Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award

Jianming Qian

Particle physicist Jianming Qian played a key role in the 2012 discovery of the long-sought Higgs boson, a cornerstone of the Standard Model describing the process through which elementary particles gain mass. Qian focuses on the study of matter at its smallest dimensions, pursuing questions regarding the origin of the universe and the structure of matter. He is recognized internationally for his research at the Fermilab Tevatron Accelerator in Illinois as well as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.

Discovery of the Higgs boson unlocked the mystery of electroweak symmetry breaking and advanced understanding of the origin of mass. It was the centerpiece of this year's Nobel Prize in physics. Qian was a leader of one of the Higgs working groups of the A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) collaboration. In 2011 and 2012, he led more than 100 physicists from around the world studying Higgs decay to W-pair. He organized the scientists into subgroups to study detector performance, the Higgs signature, and relevant background processes. The U-M group produced common physics analysis files for other researchers to use, a huge computational task. The group also prepared the final results of the Higgs discovery by the ATLAS experiment. He has presented his research at 50 colloquia and seminars and has published more than 800 articles.

An outstanding teacher, Qian is famous for flawless lectures on complex mathematical material, often delivered without notes. He developed the department's advanced particle physics seminar course, has served on the department's executive committee, chaired or convened ATLAS task forces, convened several particle physics community-wide studies in the United States, and organized numerous symposia. He is a fellow of the American Physics Society and has been recognized with LSA's Excellence in Education Award (twice) and Excellence in Research Award.

Learn more about Professor Jianming Qian by visiting his faculty biography.

Distinguished Faculty Governance Award

J. Keith Riles

Since joining the U-M faculty in 1992, J. Keith Riles has championed faculty participation in university governance and advocated for transparent administrative policies and procedures. As a Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs member from 2006-09 and in other leadership roles, he has spoken eloquently and forcefully on behalf of the professoriate regarding the responsibilities reserved to the faculty under the bylaws of the Board of Regents. He has addressed such important topics as faculty evaluation of administrators, student recruitment and retention and procedures to ensure democratic processes in school and college faculty governance.

He also is active in physics department governance, currently serving as associate chair for research and facilities and as an ex-officio member of the executive committee. A charter member of the Faculty Senate Administration Evaluation Committee, Riles has played a pivotal role in the annual faculty assessment of U-M leadership. He created the initial database of U-M administrative positions and faculty affiliations and has updated the database annually since the survey was launched in 2004.

As a member of the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee from 2005-09, Riles advocated for greater faculty authority over academic policies and helped pass AAAC resolutions concerning Office of the Registrar operations, undergraduate admissions and proposed changes to tenure policies. He also chaired the AAAC subcommittee that studied factors contributing to undergraduate academic success at U-M and authored the 142-page report, "Pre-Admissions Indicators and Undergraduate Student Academic Success at Michigan."

Riles received LSA's Excellence in Concentration Advising Award in 2004. He has served on or chaired 31 dissertation committees and supervised 24 senior theses and independent studies projects. He leads the Michigan Gravitational Wave Group, which uses the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory to probe the fundamental forces of nature. A fellow of the American Physical Society, he also is active in the International Astronomical Union and the American Astronomical Society.

Learn more about Professor Keith Riles by visiting his faculty biography.