2023-24 Wilson H. Elkins Professorships Will Support Research Initiatives in African American Studies, Brain Disorders, Ethics, and Marine Ecosystems

Baltimore, MD (Oct. 2, 2023) – The 2023-24 University System of Maryland (USM) Wilson H. Elkins Professorships have been awarded to faculty members at four USM institutions—Bowie State University; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; Salisbury University; and the University of Maryland, College Park.

A separate Elkins Academic Transformation Professorship has been awarded to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The Elkins Professorships support professors and researchers who demonstrate exemplary ability to inspire students and whose professional work and scholarly endeavors make a positive impact at their institutions, across the USM, and beyond.

In support of the Elkins Professorships, the Wilson H. Elkins Endowment funds are intended to support compelling projects with a focus on research, scholarship, or community engagement that will allow the Elkins Professor to make an important contribution to the teaching, research, or public service mission of the institution and the entire USM.

Candidates for the Elkins Professorship must possess a solid record of achievement in their academic or professional disciplines; demonstrate a desire and ability to lead and inspire undergraduate and graduate students; show significant achievement beyond their traditional disciplines; and demonstrate ability and intent to pursue scholarly or professional endeavors beyond USM.

This year's award winners are listed below, by professor and home institution:
  • Dr. Karen Cook-Bell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Government at Bowie State University (BSU). Dr. Cook-Bell will continue her work from last year, when she established the W.E.B. DuBois Center for the Study of the Black Experience—integrated with BSU's Thurgood Marshall Library—to encourage and disseminate research in the fields of African, African American, and African diaspora studies. Dr. Cook Bell has received a $30,000 award.
  • Dr. Norbert Myslinski, Associate Professor in the Department of Neural and Pain Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Dr. Myslinski is using funds to expand access to organizations, programs, and resources for youths who have brain disorders such as autism, blindness, deafness, and dyslexia. He will also launch a monthly speaker’s series focusing on neurological and psychological conditions and expand this work to other USM universities. Dr. Myslisnki received a $60,000 award.
  • Dr. Michèle Schlehofer, Professor of Psychology at Salisbury University. Dr. Schlehofer will expand on the successes of the REACH (Re-Envisioning Ethics Access and Community Humanities) Initiative and create institutional change through the Center for Ethical Responsibility and Transformation, supporting SU’s capacity to conduct interdisciplinary community-based action research projects and outputs. Dr. Schlehofer received a $50,000 award.
  • Dr. Miao Yu, Professor and Director of the Sensors and Actuators Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Yu will use funds to support a collaborative project, at the interface of engineering, computer science, biology, and aquaculture. The project will investigate novel sensing and robotics tools for the study of marine ecosystem dynamics to promote sustainability. Dr. Yu will collaborate with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and the research team will include graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. Dr. Yu received a $30,000 award to support year one of a two-year grant.

The Elkins Academic Transformation Professorship is given to Dr. K. Halimeda Kilbourne, Research Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). The funding will help deepen her work in curricular improvement by developing learning outcomes and implementing outcome assessments for UMCES’ Marine-Estuarine Environmental Sciences program. Dr. Kilbourne received a $30,000 award.

The Wilson H. Elkins Professorship honors the late Wilson H. Elkins, who led the University of Maryland flagship campus to new levels of distinction as its president from 1954 to 1978. The Wilson H. Elkins Endowment Fund supports the professorship awards in combination with institutional and system resources. This endowment and others like it further USM's mission of teaching, research, and public service. For more information, visit the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship web page.

The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.
USM institutions and programs are among the nation’s best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit www.usmd.edu. To learn about the new USM Strategic Plan, “Vision 2030: From Excellence to Preeminence,” visit https://www.usmd.edu/vision2030/.

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719
Email: mlurie@usmd.edu