Faculty excellence is commended

Meet the recipients of this year’s Faculty Senate awards.
Faculty excellence is commended
From left: Steve Cantrell, Kara Cavuoto, M.D., and A. Michael Froomkin

Each spring the Faculty Senate awards are presented to three outstanding members who are nominated and selected by their peers based on significant contributions to the University of Miami. The Senate established the awards to recognize and foster excellence, and while each of the awards has its own criteria, a common requirement is good character. 

Exceptional teaching, scholarship, and service are represented by recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Award, which began in 2000; the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award; and the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award. The latter two began in 1987. Get to know this year’s recipients and learn about their impact on the University community. 

Inspiring passionate physicians

As associate professor of clinical ophthalmology and pediatrics and director of medical student education in ophthalmology at the Miller School of Medicine, Kara Cavuoto, M.D., carries out her role at the University with a commitment to student success. 

“From early in her career as a resident and fellow at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, it was evident that Dr. Cavuoto was destined to be a teacher and mentor,” said Jayanth Sridhar, assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology at the Miller School of Medicine. “She is an exceptional faculty member who is impacting medical education in meaningful ways and is guiding the future career paths of our trainees.”

The profession, Cavuoto explains, found her, and the teaching side keeps her waking up in the morning to go to work. “Teaching occurs during each and every interaction, whether this be in the training of residents, fellows, and medical students or in the clinic with my patients,” Cavuoto added. “Seeing the instant when the ‘light bulb’ of understanding turns on is the highlight of every day.”

It’s this enthusiasm and dedication, which Cavuoto brings with her to other aspects of her life, that makes her this year’s Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. An avid traveler, she has visited all but one continent—Antarctica—and but one of the seven wonders of the world—the Taj Mahal in India. With a sense of adventure, Cavuoto brings to her work a unique perspective as a mentor, educator, and physician. 

Turning a hobby into a career

When your hobby becomes your job, free time and work blend seamlessly, according to A. Michael Froomkin, Laurie Silvers and Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law and member of the University’s Center for Computational Science. Since joining the law school faculty as an associate professor in 1992, he has held the Silvers Distinguished Professorship at the Law School—one of five chairs or named professorships at the School—for three renewable three-year terms beginning in 2010. 

An expert in privacy law, robot law, and technology law, including artificial intelligence (AI), Froomkin is recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the leading scholars in the areas of internet governance, ICANN, cryptography, robotics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, e-commerce, and privacy. His work falls into four groups united primarily by their focus on interactions between technology and the law, including foundational Internet law, Internet governance, the relation between technology and privacy, and foundational work on robot and AI regulation. 

“Throughout his academic career, Professor Froomkin has been a scholarly visionary in the law,” said Lili Levi, law professor and vice dean for intellectual life and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law. “He is also one of a rare breed—a public intellectual, commentator, and Internet transparency activist whose work is recognized within academic circles, government and NGO regulatory circles, and general public discourse.”

Among his accomplishments—including published articles, a co-edited book collection, and personal blog that he launched in 2003—Froomkin authored four of the earliest, and thus foundational, U.S. legal articles relating to the regulation of the Internet. These articles translated complex technology for lawyers and explained intricate U.S. constitutional law to technologists. Froomkin has significantly helped shape public and governmental discourse on some of the most important areas of Internet policy and privacy.

“He is a strong, prolific, and intellectually curious scholar, unafraid to address the most complex and controversial issues of the Internet age. He is highly regarded in the legal academy, and since his arrival here has served the intellectual life of the University of Miami community at large,” pointed out Levi.

“Having very early seen the potential for entire legal fields arising from the digital turn in technology, Professor Froomkin courageously set out to explore these areas analytically—in light of his expansive legal knowledge as well as his understanding of technology, economics, game theory, and political science,” added Levi. 

Before entering academia, Froomkin practiced international arbitration law in London and served as law clerk in Washington, D.C., and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Froomkin will receive the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award during the annual Faculty Senate reception. 

Leading by example

Since joining the University in 1982, Steve Cantrell—professor and chair of the department of mathematics, director of the Institute of the Mathematical Sciences of the Americas, and director of the Institute for Theoretical and Mathematical Ecology—has set an exemplary standard for service. 

As expressed by a group of colleagues—including David Kelly, professor of economics at the Herbert Business School; Joanna Lombard, professor at the School of Architecture; and professors Chris Cosner and Ludmil Katzarkov from the department of mathematics at the College of Arts and Sciences—who nominated Cantrell for the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award: “Steve has demonstrated to generations of students and faculty that service is fundamental to all that we do.” 

Cantrell has worked as a leader throughout his career, as a faculty adviser to the Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honorary Society, a faculty fellow at the residential colleges, and a member of numerous committees. The team that nominated Cantrell agrees that he demonstrates how “when done well and in collaboration with colleagues, service does not diminish our individual work, but rather enhances our capacities to understand our own fields from new perspectives and to appreciate the multiplying effect that shared service has on the capacity of the collective community to powerfully advance.”

In the world of academia, Cantrell’s contributions to analytical and evaluative committees remain extensive as evidenced in journal articles and research grants from the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Cantrell also received a Simons Foundation Award that launched the University’s Institute of the Mathematical Sciences of the Americas.

“Almost from my very first days as an undergraduate, I realized I was in my element in a university setting,” said Cantrell. “I felt at home.”


Learn more about the Faculty Senate and the awards ceremony where all three will be honored on Monday, April 13, at 5 p.m.