When philanthropist and alumnus Michael R. Bloomberg gave $350 million to the university in January 2013, he directed the preponderance of the gift to the creation of 50 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, who would become “human bridges” across the university, undertaking cutting-edge research and education in multiple schools or divisions.
This past year, the university announced the first six of these new professors. They included two Nobel Prize winners and longtime faculty members, Peter Agre and Carol Greider, along with sociologist Kathryn Edin, one of the nation’s leading researchers of poverty.
The second group of professors, named in June, comprised sociologist Stephen Morgan, who studies predictors of student achievement; neuroscientist Patricia Janak, whose work focuses on the biological basis of behavior and associative learning; and organization theorist Kathleen Sutcliffe, who studies organizations and group decision making, with a special focus on reliability and safety, especially in health care.
With each of them appointed in two schools, they are contributing to the interconnection of research across divisions, at points of creative collaboration. Affiliated with the signature initiatives, they are helping catalyze these major interdivisional endeavors. As leaders in their fields, the BDPs are strengthening our academic programs and our ability to recruit lateral faculty. And as teachers and mentors to our undergraduates, they are shaping the next generation of thinkers at the crossroads of the disciplines.