Professors of Distinction

The honorific title College Professor of Distinction is reserved for scholars and artists of national and international distinction who are also recognized by their College peers as teachers and colleagues of exceptional talent.

Susan K. Kent, Carole E. Newlands and Richard K. Olson have been named College Professors of Distinction in 2015 by the College of Arts & Sciences in recognition of their exceptional service, teaching and research.


Susan K. Kent | Department of History 2015

Susan Kent is a professor of history at CU-Boulder. She earned her Ph.D. in comparative history at Brandeis University in 1984. After a few stints as a visiting professor, she took up a postdoc at the University of Rochester in 1987 and 1988. She moved to the University of Florida in 1988 and then to CU in 1993. That year, she also held a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She has spent most of her career as a British historian, specializing in gender and empire, but lately she has broadened her scope to encompass global or world history. She is the author of 11 books (two of them co-authored) and is currently writing a global history of the 1930s with a former student. She worked as associate vice chancellor for faculty affairs between 2001 and 2005 and served as chair of the Department of History from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2014.

Carole E. Newlands | Department of Classics 2015

Carole Newlands has been a professor of classics at CU-Boulder since 2009. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor at Cornell University, an associate professor at UCLA and a full professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, serving four years as the department chair. She has held research fellowships at Clare Hall Cambridge and at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, as well as fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. She also served on the editorial board of the journals Viator, Classical Antiquity and American Journal of Philology and was a director of the Classics Association of America. In spring 2010, she was visiting NEH professor at the University of Richmond. In the summer of 2010, she held the position of William Evans Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In 2016, she will be a research fellow at the Center for Humanities at the National University of Australia, Canberra. In addition, she is the author of more than 40 articles on classical and medieval topics, and she has published several books, including Playing with Time: Ovid and the Fasti (Cornell University Press 1995); Statius Siluae and the Poetics of Empire (Cambridge 2002); Siluae Book 2 (Cambridge Greek and Latin series 2011); Statius: a Poet between Rome and Naples (London 2012); Ovid: an introduction (London 2015). She is also co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Ovid (Oxford 2014); The Brill Companion to Statius (Leiden 2015); and Ancient Campania (Illinois 2015). Her new work involves travel in the imperial Roman world and the role that the classics played in Scottish culture.

Richard K. Olson | Department of Psychology 2015

Richard K. Olson is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and a fellow of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1970 and joined the CU-Boulder faculty that same year. Professor Olson is a developmental cognitive psychologist with expertise in the area of genetic and environmental influences on reading and related skills. He has served as president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading and received the society’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 2006. He has also been an active member of the International Dyslexia Association and received its Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecture Award in 2005. His highly collaborative research program on reading ability and disability has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health since 1979. In 1990, he co-founded the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center (CLDRC) with John DeFries, and he has served as the center’s principal investigator and director since 2005. In 2000, he co-founded the International Longitudinal Twin Study (ILTS) of reading and attention with Brian Byrne in Australia and Stefan Samuelsson in Sweden. The CLDRC and ILTS research with identical and fraternal twins and their DNA has shown that most of the population variance in reading ability and disability is due to genetic influences, although as co-investigator Janice Keenan has shown, genes influencing word reading differ somewhat from those influencing comprehension. Together with co-investigators Bruce Pennington and Erik Willcutt, they have also shown that there are shared genetic influences on attention, executive function and reading ability. Evidence for genetic influences emphasizes the need for extraordinary environmental support for many children with reading disabilities. Professor Olson has worked with his former Ph.D. student Barbara Wise to show how computer programs in the Boulder Valley schools can help provide this support.


Jeffrey N. Cox | Department of English 2014

Jeffrey N. Cox received his B.A. from Wesleyan University (1975) and his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia (1981) and rose through the ranks at Texas A&M University. He moved to CU-Boulder in 1998 as the first full-time Director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts; he is a Professor of English, of Comparative Literature, and of Humanities. Recognized by the Keats-Shelley Association of America with its Distinguished Scholar Award in 2009, he is the author or editor of 10 volumes, including In the Shadows of Romance: Romantic Tragic Drama in Germany, England, and France (1987), acknowledged in 2011 by the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism as a “Book that Shaped the Field,” Poetry and Politics in the Cockney School: Shelley, Keats, Hunt, and their Circle (1998), granted the Best Book Award of the South Central Modern Language Association, and Keats’s Poetry and Prose: A Norton Critical Edition (2008). His Romanticism in the Shadow of War: The Culture of the Napoleonic War Years will appear Fall 2014 from Cambridge University Press. He currently serves as Vice Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Affairs.

