GSOE Dean Thomas Smith Recognized as Top Scholar

Thomas Smith, dean of the Graduate School of Education, has been recognized as one of the top 200 university-based scholars who shape public discussions of education, according to a list by American Enterprise Institute director of Education Policy Frederick M. Hess.

Smith was ranked number 167 in the “Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, ” which were released Jan. 7. Using eight metrics, Hess calculated how much university-based academics moved ideas from academic journals into the national conversation.

UCR Professor’s Novel Gets Critical Acclaim

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami’s new novel, “The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon Books, 2014), was published in September 2014 to critical acclaim. Lalalmi is an associate professor of creative writing.

The work of historical fiction is based on an ill-fated Spanish expedition to Florida in the 16th century and is told from the perspective of one of four survivors, a Moroccan slave. It has been named a Notable Book of 2014 and Editors’ Choice by the New York Times; one of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR and Kirkus; and received a starred review by Publishers Weekly.

New York Times review said this about “The Moor’s Account”: “In 1527, the Castilian conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez and a crew of 600 men sailed from Spain to the Gulf Coast of the United States to claim ‘La Florida’ for the Spanish crown. Laila Lalami recounts the voyage — and its brutal aftermath — in her new novel, ‘The Moor’s Account,’ from the perspective of Estebanico, a ¬Moroccan slave of one of the explorers. It’s a fictional memoir, told in a controlled voice that feels at once historical and contemporary, that seeks to offer a truer account of the expedition than the official (and hopelessly biased) version of events provided by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, one of the other three survivors.”

Cullenberg Award Established in Honor of former CHASS Dean

The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies (SFTS) program has established the Cullenberg Award for best essay by a UCR Ph.D. student on a topic related to science fiction, technoculture, or science and technology studies. The award is named for former CHASS Dean Stephen Cullenberg and will be given annually. It carries a prize of $200.

Essay submissions will be evaluated in the spring quarter. Deadlines and other details will be available on the SFTS website,

“It was Steve’s vision and leadership that led to the formation of the SFTS cluster, and he has been unstintingly supportive of our scholarly and pedagogical initiatives over the years,” English professors Rob Latham and Sherryl Vint said in announcing the award. “Indeed, he seems to us a model for what a true administrator should be: someone who sets large goals and motivates others to reach for them.”

The SFTS program launched in 2007.

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