Four Santa Monica College professors have been named 2011 winners of Chairs of Excellence.

The winners, who will each receive $5,000 a year for each of the next three years to be used for special projects, include:

Music professor Yulia Kozlova, the Ilona Jo Katz Chair of Excellence in Music;

Geography professor Vicki Drake, the John Drescher Chair of Excellence in Earth Science;

Business professor Sal Veas, the Carol and Bill Ouchi Chair of Excellence in Business; and

Nursing professor Eve Adler, the St. John’s Health Center Chair of Excellence in Nursing.

The Chairs of Excellence are administered by the SMC Foundation and are named for their primary benefactors. Aside from music, geography, business and nursing, the other chairs are in physical science, life science, philosophy and social science, communication, visual arts and performing arts.

“SMC is proud to offer these Chair of Excellence awards to outstanding professors who have developed projects that will enhance their teaching and enrich the academic experience for our students,” said SMC President Chui L. Tsang.

Kozlova, an accomplished pianist as well as professor, plans to use her funds to organize an annual lecture-concert series involving faculty, students and guest artists to explore the relationship between classical music and visual arts, poetry and literature. As part of that series, Kozlova says she will also conduct research, particularly on composers in Russia and Lithuania whose works are currently not in print in the United States.

Drake, chair of SMC’s Earth Science Department, plans to enlist the aid of current and former SMC Geography Information Systems students to assist in her research, which she says uses sophisticated geospatial technologies, on post-fire vegetation recovery in chaparral communities.

Veas plans to create a social media marketing course and develop a long-term plan to embed social marketing into the business curriculum that will include research, student internships, and guest speakers.

With her funds, Adler hopes to further develop a collaboration she has started with the Nurse Advisor Project in Thailand to allow nursing students at SMC and in Thailand to gain a better understanding of how culture and environment affect health in various communities.