Nine faculty members recognized with Presidential Awards for Faculty Excellence


George Mason University President Gregory Washington has announced the recipients of the 2022 Presidential Awards for Faculty Excellence, honoring nine Mason faculty members for their work on behalf of the university, students, and the broader community.

Beginning this year, the number of awards have been increased for full-time faculty members. The faculty cited for 2022 come from five Mason schools.

“Honoring faculty at various stages of their careers gives us the opportunity to recognize their exemplary achievements and the tremendous contributions they make to George Mason University,” Washington said. “We are proud to recognize them for their groundbreaking efforts in research, teaching, social impact, and diversity and inclusion.”

The Presidential Awards committee review team, which solicits nominations each year, is made up of faculty representatives, including prior award recipients, and senior leaders. The complete list of 2022 honorees is below. See prior recipients for 2021 and 2017-20.

Faculty Excellence in Research

Shannon Fyfe

Shannon Fyfe, an assistant professor of philosophy in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, brings the methodology and perspectives of her discipline to analyze a broad range of social and legal issues, including genocide, hate speech, sexual violence and consent, immigration, and mass incarceration. At Mason since 2018, Fyfe has been published in a variety of prestigious journals in several academic disciplines. Drawing upon her legal training, she has co-authored a book on the concept of “just war.” She has been invited to present her work at lectures and conferences around the world, including Myanmar, The Hague, Japan, India, Mexico, and Cambodia. She has also established a high profile as a public philosopher, with work published by the Washington Post, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and The Hill. Fyfe receives $2,500 toward her research efforts.

Kun Sun

Kun Sun, an associate professor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) in the College of Engineering and Computing and associate director of the Center for Secure Information Systems, produces research in cybersecurity that has been widely adopted within industry and government agencies. He developed a security patch dataset that companies have used to enhance their software supply-chain security, as well as a security defense prototype on cyber decoy and deception that has been installed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. At Mason since 2010, Sun has attracted $4.5 million in grant money from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. His publications have resulted in more than 3,400 citations. Sun has won two best paper prizes at conferences in his field and has been active as a mentor to PhD students. He receives $5,000 toward his research efforts.

David Weisburd

The Beck Family Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Research: David Weisburd, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, housed in the in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the founder and executive director of Mason’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, has promoted a shift in the focus of criminology from the individuals’ backgrounds and motivations to “place-based policing.” This has focused crime prevention efforts on specific geographic “hot spots” rather than reactive, arrest-based strategies. At Mason since 2008, Weisburd has published more than 200 articles and 30 books and has been cited more than 30,000 times; by this measurement, he is the second-most influential criminologist in the world. He is a pioneering figure in the field of experimental criminology, having founded two journals and a new division of the American Society of Criminology in this field. He has received several prestigious international awards, including the Stockholm Prize and the Israeli Rothschild Prize, and he recently became the first university professor to receive the Sir Robert Peel Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Evidence-Based Policing, from the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology. Under Weisburd’s leadership, the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy has brought in $27 million in grant funding over the past decade. Weisburd receives $10,000 to support his research efforts.

Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Steven Burmeister

Steven Burmeister is an assistant professor (term instructional faculty) in the forensic science program in the College of Science. He joined the Mason faculty in 2016 after a nearly 40-year career as a forensic scientist, including 23 years as a field agent with the FBI. He uses his career experiences to create real-life forensic experiences for his students. In his “Trace Evidence” class, for example, he designed a moot court testimony assignment in which students present their analysis as an expert witness and testify in court, examined by both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, roles played by other forensic science faculty. Burmeister has collaborated with Mason’s Department of Police and Public Safety so students can gain field experience, and he leverages his FBI connections to create research opportunities for Mason students. He receives $2,500 to support his research efforts.

Joanna Jauchen

Joanna Jauchen is a term instructional faculty member in mathematics in the College of Science, and the associate chair of teaching and equity. At Mason since 2012, she has mentored and trained other faculty members and has been extraordinarily active in course development. Jauchen runs a weekly teaching seminar for faculty and graduate students that focuses on the principles of equitable active learning. Before the pandemic, she was already leading efforts within her department to develop online courses; after the pandemic began, she provided formal training and informal assistance to many of her colleagues as they moved their courses online. Active in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Jauchen has developed innovative methods and authentic assessments, tailored to math education, for gauging student learning, and has written and presented about STEM equity issues. She received a Mason Outstanding Achievement Award in 2022. She receives $5,000 toward her research efforts.

GIrum Urgessa

John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching: Girum Urgessa, an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE) in the College of Engineering and Computing, came to Mason in 2007 tasked with developing a curriculum in structural engineering, directing the program, teaching most of the classes in it, and promoting its enrollment growth. He has developed a passionate following among CEIE students, who describe him as a clear, stimulating, engaging instructor who takes time to know them as individuals. He has also made a point of involving both graduate and undergraduate students in his own research projects and has co-authored publications with many of them. He received the Professor of the Year award from Mason’s Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (2008), the University Teaching Excellence Award (2015), and the Chi Epsilon Cumberland District James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award (2020). He wrote two textbooks on licensure preparation, has presented scholarship on the lack of diversity among faculty in his field, taught curriculum development to faculty abroad, and is supporting efforts to advance the role of diversity, equity and inclusion in workforce development in structural engineering.  He receives $10,000 toward his research efforts.

Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion

Cameron Harris

Cameron Harris (BA Integrative Studies ’06), an assistant professor in the School of Business, has co-led a year-long effort to incorporate issues relating to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) into the school’s curriculum and faculty hiring process. At Mason since 2015, Harris was recognized by University Life’s Student Involvement Office as the Student Organization Advisor of the Year. He also is a faculty advisor to the Black Student Alliance. Harris participated in the Diversity and Inclusion Summit and the Anti-Racism Teaching Excellence committee, the latter of which resulted in the formation of an Anti-Racism Teaching Excellence implementation team, on which he also serves. Recently, he joined the social justice and advocacy working group of the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative and has also served for three years on the leadership team of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) project. Harris receives $2,500 for his research efforts.

Lauren Cattaneo

United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Lauren Cattaneo, a clinical/community psychologist and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has established the Lab for Community REACH (Resilience, Empowerment, Action, Change) in which she and her students use psychological research findings to help community organizations improve the lives of marginalized populations. She and two collaborators received a Curriculum Impact Grant to create an interdisciplinary minor devoted to social justice and mass incarceration. Cattaneo teaches a class at a prison, where Mason students learn alongside incarcerated students. Cattaneo served as a faculty fellow for Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being in the Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, developing and piloting a course on “Creating a Just Society” that has served as the foundation of Mason’s broader curricular efforts. She has served on the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Task Force. She receives $10,000 toward her research efforts.

Faculty Excellence in Social Impact

Louise Shelley

Earle C. Williams Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Social Impact: Louise Shelley is the Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair and a University Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government. She is also the director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), which she founded when she came to Mason in 2007. Shelley has written 17 books and more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her mainstream outreach efforts extend the social impact of her scholarship and inform those who can influence policy or carry out reform efforts. Shelley routinely advises congressional members and staff, as well as international organizations such as NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank. After she published A Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy is Threatening our Future, prominent environmental groups approached her to lead public outreach efforts on the security risks caused by transnational environmental crime. She also founded the Anti-Corruption Advocacy Network (ACAN), which fosters communication among academics, government and multinational bodies on the issue of financial corruption. This group contributed to the successful passage of the Corporate Transparency Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. She receives $10,000 toward her research efforts.