Ivan Allen College Researchers Receive Prestigious Regents’ Awards

Posted August 12, 2022

Ivan Allen College faculty members who help run a global nonprofit, research ways to make technology more accessible, and work to make engineering more equitable are among the Georgia Tech faculty members named to prestigious appointments by the Board of Regents.

At their August board meeting, regents named Kirk Bowman of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs to the inaugural group of Regents’ Entrepreneurs. They also named Willie Pearson of the School of History and Sociology as a Regents’ Professor and Brad Fain of the Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP) as a Regents’ Researcher.

Nunn School Regents’ Professor Seymour Goodman’s designation has also been renewed.

“The Ivan Allen College has truly outstanding faculty. These are well-deserved designations,” said Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean of the Ivan Allen College. “I’m excited the Board of Regents shares our appreciation for the innovative work these faculty members are doing to help expand our knowledge of the social sciences and humanities and for how their work demonstrates the crucial role of the liberal arts in advancing technology focused on the needs of all people.”

Bowman, Rise Up & Care Term Chair in Global Development and Identity, is among five Georgia Tech faculty members to receive the Regents’ Entrepreneur designation. The Board of Regents created the title to honor the “outstanding full-time tenured faculty member who has an established reputation as a successful innovator and who has taken their research into a commercial setting.”

Bowman is the co-founder of Rise Up & Care, a nonprofit spearheading an innovative method of global philanthropy that empowers local leaders through a cost-effective funding model for organizations such as badminton training centers, circuses, theatres, and dance troupes. He also leads the Global Social Entrepreneurship VIP, where Georgia Tech students learn about the model and work to help spread the word and generate resources for community leaders.

“This honor confirms the commitment of the Sam Nunn School, the Ivan Allen College, and the Institute to nurture a broad range of research and faculty activities,” Bowman said. “Over time, I have become increasingly interested in applied research, particularly those activities that can help transform communities and that include extensive student participation. The Regents’ Entrepreneur designation will give these projects a welcome boost in enthusiasm and resources."

“Recognition for Kirk Bowman’s contributions confirms that our College is successful at overcoming the erroneous definition of the liberal arts and entrepreneurship as polar opposites," said Richard Utz, senior associate dean in the Ivan Allen College.

Fain, CACP’s executive director and a principal research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), follows his predecessor, Helena Mitchell, in gaining the Regents’ Researcher title. Fain leads a team of research scientists who focus on issues related to the development, implementation, and adoption of communications technologies, especially among aging populations and people with disabilities.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be recognized as Regents’ Researcher,” Fain said. “My journey at Georgia Tech started in 1987 when I entered as an Electrical Engineering student. Little did I know when I accepted a student researcher position at GTRI that it would lead to a long and wonderful career culminating in this honor. As Regents’ Researcher, I hope to use this opportunity afforded to me to continue to advocate for older adults, children with chronic diseases, and people with disabilities using human systems engineering principles to guide inclusive design.”

Pearson, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, was named Regents’ Professor.

He is a sociologist and co-editor of the groundbreaking book, Changing the Face of Engineering: The African American Experience. The 2015 book was the first compilation of interdisciplinary research demonstrating and documenting the underrepresentation of black engineers.

Throughout his career, Pearson has received research grants from the NSF, National Endowment for the Humanities, Sloan Foundation, and the Department of Justice. In addition to these accomplishments, he has won several awards, such as the Southern Illinois University’s College of Liberal Arts Alumni Achievement Award (1993). He was designated a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies in 2001.

In addition to Bowman, Fain, and Pearson, the Regents’ Designation for Goodman has been renewed for a second time. The Board of Regents first named Goodman a Regents’ Professor in 2016.

In 2020, the Board bestowed the Regents’ Professor title on School of Literature, Media, and Communication Professor Lisa Yaszek and School of Public Policy Professor Marilyn Brown.

To learn more about all the Georgia Tech faculty members awarded Regents' appointments, read the Institute Communications story.

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Michael Pearson
Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts