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Provost Professors, recipients of Sonneborn, Burgan, Venkat awards named

By Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs

April 21, 2023

Four Indiana University Bloomington faculty members have been named 2023 Provost Professors. Winners of the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award, the Mary Burgan Distinguished Service Award and the M.A. Venkataramanan “Venkat” Distinguished Service Award have also been announced.

Provost Professors are Tessa Bent, in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; Richard Hardy, in the College’s Department of Biology; Debra Herbenick, in the School of Public Health-Bloomington’s Department of Applied Health Science; and Scott Shackelford in the Kelley School of Business.

Herbenick is also winner of the 2023 Tracy M. Sonneborn Award. She will deliver the annual Sonneborn Lecture at a time and location to be announced later.

Jon Kay, in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, has been awarded the 2023 Mary Burgan Distinguished Service Award.

Kirsten Grønbjerg, Distinguished Professor in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, has been awarded the 2023 M.A. Venkataramanan “Venkat” Distinguished Service Award.

“These scholars have brought extraordinary prestige to Indiana University through their research and service and enriched the education of their students through their teaching and mentorship,” Acting Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Eliza Pavalko said. “It is a great pleasure to see each of them recognized with the honors which they so richly deserve.”

The Sonneborn award and lecture are named for the late IU biologist Tracy M. Sonneborn, a renowned geneticist who was also highly regarded for his teaching. The Provost Professor position, originally called Chancellor’s Professor, was created in 1995 to honor those who have achieved local, national and international distinction in both teaching and research/creative activity. The Mary Burgan Distinguished Service Award, first presented in 1986, recognizes faculty who exhibit distinguished service to the university, a profession, a discipline or the public. The new M.A. Venkataramanan “Venkat” Distinguished Service Award honors a faculty member or librarian whose service has had a long-term, significant impact on the Bloomington campus.

Recipients of all these awards are chosen by a faculty committee sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. All honorees will be celebrated at a reception in the coming academic year.

Tessa Bent Provost Professor: Tessa Bent

Bent joined the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences as an assistant professor in 2008, was promoted to associate professor in 2015 and then promoted to professor in 2020. Bent is currently the department chair and director of the Speech Perception Laboratory.  

Bent’s research, as funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on children’s and adult’s perception and representation of variable speech signals, with a focus on regional and non-native accents. In 2018, she was named a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America. She is also conducting research on communication between patients and health care providers in hospital settings, which is support by the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

She is a founding member of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and she engages with students of underrepresented groups within her lab. She developed the Hoosier Database of Native and Non-Native Speech for Children and makes it readily and freely available to the research community. This database allows investigators to examine children’s perception of speech from a wide range of language backgrounds.

Among other courses, Bent refined and teaches Introduction to Phonetics. She engages with students in her research lab, and she supports honors projects, undergraduates interested in research, master’s students and Ph.D. students. Bent takes an active-learning approach within her undergraduate courses in phonetics, sociophonetics, language development and speech perception. She is a senior fellow with the IU Mosaic Initiative and has won three teaching awards.  

Richard Hardy Provost Professor: Richard Hardy

Hardy joined the Department of Biology as an assistant professor in 2002. He was promoted to associate professor in 2008 and professor in 2014. He was named director of human biology in 2018.

He is also associate director of the Arts + Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience program. ASURE gives students a chance to do meaningful research during their first year in college, rather than waiting until their junior or senior years. ASURE launched in 2018 with a student cohort of 80 students and in 2022, there were nearly 400 student participants.

Under Hardy’s leadership, research in his lab focuses on the molecular requirements for virus replication and specifically on which molecules are necessary for the replication of the viral genetic material and the optimal expression of viral genes within host cells. 

Hardy teaches undergraduate courses and mentors Ph.D. graduate students. He was named chair of the Campus Strategic Plan Working Group on High Impact Experiences for All Undergraduates. As chair of a working group, he was also on the planning committee for the new IU 2030 Strategic Plan as well.  

Scott Shackelford Provost Professor: Scott Shackelford

Shackelford, a global thought leader on cybersecurity, joined the Kelley School of Business’ Department of Business Law and Ethics in 2010 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. In 2022, he was promoted to full professor. He is executive director of both the Ostrom Workshop and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.   

Shackelford’s research analyzes pressing legal and policy issues at the intersection of law, ethics, property and peace, with a special emphasis on the interrelated fields of Internet governance and sustainable development. He has written more than 100 articles, book chapters, essays and op-eds for diverse publications, and his research has been covered by an array of outlets, including Politico, NPR, CNN, Forbes, Time, The Washington Post and the LA Times. 

He is also the author of several books, including “Governing New Frontiers in the Information Age: Toward Cyber Peace” (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and “Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace” (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which won the Elinor Ostrom Award.

The Ostrom Workshop seeks and shares solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as clean water and securing cyberspace. Shackelford has co-authored a new children’s book that is being published by IU Press on the life of Elinor “Lin” Ostrom, “Lin’s Uncommon Life.”

