June 20, 2012

News Digest: Faculty retirement innovations earns $100,000 grant, Honor: Thomas Baillie, Honors: Landscape architecture

Innovative practices in faculty retirement earns UW $100,000 national grant

The University of Washington is among 15 universities and colleges receiving $100,000 grants from the American Council on Education and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for innovative work on faculty retirement.The grants will enable each institution to further develop programs for faculty before, during and after retirement.

The institutions were recognized for addressing at least one of three stages of faculty retirement: the development of a legacy, the transition into retirement and the continuing involvement of faculty in the academic community.

The UW was recognized for allowing tenured faculty to be reemployed up to a maximum of 40 percent in instructional and  research roles for up to five years after retirement.

“This partial reemployment policy offers a unique opportunity for faculty members to transition to retirement and for the institution to retain a core of senior faculty into their retirement,” says Cheryl Cameron, UW vice provost for academic personnel.

In addition, in response to concerns expressed by faculty members about health care expenses in retirement, the UW developed a voluntary retirement incentive program in which retiring tenured faculty members could forego their vested right to reemployment in exchange for a tax-free medical expense account. The program provides an incentive to retire at a time of institutional budget constraints.

Pharmacy dean receives national award for contributions to chemistry

Thomas Baillie, dean of the School of Pharmacy and professor of medicinal chemistry, will receive the 2012 Founders Award from the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Toxicology.

Baillie will be honored for his leadership in the fields of toxicology and drug metabolism. He is noted for his research in tracing how the body deals with foreign compounds, such as a medication or a toxic substance, through biochemical reactions. His work has shown ways the body forms and processes chemically reactive, potentially harmful products. These findings are important in guiding the design of safer medicines.

He will accept the award and oversee a symposium on chemical toxicology in August at the society’s national meeting in Philadelphia.

Two UW projects win national awards

Two UW projects have been named winners of Great Places awards by the Environmental Design Research Association.

Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities” won the 2012 Great Places Book Award. Edited by Jeffrey Hou, associate professor and chair of landscape architecture, the book includes more than 20 case studies written by anthropologists, architects and other professionals. They critically examine public space insurgency, that is, how unusual spaces are appropriated for new and inventive public uses. Seattle and Los Angeles are hotbeds for community gardening. In Tokyo, private homes have become sites for community activities. In San Francisco, parking spaces have been transformed into temporary parks.

Escuela Ecologica Saludable Initiative: Parque Primaria Pitagoras” won the 2012 Place Design award. Benjamin Spencer, assistant professor of landscape architecture, helped lead a team of UW faculty and students from landscape architecture, global health and environmental and forest sciences that worked with parents, teachers and children in Lomas de Zapallal, a slum in Lima, Peru, to design and implement a park at the Pitagoras primary school.

A garden blooms in a Peruvian desert slum through the work of local residents and UW students and faculty.

A garden blooms in a Peruvian desert slum through the work of local residents and UW students and faculty.