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Three tapped for American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 23, 2014

Three portraits of a man, a woman and a man

From left: Robert Huckfeldt, Margaret W. Ferguson and John C. Wingfield

Three UC Davis faculty members working in diverse fields have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Margaret W. Ferguson, distinguished professor of English, Robert Huckfeldt, distinguished professor of political science, and John C. Wingfield, distinguished professor and endowed chair in physiology, have joined the academy, one of the nation’s oldest academic societies and independent policy research centers. Their election was announced Wednesday, April 23.

"Being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences represents one of the highest honors in academe and is a truly fitting recognition for the tremendous contributions that Professors Ferguson, Huckfeldt and Wingfield have made to education and scholarship," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who was herself elected to membership in 2011. "We are truly fortunate to have such dedicated scholars as members of our faculty."

Ferguson has published extensively in the areas of Renaissance literature, literacy studies and feminist theory and is president of the Modern Language Association. At UC Davis since 2007, she has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies, the last to support her book about female virginity, “Missing the Maidenhead: Cultural Debates About the Hymen in the Early Modern Period.” Her 2003 book “Dido’s Daughters: Literacy, Gender and Empire in Early Modern England and France” won the Roland Bainton Prize for 16th Century Studies and the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Prize. A member of the National Council of Teachers of English, she is particularly interested in how the Common Core Standards implemented by most states will impact writing and reading education.

Huckfeldt focuses on political participation and decision-making among citizens within networks of social and political communication. With support from the National Science Foundation, he has carried out studies of urban neighborhoods, national and cross-national election studies, experimental studies, and agent based simulations of political processes. He is the author or co-author of a series of research articles and several books: “Politics in Context,” “Race and the Decline of Class in American Politics,” “Citizens, Politics, and Social Communication,” “Political Disagreement” and “Experts, Activists, and Interdependent Citizens.” At UC Davis since 2003, he is a former chair of the Department of Political Science and former director of both the UC Center Sacramento and Institute of Governmental Affairs.

Wingfield’s research examines neural pathways in birds to understand the effects of seasonality and environmental stress. His work provides insights into conservation biology and how animals deal with global climate change and endocrine disruption. He has been at UC Davis since 2007 and serves as assistant director for biological sciences at the National Science Foundation.

UC Davis is now represented in the American Academy by 27 current and emeritus faculty.

“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” said Don Randel, chair of the academy’s board of directors. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the academy a unique capacity — and responsibility — to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”

Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

This year’s 214 new members include Dan Shechtman, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry; novelists John Irving and Annie Proulx; former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich; Michael Greenstone, former chief economist for President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers; actor Al Pacino; cartoonist Jules Feiffer; and bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley. A full list of the new members can be found online.

The new class will be inducted Oct. 11 at the academy headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. Since its founding in 1780, the academy has elected leading thinkers from each generation, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King Jr. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

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