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Four faculty named UB Distinguished Professors

Named UB Distinguished Professors are, from left, Anne Curtis, Stephen Jacobson, Jean-Jacques Thomas and Joseph Valente.


Published July 11, 2013

Faculty members Anne Curtis, Stephen Jacobson, Jean-Jacques Thomas and Joseph Valente have been named UB Distinguished Professors.

The UB Distinguished Professor designation—not to be confused with the SUNY Distinguished Professor designation, a rank above that of full professor awarded by the SUNY trustees—was created by the Office of the Provost to recognize full professors who have achieved true distinction and are leaders in their fields.

It is open to faculty members who are full professors and who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within their field through significant contributions to the research/scholarly literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the fine arts.

The four new UB Distinguished Professors, who will be recognized at the Celebration of Faculty/Staff Excellence in the fall, represent a variety of fields, ranging from medicine and education to the humanities.

Anne B. Curtis, Charles and Mary Bauer Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is one of the world’s leading clinical cardiac electrophysiologists and an expert in cardiac arrhythmias. Her clinical research has significantly advanced knowledge of human cardiac electrophysiology and heart-rhythm abnormalities. She is a key contributor to the guidelines on atrial fibrillation that are issued periodically by the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.

Curtis was recruited to UB from the University of South Florida in 2010 as chair of the Department of Medicine and to serve as the inaugural Bauer professor.

Her research interests include clinical trials in implantable device therapy for prevention of sudden cardiac death and management of heart failure, as well as clinical trials in atrial fibrillation. She has been principal investigator, co-investigator, sponsor or steering committee member on 85 research studies and clinical trials, and has written more than 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters, reviews and editorials. She also is the author of a book on cardiac pacing.

Curtis is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Distinguished Fellowship Award from the International Academy of Cardiology in 2010, the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from the Heart Rhythm Society and the International Academy of Cardiology’s Walter Bleifeld Memorial Award for Distinguished Work in Clinical Research in 2012.

A faculty member in the Graduate School of Education since 1986, Stephen Jacobson is a leader in the field of educational administration and policy.

He is the author of six books, nearly 30 book chapters and nearly 40 refereed articles in top-tier journals. His work in the field has been recognized with such prestigious awards as the Jack Culbertson Award for outstanding contributions by a junior professor in educational administration from the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) and UB’s Exceptional Scholar—Sustained Achievement award in 2011.

He has served in leadership roles in national professional organizations, including presidency of UCEA and the American Educational Finance Association, as well as serving as a program section chair and member of various committees for the American Educational Research Association.

Jacobson founded the journal Leadership and Policy in Schools, now regarded as one of the key journals in the field of educational administration, and also served as editor of the International Journal of School Reform.

He is a key member of a team of researchers from around the world working on the International Success School Principals Project, the aim of which is to compare the leadership models of principals in 20 countries.

An internationally known scholar in the areas of French and Francophone studies, Jean-Jacques Thomas joined the UB faculty in 2008 as the Melodia E. Jones Professor of French in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. He also serves as interim director of the Canadian Studies Program and associate director of Canadian studies for Quebec affairs and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

His research and teaching interests include French literature and culture of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries; poetry and poetics; French and general linguistics; semiotics; poetry and visual culture; and New World Francophone studies.

Thomas has been lauded by his peers for the interdisciplinary nature of his research and his successful efforts to build bridges between Francophone and Anglo Saxon culture.

Since joining the UB faculty, he has delivered eight invited lectures in the U.S. and abroad; published 12 essays, with four forthcoming in refereed journals; and has two books under contract and a third in progress—all while teaching a full load of graduate and undergraduate courses.

He also is chair of the Linguistic Approaches to Literature division of the Modern Languages Association, a member of the prestigious Executive Committee of the Association of Canadian Studies of the United States and senior editor of the journal Formes Poetiques Contemporaines, which is published in Paris and Brussels.

A leading scholar of James Joyce and Irish studies, Joseph Valente is professor and director of graduate admissions in the Department of English and an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Disability Studies. He also specializes in modernism, literary and cultural theory, and autism studies.

He was recruited to UB in 2010 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had been a full professor and director of Irish studies.

Valente’s work has been called “groundbreaking,” “pioneering” and “influential” by his UB peers and colleagues in his field.

A prolific scholar, he has authored or edited 10 books, 50 articles and numerous reviews and conference papers, as well as delivered invited lectures, plenary lectures and keynotes at symposia and conferences across the country and worldwide.

Among his more notable publications are “Quare Joyce” (University of Michigan Press, 1998), “Dracula’s Crypt: Bram Stoker, Irishness and the Question of Blood” (University of Illinois Press, 2001) and, most recently, “The Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880-1922” (University of Illinois Press, 2011).

Valente serves as an advisory editor to three peer-review journals, including the James Joyce Quarterly, the premier journal in Joyce studies.

He currently is organizing the first U.S. conference of “Queering Ireland,” a new professional group that formed around his earlier research.