Top Faculty Receive Awards at Annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments and service Wednesday at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet.  The banquet is the university’s largest recognition event of the year.

The following professors received the evening’s top faculty awards:

Macebearer: George Pharr

Pharr, GeorgeEngineering Professor George Pharr was named UT’s Macebearer, the highest faculty honor. Pharr is the McKamey Professor of Engineering, director of the UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, and a joint faculty scientist in the Materials Science and Technology Division at ORNL.

His research focuses on nanoscale materials and his work has the potential to affect everything from medicine to machines, from construction to computers.  Last year, Pharr was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest honor an engineer can achieve in the United States.

Pharr is internationally known for his research in small-scale mechanical testing. His development of nanoindentation for measuring hardness and elastic modulus forms the basis of an international standard for materials testing and is a common topic of discussion in textbooks on materials science and engineering. Pharr was also among the first faculty members to be named a Chancellor’s Professor.

UT’s Macebearer carries the mace, an ornate scepter, and leads the faculty in processionals during commencement exercises for a full academic year.

Alexander Prize: Belle Upadhyaya

Upadhyaya, BelleBelle Upadhyaya, professor of nuclear engineering, is being honored for superior teaching and distinguished scholarship. He is an elected fellow of both the American Nuclear Society and the International Society of Automation. He is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Upadhyaya helped establish the National Science Foundation–funded Reliability and Maintainability Center at UT. He has developed state-of-the-art technologies such as smart field devices and has helped bring national recognition to the nuclear engineering program, particularly for its roles in reactor control, instrumentation, system monitoring, and diagnosis research and development.

His expertise has led him to visiting lecturer positions throughout Europe, South America, and Asia, including national nuclear energy institutes in France, the Netherlands, and South Korea.

Upadhyaya has published more than 325 articles and helped author more than 130 research reports. He has mentored more than fifty doctoral and master’s students.

The Alexander Prize is named for former UT president and now US Senator Lamar Alexander and his wife, Honey. The award recognizes superior teaching and distinguished scholarship.

Jefferson Prize: Maria Stehle

Stehle, MariaAssociate Professor Maria Stehle is a highly productive young scholar who specializes in German and European cultural studies, gender and media studies, and cultural histories of Germany since 1945. She has been a faculty member in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures since 2007.

Along with her monograph Ghetto Voices in Contemporary Germany: Textscapes, Filmscapes, and Soundscapes, she has published two articles in conference proceedings, four book chapters, twelve book reviews, and thirteen refereed articles. Stehle has edited a special issue of Imaginations, co-edited an issue of the Journal of Popular Music, and received several grants.

Her interdisciplinary research collaborations include a three-year Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council project, Technologies of Popfeminist Activism, which examines the reconfiguration of German feminist activism in the twenty-first century through digital technologies.

The Jefferson Prize honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in research and creative activity.

L. R. Hesler Award: Michael Handelsman

Handelsman, MichaelMichael Handelsman, professor in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, works to ensure that every interaction he has with students is meaningful. Although he logs more than 150 advising appointments plus numerous advising workshops each year, he strives to nurture students and help them grow through every meeting.

For more than three decades, Handelsman has worked to establish partnerships between UT and institutions in Latin America, developing programs in Latin American studies and global studies here at UT. He also serves as faculty director of UT’s Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships and is a faculty associate of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

The L. R. Hesler Award is named for a longtime head of the botany department who also served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Hesler’s students, colleagues, and friends established the award as a memorial that recognizes exceptional teaching and service.

The full list of all faculty, staff, and student awards is available on the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet website.