USM Announces 2008-2009 Elkins Professorships

Awards Fund Work in Conflict Resolution, Healthcare, and Renewable Energy

ADELPHI, Md. (July 22, 2008) - The University System of Maryland (USM) announces the recipients of the Wilson H. Elkins Professorships for the 2008-2009 academic year. First established at the University of Maryland in 1978 and later extended to the newly created system in 1988, 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 beyond USM.

This year's award winners are:

Brian Polkinghorn, associate professor and executive director of the Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University (SU), recipient of an $80,000 award to expand the activities of the university's conflict analysis and dispute resolution program to include a scholar-in-residence, visiting lecturers, and study abroad opportunities for students. This is the second year that Dr. Polkinghorn has received an Elkins award.

David Yager, distinguished professor of visual arts at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), recipient of an $80,000 award to fund his new project, the Innovation and Design Lab (IDL). IDL will be devoted "to creating and publishing new knowledge in the health and wellness industries through a holistic approach to innovation and design research that generates products, tools, services, and solutions to improve health outcomes." Dr. Yager routinely collaborates with the Erickson School at UMBC and the Department of Pediatrics at the John Hopkins Medical Institutes.

Ilia Baskakov, associate professor the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Medical Biotechnology Center, recipient of an $80,000 award to fund research into the generation of electricity through photosynthetic microbial fuel cells. The development of the technology promises a sustainable, completely carbon-dioxide-free approach for producing electricity directly from the energy of sunlight and the natural processes of bacteria.

"These talented faculty members are reaching out of their respective disciplines to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, from global conflict to renewable energy," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan. "Their research and scholarly activities promise to offer benefits to the world beyond our university campuses. We are proud to help further their vital work through the Elkins Professorship awards."

Established in 1978 as the first permanently endowed, university-wide professorship at the University of Maryland, the Elkins Professorship honors the late Wilson H. Elkins, who led the University of Maryland to new levels of distinction as its president from 1954 to 1978. When the University System of Maryland was created in 1988, Dr. Elkins agreed that the endowed professorship should extend to all USM institutions. 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.

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.

For more information, visit the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship web page.

Contact: John Buettner
Phone: 301.445.2719