Martin W. Slobin
Martin W. Slobin, adjunct lecturer in behavioral sciences and social sciences at U-M-Dearborn, died of natural causes Dec. 6 in his campus office. He was 55.
Slobin had taught numerous classes in sociology and political science since joining the Dearborn faculty in 1979.
In 1999, Slobin received the campus’ Distinguished Teaching Award. At that time, a former student said, “Words cannot describe what this man does in a classroom. He has an uncanny way of motivating his students to do better.”
Bernard Klein, professor emeritus of political science and interim chancellor emeritus, noted that Slobin “has succeeded in making the study of political science meaningful in the lives of his students.”
“Marty’s whole life was devoted to his students and his teaching,” said Barry Bogin, professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences. “Many of his students really loved the man, and that is the highest praise for any teacher.”
In addition to his teaching, Slobin served as the faculty adviser for the campus’ student chapter of the NAACP and another group, Individuals for Understanding Through Respect and Growth.
A native of Detroit, Slobin received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University. As an undergraduate, Slobin received several scholarships and awards. He was a member of several honor societies, as well as of B’nai B’rith. In addition to his work at U-M-Dearborn, Slobin also taught at Wayne State University and Henry Ford Community College.
“Marty’s death is a great loss to his students, his colleagues and the whole University community,” Chancellor Daniel Little said. “I attended his class on congressional elections and was able to see firsthand the respect and affection his students felt for him. We will miss him on campus.”
Jacqueline Lawson, associate professor of English at U-M-Dearborn, died Jan. 8, following a brief illness. She was 49.
Lawson, who joined the Dearborn faculty in 1985, taught classes in 18th-century British and 20th-century American literature, as well as press law, ethics and the history of journalism.
Lawson earned her bachelor’s degree in English and journalism and a master’s degree in English from Western Washington University. She also held a master’s degree in English from Simmons College and a Ph.D. in English from Brown University.
A gifted and dedicated teacher, Lawson was especially committed to the liberal arts and to the education of working-class students. Her enthusiasm in the classroom won the admiration of her students and the respect of her colleagues.
Lawson was awarded Dearborn’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1986, her first year at Dearborn, and received a Distinguished Faculty Award in 1989 from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State Universities. In 1998, she received the Faculty Appreciation Award from student-athletes for her outstanding support of academics and athletics.
“Her admirable and energetic performance of this role has been appreciated by faculty throughout the University of Michigan,” said Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. “Jackie made a powerful mark on the institution during her years at U-M-Dearborn and profoundly affected all with whom she interacted, including students, faculty and staff. We will remember her for her intellectual vitality, her concern for the University and her unflagging willingness to speak her mind about the issues that were important to her.”
As a scholar, Lawson was the author of several articles on Vietnam War literature, one of which received the American Culture Association’s Carl Bode Award in 1990, as well as of a book on the 18th-century British novel.
An ardent defender of faculty governance and academic freedom, she served the University and her colleagues in a variety of elected roles.
At Dearborn, she served on numerous campus committees and was chair of the Faculty Senate in 1995–96.
She also served as Dearborn’s elected representative to Senate Assembly for three years and was elected chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) on the Ann Arbor campus for 2000–01, the first faculty member from Dearborn or Flint to be elected to that position.
She was a member of the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee (AAAC) and of the board of directors of the Academic Freedom Lecture Fund.
“Jackie was a model citizen of our scholarly community, always willing to give of herself for the common good,” said Provost Nancy Cantor. “She made a powerful mark on all of us as a person of intelligence, integrity and decency. I will personally miss our colleagueship and friendship a great deal, but I feel privileged to have worked closely with Jackie on both AAAC and SACUA.”
Regent Rebecca McGowan said that Lawson’s “effectiveness in communicating with the Board of Regents while chair of SACUA was remarkable. She put the University’s values front and center, she was completely prepared in every instance, and she conducted the conversation with commitment and grace. Her welcome smile never belied the firmness of her presentation. She has left us far, far too soon.”
Lawson was born May 10, 1951, in Seattle, Wash., and grew up in nearby Bellevue. She married Jonathan Smith, also a member of the Dearborn faculty, in 1994. In addition to her husband, Lawson is survived by her brothers, Ron Lawson of Houston and Gary Lawson of Acton, Mass., and their families; mother, Lillian, of Seattle; and many devoted friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Bernard Lawson.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Jackie Lawson Memorial Fund c/o the Faculty Senate Office, 6048 Fleming Administration Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, or to the Scleroderma Foundation, 12 Kent Way, Suite 101, Byfield, MA. 09122.
From U-M-Dearborn and the family