Card, Seltzer receive university's top honor for faculty members

March 25th 2011
Arts & Humanities, Awards
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FoAwardur professors from across campus will receive this year’s Hilldale Award, the university’s top honor for faculty members.

Two faculty hail from the College of Letters & Science.

Since 1987, these awards have honored professors who excel in teaching, research and service. Honors are given in each of four divisions: biological sciences, physical sciences, social studies and arts and humanities.

The awards, supported by the Hilldale Fund, will be presented at the April 4 meeting of the Faculty Senate.

This year’s L&S recipients are:

Claudia Card, Emma Goldman Professor of Philosophy

As a member of the UW–Madison community for 44 years, Card has written four books and edited six more; published 86 articles and 47 reviews; and delivered more than 300 lectures and talks. She focuses on moral issues, particularly those of interest to woman, including equality, sexism, lesbianism and feminism. She’s working on two more books, including an introduction to feminist philosophy.

Card began her work on feminist philosophy in 1976, when there were no feminist philosophy journals and only a few anthologies dedicated to feminism. Russ Shafer-Landau, professor and chair of philosophy, writes, “Her books and articles have become as essential to feminist thinking as ‘Das Capital’ is to labor theory. You simply can’t do feminism without reading Card, and even if you don’t read Card, today’s feminism bears her mark so deeply that you may not even realize that you have in some other way digested her theoretical perspectives.”

Among her many honors, in 1996 Card was named the Distinguished Woman Philosopher of the Year by the Society for Women in Philosophy. This year, she was named president of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association.

Card has also created numerous courses and trained many graduate students, even though when she began at UW–Madison, there were no feminist philosophy courses offered. She created Feminism and Sexual Politics, Classics in Feminist Theory and Lesbian Culture; taught feminist ethics in graduate seminars; directed dissertations on feminist topics; participated in the creation of the LGBT Studies Program; and holds teaching affiliations in women’s studies, environmental studies, Jewish studies and LGBT studies.

“She must convince some students that one’s sexual orientation does not make one good or evil,” writes Shafer-Landau. “Card succeeds because she cares so much about making her pupils not just excellent students, but excellent people as well.”

Marsha Mailick Seltzer, professor of social work and pediatrics and director of the Waisman Center

Seltzer came to the university in 1988 to build the School of Social Work’s program in developmental disabilities and to take the position of coordinator of the applied research unit at the Waisman Center, writes nominator Jan Greenberg, director of the School of Social Work. Her research focuses on how family relationships and individual development are changed by the provision of care to a family member with a disability or chronic health problem.

“Professor Seltzer’s longitudinal research on the lifelong impacts of family caregiving has fundamentally transformed our understanding of basic developmental processes, while informing research in multiple disciplines on caregiving of elderly persons, persons with mental illness and persons with developmental disabilities,” writes Greenberg. Seltzer also has recently used biological measures to determine how daily caregiving stress takes a toll on parents’ physiological and mental health.

As a teacher, Seltzer has served on approximately 35 dissertation committees, often co-authoring papers with her students and encouraging them to be the lead author on work related to their dissertation research. She also mentors postdoctoral fellows and has made major contributions to the doctoral curriculum by developing the Seminar in Research Methods course.

Seltzer was a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging, working on initiatives in family caregiving and developmental disabilities. She also was a member of two Legislative Council Committees of the state Legislature, has served on many university committees and, as director of the Waisman Center, is in one of her most visible roles in leadership and service.

As Waisman Center director, she has developed a new program in the area of autism, with more than a dozen research projects on the topic since 2000 and approximately $300,000 in gifts reserved for new program development in autism research.

“[Marsha] is truly extraordinary on every dimension,” writes Greenberg.

Read more about the other two recipients.