New Named and Distinguished Service Professors Announced

December 30, 2019


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Three faculty in the Division of the Social Sciences were elevated to a distinguished service professorship or confirmed for named professorships by the University’s Board of Trustees at their December meeting.


Cathy Cohen, The David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Political Science and the College

Throughout her career, Cohen’s research has challenged her discipline to reimagine the boundaries of the political sphere and to reevaluate conventional assumptions about the nature of political activity. Her award-winning book, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (1999, University of Chicago Press), is highly cited and remains influential in the field twenty years after its publication. Her more recent work, including Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (2010, Oxford University Press), and numerous scholarly articles, chapters and research reports, has continued a trajectory of highly cited and impactful research. Over the past several years, Cohen has launched a transformative and ambitious new project, the GenForward Survey, a nationally representative and intensive survey of young adults that pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how respondents experience and think about the world. GenForward is attracting a great deal of attention among scholars and in the mainstream media for its unique role in revealing the experiences and views of minority groups and challenging long-held assumptions about their political attitudes. 


Cohen has held leadership positions at the University and within the academy. Among those roles, she was the director of the Center for the Study of Race Politics and Culture (2002 to 2005 and 2017-18), Deputy Provost for Graduate Education (2008-2011), and Chair of the Political Science Department (2013-2016). She is a member of the Board of the Russell Sage Foundation, and has served in advisory and leadership roles in the American Political Science Association, the Social Science Research Council, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


Her contributions as a scholar and educator have been acknowledged by a number of awards, including the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2012), the Kessler Award from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (2014), and the Inaugural Diversity Leadership Faculty Award given by the University of Chicago (2015). She was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1993, and prior to joining UChicago, was on the faculty in Political Science and African American Studies at Yale from 1993-2002, where she was the first African American woman to receive tenure in the social sciences.


Ufuk Akcigit, the inaugural Arnold C. Harberger Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the College

A macroeconomist who examines economic growth, entrepreneurship, and the economics of innovation, productivity, and firm dynamics, Akcigit is a leader in the study of innovation and its role in economic growth. By recruiting microlevel data to inform macroeconomic models, his work unites traditionally separate approaches in the field. By compiling large-scale historical and international datasets, he brings empirical evidence to bear on questions of longstanding theoretical interest. 


Akcigit’s contributions to scholarship and policy have been recognized by a number of prestigious awards, including a National Science Foundation Career Award, the Asaf Savas Akat Economics Prize, and the Kiel Institute Excellence Award in Global Economic Affairs. Most recently, he was awarded the 2019 Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society and endowed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. His research is widely cited in policy reports, including those issued by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He holds consulting roles with the IMF, the Danish Ministry of Science and Education, and the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and of the Center for Economic Policy Research, a distinguished research fellow at Koc University, and a senior research fellow at Brookings Institute.


He received his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 2009.  After holding a faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania from 2009-2015, he joined UChicago in 2015, earning tenure in 2018 and promotion to the rank of Professor earlier this year.


Stéphane Bonhomme, the Ann L. and Lawrence B. Buttenwieser Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the College

An econometrician with methodological focus on latent variable modeling and panel data, Bonhomme forges connections between econometric theory and econometric practice, an important tradition for UChicago economics. He has contributed to several important lines of research including how to accommodate heterogeneity—a long-standing problem in the social sciences—in a flexible but feasible way. Some of the questions he addresses in his empirical work include the study of income inequality and mobility, the role of firms and workers in wage determination, and the joint dynamics of income and consumption. His research has been internationally recognized by a number of publications in top journals in economics, and the methods he has developed have been applied to a variety of settings. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the International Association for Applied Econometrics, a Co-Editor of the Econometric Society Monograph Series, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Econometrics, Quantitative Economics, and the Journal of Economic Methods.  He previously served as a Co-Editor of theReview of Economic Studies.


Bonhomme joined UChicago in 2013, having previously served as Professor at CEMFI in Madrid, Spain (2010-13), Assistant Professor at NYU (2009-10) and Assistant Professor at CEMFI (2005-09).