John P. Cumalat | Department of Physics 2014

John P. Cumalat is a Professor of Physics and past-Chair of the Department of Physics (1996-2008). He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, served as a postdoc and Wilson Fellow at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1981. Dr. Cumalat is an experimentalist in high-energy physics and particle physics. He has worked on several experiments. He was spokesperson for two Fermilab experiments studying charm quarks and played a leading role in designing and constructing the highest energy photon beam. Since 2005, he has worked at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, on the Compact Muon Spectrometer (CMS) experiment, and he is a co-discoverer of the Higgs boson. Currently he is searching for evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model. He also works on developing radiation-tolerant sensors.


Barbara Demmig-Adams | Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 2013

demmig-adamsBarbara Demmig-Adams was born and raised in Germany, and received her degrees in plant biology (doctorate in 1984 and habilitation in 1989) from the University of Würzburg, Germany. She was postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (Stanford) from 1984-1986. After returning to the University of Würzburg, she discovered that a group of plant carotenoids acts to avert damage from excess absorbed sunlight in a photoprotective process, without which photosynthetic organisms would not be able to provide food, fuel, materials, and other services to all other lifeforms. In 1989, she moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA, with her husband William W. Adams III, together with whom she discovered differences in the manifestation of the photoprotection of photosynthesis in different plant species and environments. Her current research focuses on integrating photosynthesis with other plant functions, and on algal biofuels. She has been a professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology since 1990. She is recipient of a 1992-1997 Packard Fellowship, of BFA awards in research (2006) and teaching (2010), was elected to Leopoldina (joint National Academies of Sciences of Germany, Austria and Switzerland) in 2011. She is a Highly Cited Researcher (<0.5% of publishing researchers) in the Plant & Animal Science category (ISI).


Natalie Ahn | Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 2012

ahnNatalie Ahn received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Washington (1979), and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1985), where she studied mechanistic enzymology with Judith Klinman. She carried out postdoctoral studies at the Univ. of Washington, first as an NRSA fellow with Christoph de Haën and later as a Merck Fellow with Edwin Krebs, where she discovered key regulators of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway, which are important targets for anti-cancer therapies. She came to CU-Boulder in 1992, and is Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Director of the Predoctoral Training Program in Signaling and Cellular Regulation, and Associate Director of the BioFrontiers Institute. Current research investigates enzymatic and cellular mechanisms underlying cell signaling, uses technologies in functional proteomics and hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry for signal transduction research.

Keith Maskus | Department of Economics 2012

maskusKeith Maskus received his BA from Knox College in 1976 and his PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1981, when he joined the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has had visiting appointments as Senior Economist at the U.S. Department of State, Lead Economist at the World Bank, and as Visiting Scholar at the University of Bocconi, Peking University, and the CES-Ifo Institute at the University of Munich. He holds the rank of Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide and is a Research Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Kiel Institute for World Economics. Maskus consults widely on issues of international trade policy and intellectual property rights, including for the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the World Trade Organization. He is the author of over 100 published articles and author or editor of 14 books and monographs. His most recent authored volume is Private Rights and Public Problems: the Global Economics of Intellectual Property Rights, which is to be published in late 2012 by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Maskus currently serves as the Associate Dean for Social Sciences.


Chris Greene | Department of Physics 2011

greeneChris Greene grew up in eastern Nebraska and attended Ashland-Greenwood High School, and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1976. He earned a PhD in theoretical atomic physics from the University of Chicago in 1980 under Ugo Fano, followed by a postdoctoral stint at Stanford University with Richard Zare. His first faculty appointment was at Louisiana State University, from 1981-1988, and he has been on the CU faculty as Professor of Physics and a Fellow of JILA since 1989, serving as Chair of JILA during 2005-2006.