Shackelford was also the founder of IU’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Program, a unique collaboration between three IU Bloomington schools — the Maurer School of Law, the Kelley School of Business and the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering — to form a master’s degree in cybersecurity risk management. The program has grown to more than 100 master’s students, was ranked as the No. 4 graduate cybersecurity program in the world by Fortune magazine in 2022 and has attracted more than $3 million in external funding from the National Science Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Shackelford also crafted a Ph.D. minor in cybersecurity risk management, founded the IU Cybersecurity Clinic, and set up a dedicated mentoring program and a program for students pursuing professional cybersecurity credentials.

Debby Herbenick Provost Professor and Sonneborn Award: Debby Herbenick

Herbenick is a full professor in the Department of Applied Health Science and, since 2014, has served as the director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. Her research has focused on how people experience their bodies and their sexual lives.

Among her 200+ scientific publications, she has developed and validated measurement scales to assess genital self-image and the quality of sexual experiences, and she has consulted on the development of a number of other measures. She has led 14 U.S. probability surveys dedicated to understanding contemporary sex in the United States and is the principal investigator of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, an ongoing U.S. nationally representative probability survey of Americans’ sexual lives that began in 2008. 

Herbenick is internationally known for her creative ways of sharing sexual science with the public. She has published five best-selling books (her forthcoming book is titled, “Yes Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today’s Teens and Sex”) and several thousand newspaper and magazine columns, served as co-producer for the Emmy-nominated documentary “Hot Girls Wanted,” and consulted on sexuality topics for various films and television shows. She has appeared on various television, radio and web-based video series. She is also the founder and host of the Bloomington Sex Salon, a popular event series dedicated to creating campus-community conversations about sexuality topics.  

She has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses, and she co-created the Graduate Certificate in Sexual and Reproductive Health. As part of the certificate, she developed and teaches SPH-632 Sexual Health: Discoveries & Controversies. In 2020, Herbenick won the Career Teaching Award. Cosmopolitan magazine named her one of six innovators in sexuality research, education and science.

Jon Kay Burgan Award: Jon Kay

Kay started his career at IU in 2004 as an assistant research scholar of folklore and became associate professor of folklore studies in 2020. He has also served as a professor of practice in folklore studies, as well as curator of folklife and cultural heritage and interim director at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Since 2004, Kay has been director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Indiana’s official statewide folk and traditional arts service agency and a partnership between IU and the Indiana Arts Commission.

Kay has devoted considerable service outside of the university, to his discipline and to the public. His work with Traditional Arts Indiana, Indiana Arts Commission and IU reaches countless Hoosiers and improves quality of life for the entire state. He recently served as a contributor to the new Bloomington campus strategic plan and the new Indiana Arts Commission strategic plan and has worked extensively with the Chin Languages Research Project. Kay has produced a significant amount of material for external and public audiences, including exhibitions, documentary films, short videos, podcasts and writing.

The state folklorists for several states are recent graduates from the Department of Folklore and were mentored by Kay. He is a key member of the Graduate Affairs Committee and Public Practice Committee, which help the success of graduate-level alumni. Kay was instrumental in expanding curriculum offerings and specifically created a practicum course and laboratory course for the public practice concentration. Kay also works closely with and mentors undergraduates who work with Traditional Arts Indiana.

Kirsten Gronbjerg Venkat Award: Kirsten Grønbjerg

Grønbjerg’s connection to IU started in the early 1990s with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She was Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy from 2001 to 2020 and has been a professor of philanthropic studies since 1997. She currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is also an adjunct professor of sociology. She previously held titles including associate dean for faculty affairs, associate dean for academic affairs and interim dean at O’Neill.

Her service has had a long-term, significant impact on the Bloomington campus. She was central in building one of the O’Neill School’s marquee programs in nonprofit management and leadership and has been instrumental in maintaining the program’s top ranking in an increasingly crowded field. Starting in 2008, she served for six years as chair of the one of the three internal “faculty groups,” which are alternatives to formal departments.

Grønbjerg has mentored numerous new hires, all of whom have gone on to successful tenure and promotion, outstanding careers and multiple awards. She has also served as formal and informal advisor to numerous junior faculty.

Her service extends to numerous committees, including hiring search committees for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty positions, the search for an associate executive dean at O’Neill IUPUI, O’Neill’s Policy Committee and O’Neill’s Budgetary Affairs Committee. She also chaired an O’Neill School COVID-19 scenario planning exercise and chaired an ad hoc committee in 2020 to build policies for new O’Neill professorships and endowed chairs.

She served on the advisory committee for the IU presidential search in 2020. She currently serves on the advisory boards for the Center of Excellence for Women & Technology. She has served on cross-campus and university review teams for initiatives and the Social Science Research Commons and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She has also served on the Bloomington Faculty Committee.