Goldberg wins Sarah Goddard Power Award
Friday, February 03, 2012
EEB is delighted to announce that Professor and Chair Deborah Goldberg is one of the 2012 winners of the prestigious Sarah Goddard Power Award from the U-M Academic Women's Caucus. Goldberg is an internationally recognized scientist in plant ecology. She has published two books and more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She is particularly well known for her studies of plant community dynamics, structure and function.
The award will be presented to Goldberg at a ceremony at 4 p.m., Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at the Michigan League. The award was established in memory of Sarah Goddard Power, a former regent who was a strong advocate for women within the University of Michigan. She was inducted into the Michigan Hall of Fame in 1988 for her civil rights accomplishments. The award honors faculty and senior administrative staff who have made significant contributions to the betterment of women at U-M and globally through distinguished leadership, scholarship or other activities related to their professions.
Dr. Radka Wildova, one of Goldberg’s former postdoctoral fellows, who is currently a visiting scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, states in a supporting letter, “Her impact has been so widespread that it is now almost impossible to find a scholarly paper on plant competition that does not reference the approach that she pioneered."
As further noted by Wildova, “Deborah has been tireless and enthusiastic in her effort to encourage young female scientists and graduate students to pursue their dream careers.”
Betsy Foxman, Hunein F. and Hilda Maassab Professor of Epidemiology, wrote in her letter of nomination, “Scientific achievements aside, Dr. Goldberg takes advantage of every opportunity to use her scientific stature to increase opportunities for women scientists in her department, at Michigan, and worldwide. During her tenure as chair of EEB, the proportion of women faculty has increased from 17 to 27 percent. Harder to tabulate is the influence of Dr. Goldberg’s attention to issues of gender and ethnic diversity during her service on various committees and boards.”
According to Foxman’s letter, Goldberg's remarkable commitment to service is evident in over two pages of her curriculum vitae filled with the names of editorial boards, and international, national, university and departmental committees. Most notable is the Ecological Society of America, where she has served continuously in some capacity since 1985 (currently as vice president for science) as well as serving on the editorial boards of eight of the most prestigious journals in ecology.
“To put it succinctly: Dr. Goldberg makes things happen,” Foxman continued. “She acted as interim chair of EEB during the difficult separation of biology into two departments, then again as interim following the short service of an externally appointed chair, and was ultimately appointed as chair. As chair, Dr. Goldberg transformed the department culture to one that celebrates diversity, collegiality, and collaboration.”
Goldberg established a standing departmental committee on diversity, and was instrumental in establishing the Frontiers Master’s Program in EEB, which is designed to attract students from nontraditional backgrounds into biology and prepare them for top-ranked Ph.D. programs. She served as a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues at U-M for four years, and during that time, helped promote the issue of parental leave for graduate students who are new parents. Goldberg is a current member of STRIDE, a committee that provides information and advice about practices that will maximize the likelihood that diverse, well-qualified candidates for faculty positions will be identified, and, if selected for offers, recruited, retained, and promoted at U-M.
“Dr. Goldberg is a devoted mentor. She not only models how to balance being a successful scientist, department chair, faculty member, and mother, but also spends countless hours helping others who are trying to do so.”
As noted by George W. Kling, Robert G. Wetzel Professor, Goldberg helps women in science with “dedication, energy, and fervor.”
As one of the first women at U-M to chair a science department, Goldberg reaches out to other women faculty, offering advice and counsel based on her experiences. Nancy Love, associate dean for academic programs and initiatives at Rackham and former department chair in civil and environmental engineering, wrote, “Dr. Goldberg has served as a useful sounding board, a source of sage advice, and one who has helped connect me with possible research collaborators as I have worked to get my research program off the ground at U-M while learning the ropes as department chair."
Pamela Raymond, Stephen S. Easter Collegiate Professor and chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, wrote, “I would have had a much more difficult time surviving my first year as chair without her wise counsel and support."
The Academic Women's Caucus was founded in 1975 when a group of academic women gathered to exchange information and investigate and resolve problems that academic women were facing. This dynamic group works to promote women in the academy through programming, networking and the presentation of the Sarah Goddard Power Award.
The Academic Women's Caucus continues to focus on many of the same tenure and salary equity issues it did in 1975. This committed group of women from diverse academic backgrounds continues to support all academic women, junior and senior alike, to help them develop and achieve their goals.
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