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UW AWARDS 2008 HOMEPAGE

UWEEK.ORG HOMEPAGE

DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARD
Ben Kerr, Biology
Gowri Shankar, Business Administration
Jaime Olavarria, Psychology
Jamie Walker, Ceramics
Julia Parrish, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences / Biology
Rebecca Aanerud, Women Studies
Richard Knuth, Education Administration

EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD
Fernanda Oyarzun & Chris Himes , Biology
Rachel Goldberg, English

DISTINGUISHED LIBRARIAN AWARD
Theresa Mudrock, UW Libraries

DISTINGUISHED STAFF AWARD
Hendrik Simons, Nuclear Physics Laboratory
Mona Pitre-Collins, Undergraduate Scholarship Office
Philip Mote, Climate Impacts Group
Robin Bennett, Medical Genetics
Sue Park, Facilities Services

DISTINGUISHED CONTRIBUTIONS TO LIFELONG LEARNING AWARD
John Schaufelberger, Construction Management

OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD
Nancy Amidei, Social Work

JAMES D. CLOWES AWARD FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING COMMUNITIES
Lance Bennett, Political Science / Communication

S. STERLING MUNRO PUBLIC SERVICE TEACHING AWARD
Denise Wilson, Electrical Engineering

DAVID B. THORUD LEADERSHIP AWARD
Judy Mahoney, College of Engineering
Kathleen Woodward, Simpson Center for the Humanities

MARSHA L. LANDOLT DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE MENTOR AWARD
Tom Quinn, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

ALUMNUS SUMMA LAUDE DIGNATA
Beverly Cleary, Children's Author

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Robb Weller, Television Producer and Host

PRESIDENT'S MEDAL
June Shujun Peng and Royce Anderson

"It's been a team effort to be sure, and the role that I've played in bringing the work of the rest of the team into the public eye is to draw attention to the strong research."


Philip Mote


It's been an eventful year for Philip Mote. Last October he was among thousands of scientists sharing in the Nobel Peace Prize for their work as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This spring he is a recipient of a UW Distinguished Staff Award.

It might seem like a stretch, but the two are related.

The Nobel was for the international scientific panel's work in examining human-caused climate change and sharing that information with a sometimes-hostile audience. The same is true of the staff award, though it takes into account much more localized efforts.

"It's been a team effort to be sure, and the role that I've played in bringing the work of the rest of the team into the public eye is to draw attention to the strong research," he said.

Mote came to the UW in 1998 as a research scientist with the Climate Impacts Group, part of the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. He has been a key player in regional climate research and, in particular, explaining that research and its ramifications to a lay audience. While some people who address climate change issues seem to shoot from the hip, he prefers a more low-key approach, offering nuanced explanations and welcoming skepticism as a healthy balance for the scientific process.

"Mote has developed into the most accomplished working scientist we have ever seen who is able to explain to lay people the meaning of the work he and others do," Edward Miles, who heads the Climate Impacts Group, wrote in his letter of nomination.

"Mote is in such great demand by the public...and is constantly sought out for interviews with the media," Miles wrote. "In fact, Mote is the individual who personifies the Climate Impacts Group to our broader regional constituencies and...who very powerfully demonstrates what the University of Washington does and can do for the region."

That's a view shared by David Peterson, a team leader in the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory. In a letter to support the nomination, Peterson wrote that Mote's public lectures throughout the region have been a major force in communicating the implications of climate change to the general public.

"Phil is the 'Al Gore of the Pacific Northwest' because of the amount of time he spends talking to different federal agencies, state agencies, municipal organizations and local stakeholders," Peterson said. "The difference is that Phil's presentations are better than Gore's and more scientifically accurate."

Peterson added that at a recent public lecture on climate change in Mount Vernon, the audience paid rapt attention for an hour and then engaged in a lengthy question-and-answer session.

"This type of public service at the grassroots level has tremendous impact and represents the UW better than a hundred journal articles could," Peterson wrote.

Mote said he has tried to cut back on his speaking engagements, limiting them to perhaps one a week, most in the Northwest and two-thirds of them within driving distance. But then there are scientific meetings and trips to Washington, D.C., to talk with policy makers and those in government.

"I've turned down invitations to Russia, Tennessee, Florida and places like that and have tried to focus on our stakeholders," he said.

The most gratifying part of his work, he said, is seeing local and state governments in the Northwest move past the arguments about human-caused climate change that were common a few years ago to a point where they are ready to go to work to limit or prepare to deal with the effects of climate change.

"That's been a long and very arduous process of education," he said.