U-M Regents formally approve James S. House as 2013 Henry Russel Lecturer

June 22, 2012

James S. House, a world-renowned scholar who has been a leader in recognizing and demonstrating that health and illness are influenced by psychosocial processes, has been selected as the Henry Russel Lecturer for 2013 — one of the university's highest honors for a senior member of its active faculty.

House is the Angus Campbell Distinguished University Professor of Survey Research, Public Policy and Sociology; professor of sociology, LSA; and professor of public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

His selection as the Henry Russel Lecturer, approved Thursday by the Board of Regents, recognizes his work focusing on the role of both social and psychological factors in the etiology and course of health and illness, including understanding and alleviating social disparities in health and the way it changes with age.

In addition, two faculty researchers will receive the Henry Russel Award, one of the highest honors the university bestows upon junior faculty. They are:


  • Allison Steiner, assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, College of Engineering, and assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, LSA.
  • Angela Violi, associate professor of mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering, College of Engineering.

The honorees are selected by the Russel Awards Faculty Advisory Committee, chaired by Janet Weiss, dean of the Rackham Graduate School.

The Henry Russel Lectureship is awarded each year to a U-M professor in recognition of exceptional achievements in research, scholarship or creative endeavors, and an outstanding record of teaching, mentoring and service. House will present the Russel Lecture March 14.

House has produced a series of influential studies spanning four decades, and his work is "characterized by a powerful combination of empirical richness, methodological rigor, theoretical originality, and primary data collection," according to the official Regents Communication submitted by President Mary Sue Coleman.

House is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. At U-M, House received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 2003, a collegiate professorship in 2005 and a Distinguished University Professorship in 2008.

He joined U-M in 1978 as associate research scientist at the Survey Research Center and Department of Epidemiology; and associate professor in the Department of Sociology. House has served as chair of the Department of Sociology and director of the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research.

The Russel Award recognizes mid-career faculty who have demonstrated an impressive record of accomplishment in scholarship or creativity, and in teaching.

Steiner, who came to U-M in 2006, is known for her interdisciplinary work in the fields of atmospheric science, vegetation biology and land surface hydrology. Steiner has published in 21 articles in refereed journals, and has been principal investigator, co-principal investigator or subcontract principal investigator for nine grants.

Her interdisciplinary approach results in teaching that is grounded in data analysis and practical applications. Steiner encourages her students to pursue their own interests and engage in collaborative exercises and field experiments. She is co-founder of Earth Science Women's Network and her international service includes work with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, which is funded through the United Nations, with the mission of training scientists from developing nations.

Violi, who came to U-M in 2006, focuses her research at the intersection of combustion science, nanoscience, environmental science and biomedical science. Violi's publication record includes 51 peer-reviewed publications and four book chapters.

Violi has received the Enichem National Prize for Distinguished Thesis in Chemical Engineering, the prestigious Bernard Lewis Fellowship from the International Combustion Institute and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Her engagement in teaching and mentoring was recognized with the 2010 Education Excellence Award in the College of Engineering.

The Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from Henry Russel of Detroit who received three degrees from U-M.

Courtesy of Jillian Bogater/University Record.