C. Neal Tate, professor and chair of political science, and professor of law, is the 2009 winner of the Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award. The annual award recognizes a Vanderbilt scholar whose work has and will continue to have wide influence in the solution of contemporary social problems.
As the 2009 recipient, Professor Tate will carry the title Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor for one year and receives a cash prize.
Professor Tate joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2003 after serving as Dean of the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies and Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of North Texas. His scholarship focuses on international human rights and the workings of judicial institutions around the world. He has painstakingly produced a detailed database containing information about how judicial courts and systems work in nations around the globe that has become a valuable resource for other scholars. His research also illustrated the oppressive effects on a society when human rights are denied, and substantiated that international agreements actually do advance the cause of human rights.
"Neal’s career is an example of someone who has sought to understand and solve social problems that strike at the very heart of the human condition," said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, who presented the award to Professor Tate at the spring faculty assembly on April 17, 2009.