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Ohio State University logo Recognizing Excellence

University Distinguished Scholar Awards

The Distinguished Scholar Award, established in 1978, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of research, as well as the work of younger faculty members who have demonstrated great scholarly potential. The award is supported by the Office of Research. Recipients are nominated by their departments and chosen by a committee of senior faculty, including several past recipients of the award. Distinguished Scholars receive a $3,000 honorarium and a research grant of $20,000 to be used over the next three years.

Recognizing Excellence at Ohio State

Current University Awards winners

Previous University Awards winners

Click on photo or scroll down the page to read winner's bio.

James Allan Cowan
Department of Chemistry

James Allan Cowan is a leading investigator in bioinorganic chemistry and a pioneer in the areas of biological redox chemistry, nucleic acid biochemistry, and immunochemistry. Cowan’s main focus is understanding the biological chemistry of metal ions. He has also made important contributions to the challenging area of metal cluster assembly. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in some of the most competitive journals in his field, has written 14 books, and holds two patents. Cowan earned his B.S from the University of Glasgow in 1983. He received his Ph.D from Cambridge University, England, and completed his postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology. Cowan came to Ohio State in 1988.

Joshua Dressler
The Frank R. Strong Chair in Law
Moritz College of Law

Joshua Dressler is one of the most influential and distinguished contemporary theorists in criminal law. A talented and exceptional scholar, Dressler has been among the most important contributors to the criminal law field in the last 30 years. His work and writings on the justification/excuse theory, the provocation defense, and the new defenses debate have provided a clear analysis of complex moral and legal issues. Dressler has contributed to seven books on criminal law and has been published in 35 journal articles and chapters. He graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in 1968, where he earned his J.D. in 1973. He began research and teaching at Ohio State’s College of Law in 2001.

Carole K. Fink
Department of History

Carole K. Fink is one of the world’s leading international historians. Her innovative and wide-ranging accomplishments in the field of European history cross several languages and have earned high praise from colleagues. Her works on the Genoa conference and on the French scholar, Marc Bloch, are frequently cited. Fink is a two-time winner of the George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association in recognition of her outstanding writing on European international history. She has authored three extensively documented books and has published 19 articles, 25 book chapters, and 14 professional monographs. Fink received her bachelor’s degree from Bard College in 1960 and her master’s (1961) and doctoral (1968) degrees from Yale University. She joined Ohio State’s faculty in 1991.

Somnath Ghosh
The John B. Nordholt Professor in Mechanical Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Somnath Ghosh is an international leader in the field of multi-scale computational modeling of heterogeneous materials. His pioneering work includes multi-scale characterizations of complex systems including composites, metals, and alloys. He created the powerful Voronoi Cell Finite Element Method (VCFEM) which has a worldwide following. Ghosh’s work has been recognized by scientific and professional organizations including being named a Fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the Executive Council of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics. He has participated in editing eight books and journals and has published more than 70 journal articles and one book chapter. His undergraduate degree is in mechanical engineering (1980) from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India. He received his master’s from Cornell University (1983) and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan (1988). Ghosh came to Ohio State in 1991.

Ulrich Heinz
Department of Physics

Ulrich Heinz is a world leader in the field of theoretical nuclear physics. He studies the matter that filled our universe during its first 10 microseconds and which has now been re-created in very energetic collisions between atomic nuclei called “heavy ions.” A major discovery of Heinz’s work is the insight that the universe did not start out as a hot gas, but as a near perfect liquid with almost no viscosity at all. His research has influenced the development of the theoretical framework of relativistic heavy ion physics, as well as interpretation of the experimental data. Heinz has published over 200 scientific papers that have had more than 6,000 citations. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics in 1974 from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, where he later earned his master’s (1978) and doctoral (1980) degrees. He moved his research to Ohio State in 2000.

Randy Hodson
Department of Sociology

Randy Hodson is one of the nation’s leading scholars studying workplace relations. His research has provided new insights into the role of organizational characteristics and management behavior in shaping workplace relations. Hodson’s approach is both systematic and analytical, and his work is characterized by intellectual breadth and depth. He is one of the most cited social scientists at Ohio State and his upper-division text book on the sociology of work has helped define the field for a generation of students and educators. Hodson has authored nine books and more than 70 scholarly articles. In recognition of his contribution to graduate and undergraduate instruction, he received an Ohio State 2001 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Hodson earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming (1975) and his master’s (1977) and his Ph.D. (1980) degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He joined Ohio State’s faculty in 1996.

2007 University Distinguished Scholar Awards


Previous winners

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