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ASU center director Jane Maienschein joins University Professor elite

Group with ASU President Michael Crow

(From left) Former Provost Rob Page, Interim Provost Mark Searle, Professor Sally Kitch and Professor Jane Maienschein stand with ASU President Michael Crow after Kitch and Maienschein are awarded new certifications of University Professor on Sept. 29.
Photo by: Charlie Leight/ASU News

September 29, 2015

Two Arizona State University faculty members were appointed to an elite group of ASU University Professors on Sept. 29 by ASU President Michael M. Crow and Interim Provost Mark Searle.

“ASU is an environment that attracts pioneering minds in the creative arts and sciences and encourages them to thrive,” Crow said. “As University Professors, these leading scholars represent the best of our world-class faculty and the outstanding accomplishments that have made a significant impact on generations of scholars, entrepreneurs and our community.”

Those chosen are also ASU’s top experts in their fields of research, nationally and internationally: Jane Maienschein, University Professor of History and Science; and Sally Kitch, University Professor of Women and Gender Studies.

Learn more about Kitch here.

“Regents’ Professors Maienschein and Kitch are exceptional scholars and outstanding leaders of innovative, thriving and impactful research centers,” said Searle. “Their insight, commitment and expertise has spurred new discovery and advanced novel programs of study, as well as vaulting understanding of the complex relationships between people, science and society.” 

Regents’ Professor Jane Maienschein is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and director of the Center for Biology and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is also a Distinguished Sustainability Scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and an adjunct senior scientist and director of the History Project with Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). She received her bachelor’s from Yale, and her master’s and doctorate from Indiana University.

Maienschein is the author of four books, numerous articles, essays, and more than 160 book reviews. Her research interests span embryology, the field of study covering the development of embryos and fetuses; genetics and cell biology; the history and philosophy of science; and the changing social, political and legal context in which science thrives.

She launched the Embryo Project at ASU and founded the Embryo Project Encyclopedia, a digital archive of images, essays, articles and exhibits of embryology and development, stem cells, cloning and evolution, and reproductive medicine as well as the MBL digital archives and History Project

“This appointment is a huge honor, and it feels like it brings a huge responsibility,” Maienschein said. “I plan to continue doing everything I have been doing, but to extend a bit more in some new directions.”   

These new directions, according to Maienschein, include investing more energy to find funding to expand the digital archives and online exhibits for the History Project at the Marine Biological Laboratory and invest in students’ efforts to expand social media and public access to the online Embryo Project Encyclopedia.

As director of the Center for Biology and Society, Maienschein has attracted award-winning faculty to support a range of unique educational and research programs in the School of Life Sciences. Faculty members integrate teaching and research, offer individualized student support, and promote civic leadership and the scholarly exploration of conceptual foundations and historical development of the biosciences and their diverse interactions with society.

Maienschein was named Arizona Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and received an Independent Publisher’s Book Award. 

In 2015, Maienschein received the David L. Hull Prize, the highest honor granted by the International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology. The prize honors extraordinary contributions to scholarship and service and promotion of interdisciplinary studies. 

Maienschein is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science and fellow of the Association for Women in Science, and recognized for her mentorship. Each year, Maienschein and ASU colleagues take students from Barrett, The Honors College to give professional presentations at the annual AAAS meetings. She has advised undergraduate students on more than 60 Honors Projects and theses, in addition to supporting 19 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  

At ASU, Maienschein also holds the titles of President’s Professor and Parents Association Professor, and has received numerous awards, including the Zebulon Pearce Quality Teaching Award, Distinguished Faculty Award, Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award and Gary S. Krahenbuhl Difference-Maker Award.