many disciplines and expose them to new approaches to history. He also teaches several Latin American history courses and helps place students in internships, study abroad, and other international experiences. He served as co-leader of W&L's 2008 Spring Institute to Barbados.

In 2008 Carey was awarded a recent National Science Foundation grant to support his research project, "Glacier Science and Technology in the Central Andes: The Quest to Control Natural Disasters and Climate Change." He is the recipient of the Leopold-Hidy Prize for 2007, awarded by the Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed Environmental History to the author of the best article published in the journals during that year. His winning article was titled "The History of Ice: How Glaciers Became an Endangered Species." Currently, he is working on a book manuscript, "The Ice Is History: Climate, Glacier Disasters, and Society in the Andes," on the social history of climate change and glacier retreat in the Peruvian Andes and how glaciers have affected all levels of Peruvian society.

Carey received his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York College at Potsdam and his master's from the University of Montana. He earned the Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of California, Davis, , and was a S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in the Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Uffelman joined the Washington and Lee faculty in 1993 as assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1999 and full professor in 2008. He has won the Washington and Lee Class of '65 Excellence in Teaching Award on four occasions. Uffelman currently teaches courses in general chemistry and inorganic chemistry and has focused his research in the area of "Green Chemistry."

Uffelman and 46 W&L undergraduate student researchers whom he has supervised during his W&L tenure have been engaged in making molecules that catalyze oxidation reactions that are involved in decomposing environmentally harmful compounds. Each catalyst consists of an iron ion contained within a large organic ring molecule called a macrocyclic polyamide. Through the power of organic synthesis, the macrocycle controls the reactivity properties of the iron ion. Through this work, Uffelman's students have gained considerable experience with sophisticated organic and inorganic synthetic methodologies and important spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

He has authored or coauthored 25 publications on topics ranging from high-valent transition metal chemistry to Green Chemistry and renewable resources. An invited speaker at numerous meetings and institutions, Dr. Uffelman has received funding from the NSF, the Research Corporation, the American Chemical Society-PRF, Hewlett Packard/Agilent, the Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust, the Associated Colleges of the South, W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In addition Uffelman's students have had the opportunity to use other important instrumentation through collaborations at Virginia Tech and Carnegie Mellon. Uffelman's research group has also collaborated with The Scripps Research Institute and Ursinus College.

Quite apart from his work in "Green Chemistry," Uffelman has researched the methods and examples of investigations performed by art conservators and conservation scientists on Dutch Golden Age paintings. He teaches a class on science in art and also offers a seminar on 17th century Dutch painting, which includes field work in The Netherlands. He has contributed to the last four NSF CWCS Chemistry in Art Workshops, hosting the 2008 workshop.

This year marks the 23nd anniversary of the awards program, which is administered by SCHEV and funded by a grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion. SCHEV is the Commonwealth's 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 and Virginia colleges and universities.