News and notes roundup:  Abdu’Allah named Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art

Faisal Abdu’Allah, an internationally acclaimed artist and professor with the School of Education’s Art Department, has been chosen as UW–Madison’s next recipient of the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art.

Abdu’Allah, who grew up in London, was enjoying a successful professional career as an artist when he was invited to UW–Madison in 2013 to work on campus as the Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence. He was invited to return to UW–Madison in the fall of 2014 to join the Art Department as a faculty member, and has become a highly regarded educator and mentor.

Faisal Abdu'Allah

“Faisal Abdu’Allah has established himself not only as a groundbreaking and respected artist who has shown his work across the world, but he has also proven himself to be an outstanding teacher to our students at UW–Madison,” says School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “I am so pleased to announce that Faisal is receiving the prestigious Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art.”

Abdu’Allah is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, where he was trained as a printmaker. His work often evolves out of the interface of photography, printed media, film, installation, and performance. This art has been exhibited widely, including at: the National Maritime Museum London (2020); Foto Fest, Houston (2020); Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Gran Canaria, Spain (2019); Somerset House, London; Pā Rongorongo, Auckland, New Zealand (2019); and the 55th Ven- ice Biennale, Italy (2013).

The distinguished chair is made possible via generous support from distinguished UW–Madison alumni Jerome and Simona Chazen.

“Artists continue to be the vanguards and shapers of social consciousness formed out of a sense of duty to high ideals,” says Abdu’Allah. “Receiving the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art will open up a realm of infinite possibilities.”

Department of Kinesiology’s doctoral program No. 8 in nation

UW–Madison’s doctoral pro- gram in kinesiology is ranked eighth in the nation according to the latest review and evaluation by the National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) released in October 2020.

The No. 8 ranking in the NAK 2020 Review and Evaluation of Doctoral Programs in Kinesiology marks a significant jump from the most recent program ratings released by NAK in 2015, when UW–Madison’s program was 23rd. This doctoral program is housed in the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology.

“This is a remarkable improvement over the last five years, and is a testament to the quality of our faculty and students,” says UW–Madison Professor Gary Diffee, who chairs the Department of Kinesiology. “One of the biggest drivers of our jump in rankings from five years ago was a tremendous improvement in research funding. This reflects the high-quality, groundbreaking research that is being done by our faculty.”

Former Dean McCarty dies at age 99

UW–Madison Professor Emeritus Donald McCarty, who served as dean of the School of Education from 1966 to 1975, died on Feb. 1, 2021, at the age of 99.

“Dean McCarty played an important and pivotal role in the history of the UW–Madison School of Education,” says current School of Education Dean Diana Hess. “His energy, vision, and considerable expertise made him an excellent leader during a critical time in the School of Education’s development. In his retirement, Dean McCarty has continued to help the School of Education by providing scholarship support to our students.”

Born July 17, 1921, in Sheshequin, Pennsylvania, he joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and served in World War II. He then utilized the GI Bill to attend Columbia University in New York City, where he earned a BS in history in 1949. McCarty went on to earn a PhD in educational administration from the University of Chicago in 1959 and overall spent more than five decades in the field of education — working well into his 80s.

After serving in the early 1960s as a professor and chair of educational administration at Cornell University, he was hired in 1966 to become just the fourth dean since the UW–Madison School of Education’s founding in 1930, serving in that role until 1975. McCarty then worked as a professor in the School until 1993.

Charleston appointed to governor’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion

LaVar Charleston

LaVar Charleston, the School of Education’s associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion, was named to Gov. Tony Evers’ Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion on Feb. 1. The council is designed to provide strategic guidance in developing a sustainable framework to promote and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion practices across Wisconsin state government.

“At a time when we are still battling two overlapping pandemics, COVID-19 and racial injustice, it is imperative we take a critical look at our policies and practices within the state to ensure we are approaching all our efforts from an equity-minded lens,” says Charleston.

The council is chaired by Dawn Crim, the secretary-designee of Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). Crim earned her PhD from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis this spring and served from 2011-17 as the School’s associate dean for external relations.

Note: In June 2020, Charleston was named UW–Madison’s new chief diversity offers, a position he will be leaving the School of Education to take on in August 2020.

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