Albert W. Johnson University Research Lectureship

Award Description

The Albert W. Johnson University Research Lectureship is awarded annually to an SDSU faculty member for outstanding achievement in research and scholarship. Its purpose is to recognize such achievement, foster its continuation, and enable a distinguished resident faculty scholar to share their knowledge more broadly with and beyond the academic community. The Lectureship is the University's highest recognition of research and scholarly achievement. The Division of Research and Innovation sponsors the Lectureship with funding partially endowed through the Albert W. Johnson fund.

The recipient delivers a public lecture during the spring semester and is named a Distinguished Professor in their discipline for the remainder of their tenure and retirement at SDSU (this title is not transferrable should a faculty member resign and leave SDSU for a different institution). The title of Distinguised Professor recognizes senior faculty who are nationally and internationally renowned for their innovative body of work and its transformational impact on the field. The Lectureship is awarded to faculty working at the very top of their discipline and who are recognized as a preeminent leader in their field of study. The recipient receives $30,000 in research support. Tenured, full professors who have been on the SDSU faculty for at least 5 years are eligible for this award. 

Eligibility: Tenured professors who have been at the full rank for at least 3 years and have been at SDSU for at least 5 years.

Nomination Process

  • Nominations can be made from any tenured or tenure-track faculty member at SDSU. Self-nominations are not allowed.
  • Persons making nominations are asked to contact the nominee to ascertain their willingness to accept the lectureship, should it be offered, before the nomination application is submitted.
  • Nominators must inform the Dean of the nominee's college of their intent to nominate their colleague before the nominator submits the application.
  • Please submit nomination packages through the SDSU InfoReady competitions portal ( Submit under the program titled "2023 Albert W. Johnsons Lectureship Award."
  • Nominations are due 11/7/2022.

Nomination Materials

  • The following nomination materials are required for the application: 
    • Nomination information submitted via SDSU InfoReady (e.g., nominee's name, nominator's name, etc).
    • A nomination letter (3-pages maximum) clearly describing the evidence of prominence and transformational impact of the nominee's work, as well as the promise of ongoing and future impactful scholarly work. 
    • Two external letters of recommendation from senior scholars from the nominee's field of expertise. Letters from previous academic mentors/advisors are discouraged. Please do not submit more than two external letters.
    • Brief bios (<1 page) of the two required letter writers. These bios should demonstrate the letter writer's suitability to evaluate the nominee. 
    • Nominee's curriculum vitae (CV). 
  • Please upload and submit a single PDF file that includes the nomination letter, external letters of recommendation, brief bios of the letter writers, and the nominee's CV. 

Evaluation and Selection Process

  • Nomination packages will be reviewed by two previous Albert W. Johnson awardees and the Chair of the Senate Faculty Honors and Awards Committee.
  • Review criteria includes evidence of outstanding and impactful research/scholarship, visibility (national and international) of research/scholarship, other research/scholarship awards or honors, evidence for student engagement in research, and external letters of recommendation.
  • The review committee will provide a ranked recommendation to the Vice President for Research and Innovation for final selection.
  • The Division of Research and Innovation will announce the recipient of the 2023 Albert W. Johnson award before 01/15/2023.

Please direct questions about the 2023 AWJ Lectureship to Mark Reed ([email protected]).

2022 AWJ Lecturer: Chris Mi

Chris Mi's lecture, “Wireless Power Transfer – from Science Fiction to Reality,” took place on March 10.

Growing up in a rural area of the eastern Chinese province Anhui, Chunting “Chris” Mi used oil lamps to read at night because there was no electricity in his small village. Once he went to college and began his path as an engineer, he and his father fantasized about building a windmill to bring power to their neighbors. 
The town eventually got electricity without Mi’s intervention, but by then an idea was firmly planted in his mind: to bring electricity, and electrical innovations, to everyone – no matter their circumstance. 
Now Mi is the chair of San Diego State University’s electrical and computer engineering department, leader of SDSU’s GATE Center for Electric Drive Transportation, and an accomplished researcher whose work has made charging electric vehicles far-and-wide cheaper, faster, safer and more efficient. 
Mi’s research encompasses wireless charging, battery management systems, and sustainable energy grids. He is also helping a team of San Diego-based researchers build flying taxis in a $5.8 million project funded by NASA, designing a lightweight propulsion system that allows the air-taxis to take off and land vertically. 
Mi is the recipient of the 2022 Albert W. Johnson Research Lectureship, SDSU’s highest research honor. 

“Chris is a phenomenal researcher and colleague,” said Hala Madanat, interim vice president for research and innovation. “He truly wants to improve the world for everyone, and his research is essential to making wireless charging more ubiquitous and renewable energy more sustainable.”

Learn more about Dr. Mi.