UCSB professors Howard Giles of communication and John W. I. Lee recently received two of the highest awards given out by UCSB faculty to honor their academic achievements and contributions to both the campus and the community.
The Academic Senate announced Giles as recipient of the 2005-06 Faculty Research Lectureship Award, while Lee received the 2005-06 Harold J. Plous Award, which is given annually to one assistant professor. Besides receiving a monetary award, both professors will deliver a lecture – the date of which has yet to be determined – as part of the honor.
Academic Senate chair Walter Yuen said the professors’ academic peers nominated both recipients based on their distinguished research, creative achievement and contributions to the college community.
Giles said he was honored to receive his fellow professors’ commendation.
“I’m thrilled, obviously, because of the breadth of research that has been done on campus and the quality of it,” Giles said. “[The award] is kind of icing on the cake.”
The History Dept. faculty has a reputation for receiving the Plous Award, Lee said, and his acceptance of this year’s award carries on that tradition of excellence.
“I’m really honored to receive this award [and] to be in such distinguished company with other winners and illustrious scholars,” Lee said.
Yuen said all members of the Academic Senate are eligible for nomination for the Faculty Research Lectureship and the Plous Award by their colleagues’, department’s or department chair’s recommendation.
The Executive Committee of the College of Letters and Sciences gathers a committee of former award winners to select the new recipient each year, Yuen said. Once the committee is in place, a notice requesting nominations is sent to all UCSB faculty. The respective committees then select the winners of the Faculty Research Lectureship Award and the Plous Award.
Lee’s main research focus studies the lives and interactions of ancient Greek soldiers, aside from their time spent in battle. Lee said his current research, entitled “A Greek Army on the March: Soldiers and Survival in Xenophon’s Anabasis,” is a cultural and social history of ancient Greek mercenary art.
“It is important for my field because there’s so much focus on battle and people forget that 90 percent of the time, the soldiers aren’t fighting,” Lee said. “It’s important to understand how small groups work and deal with the practical concerns of finding food and water.”
Lee has worked on documentaries for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, and has delivered lectures and speeches on the study of ancient warfare and ancient Greece. Lee said his contributions and studies help bring scholarship to a wider audience, and are a means of helping people understand the present-day world by learning from the past.
Giles said he focuses his research on intergroup communication, or the concept that when people communicate, they naturally place listeners and themselves into differing or similar groups based on criteria such as social status, race, extracurricular participation or religion. Communicating is much less about talking to another person than it is about talking to a person’s background and assumptions.
“Much of the day-to-day interaction with people is not based on individual character, but their participation in different groups,” Giles said.
Among his areas of study, Giles is currently researching police-civilian encounters. He helped establish the Center on Police Practices and Community, an organization that works both locally and internationally with Russia, Turkey and Korea to understand policing in different countries. Giles said the goal of his research is to establish a safer, more harmonious society.
“In order for [a safer society] to come about at its best, we need good relations between law enforcement and civilians,” Giles said.
Giles said he is also researching how culture views aging. American culture in particular, he said, associates aging with numerous negative stereotypes. His research looks to determine ways in which people age successfully, with a positive outlook.
“We need to communicate and look at ways other cultures view aging,” Giles said. “I would like to locate a culture where the real views of aging are very favorable towards older people.”