Stevenson, Cortina receive 2022 public engagement awards


President Santa J. Ono is honoring University of Michigan faculty members Betsey Stevenson and Lilia Cortina with the 2022 presidential awards for public engagement.

The awards recognize the recipients’ demonstrated commitment to public service, contributions to significantly impact society through national and state leadership, and efforts to address the challenges communities face every day.

Stevenson, professor of public policy in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and professor of economics in LSA, will receive the President’s Award for National and State Leadership, which honors a faculty member who provides sustained, dedicated and influential leadership and service in major national or state capacities.

Cortina, a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor and professor of psychology and of women’s and gender studies in LSA, and professor of management and organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, will receive the President’s Award for Public Impact honoring a faculty member whose research and expertise tangibly addresses a major public-sector challenge.

The pair will be honored at a ceremony April 3 at the U-M Museum of Art.

“My most sincere congratulations to Professors Cortina and Stevenson for their achievements and accolades, but even more for their leadership, scholarship and impact,” Ono said.

“Professor Cortina’s focus on incivility and sexual harassment has been critical for creating more inclusive, respectful and diverse work environments, and Professor Stevenson’s insights into the changing labor market and its impact on families has been essential for reducing inequality and guiding public policy.”

Stevenson is a nationally renowned labor economist who advised President Barack Obama as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and was an economic adviser to the Biden-Harris Transition Agency Review for the U.S. Department of Treasury.

She has testified before Congress numerous times including before the Joint Economic Committee, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy, and the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. She also has made more than 250 media appearances in the past two years.

“My goal from the early days of my career was to do research that mattered for people’s well-being and to communicate what we know about what works to the policy makers whose choices ultimately shape our lives,” Stevenson said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to have my efforts to shape the public’s and policy makers’ understanding of the economy and economic policy recognized by the university with this award.”

Celeste Watkins-Hayes, interim dean of the Ford School, nominated Stevenson for the ways in which she embodies the university’s mission of service to the state and nation and her continuous efforts to integrate research, public service and policy impact.

“We’re so proud of Betsey! Her research and engagement are both rigorous and deeply relevant to policy making, exemplifying the very best of Ford School and U-M faculty. Through presidential appointments, engagement with Congress and federal agencies, national media appearances and more, she’s had a real impact on public policies related to women’s labor market experiences and the economic forces that shape the modern family,” Watkins-Hayes wrote.

Cortina is an acclaimed leader in the study of women and gender in the workplace. She investigates the many ways in which people are violated, from subtle slights to harassment.

She has published nearly 100 scientific articles, book chapters and opinion pieces, with much of her work receiving major news media coverage. In 2018, Cortina co-authored a landmark report on sexual harassment as part of a consensus study commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that has been referenced in five proposed pieces of legislation and hearings.

“It brings me great honor to receive the President’s Award for Public Impact,” Cortina said. “For many years I have been involved in research and action to combat sexual harassment, most recently in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. I am grateful to President Ono for recognizing that work.”

Nestor Lopez-Duran, interim department chair and professor of psychology, nominated Cortina, emphasizing how she uses her expertise and research acumen to impact communities through her work on the 2018 sexual harassment report and her testimony on legal issues related to sexual harassment.

“Lilia Cortina’s research has been at the forefront of understanding and addressing the complex issues of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. Her work has had a profound impact on our field and the public at large, leading to meaningful changes in policies and attitudes across many industries and settings,” Lopez-Duran said.

“Her work was instrumental in changing the culture in STEM in regard to sexual harassment and led to several federal bills being considered in Congress to address sexual harassment in the workplace.”


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