Steve Chan | Political Science 2011

chanProfessor Chan received his B.A. from Tulane University in 1970, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1976. He joined the University of Colorado in 1984. He was the recipient of two Fulbright awards, and the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Foreign Policy Section of the International Studies Association. Most recently, he received fellowship grants from the East Asia Institute and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. He has taught as visiting faculty in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and France. His publications include fourteen books, the latest of which is entitled Looking for Balance: China, the United States, and Power Balancing in East Asia (Stanford University Press, 2012). His broad research and teaching interests pertain to theories of international relations and political economy, especially as they are applied to East Asia. He is currently serving as the director of the Farrand Residence Academic Program.


Leslie Leinwand | Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology 2010

leinwandDr. Leinwand is a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Professor and Director of the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was recruited to be Chair of MCDB in 1995. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, her PhD from Yale University and did post-doctoral training at Rockefeller University. She joined the faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1981 and remained there until moving to Colorado. While at Albert Einstein she became a Full Professor and was Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center. Once moved to Colorado, along with Michael Bristow, she founded the intercampus University of Colorado Cardiovascular Institute which promotes research and training in cardiovascular disease. They, along with Eric Olson at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, founded Myogen, Inc. which was recently sold to Gilead Pharmaceuticals. More recently, she was a co-founder of Hiberna, Inc, a biotechnology company using pythons and hibernating ground squirrels to develop novel pharmaceuticals. Her work as a cardiac biologist is of importance to both basic scientists and clinicians. The interests of Dr. Leinwand’s laboratory are the genetics and molecular physiology of inherited diseases of the heart and how gender and diet modify the heart. The study of these diseases has required multidisciplinary approaches, involving molecular biology, mouse genetics, mouse cardiac physiology, and the analysis of human tissues. To accomplish this, Dr. Leinwand has developed a highly collaborative group in Boulder, bringing together specialized basic scientists and clinical cardiologists. Her laboratory’s efforts are well-funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health and her teaching is recognized by funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Professor Program. She is also the Principle Investigator of the HHMI program called the Biological Sciences Initiative which supports undergraduate research, K-12 outreach and educational programs for high school teachers.

Fred Anderson | Department of History 2010

andersonFred Anderson received his B.A. from Colorado State University in 1971 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1981. He has taught in the CU History department since 1983. In addition to two CU Faculty Fellowships, he has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Warren Center of Harvard University, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He is the author or editor of five books, including Crucible of War: The Seven Years War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (2000), which won the Francis Parkman Prize and inspired the Public Broadcasting System television series The War That Made America(2005). Together with Andrew Cayton, Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) he has most recently published The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000 (2005). He and Cayton are currently writing Imperial America, 1672-1764, a volume that they hope to live long enough to see published in the Oxford History of the United States.


Juri Toomre | Astrophysics 2009

toomreJuri Toomre is intrigued by the complex fluid motions within stars like our Sun that allow such great balls of gas to rotate differentially and to build strong magnetic fields that burst out of their surfaces. Such work in theoretical astrophysics is aided by Juri’s research group carrying out major numerical simulations of the interaction of turbulent convection with rotation and magnetism, now feasible with massively parallel supercomputers. To guide and challenge such theory, Juri is an active participant in helioseismology that deduces the inner workings of our nearest star by observing its oscillations from space and ground. He did his undergraduate studies at M.I.T (1963) and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge (1967). Juri joined CU in 1971, and is a Professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and a Fellow of JILA.

John Wahr | Physics and CIRES 2009

wahrJohn Wahr is a Professor of Physics and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. He received his PhD from the University of Colorado in 1979, and joined the CU faculty in 1983. Wahr is a geophysicist. He has worked on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the Earth’s core and mantle, to groundwater and ice sheets, to the atmosphere and oceans, to planetary moons. During the last few years, much of his research has involved using various kinds of satellite observations to monitor and better understand ongoing changes in the distribution of water on Earth, in both liquid and solid (snow and ice) form.

John O’Loughlin | Geography 2009

oloughlinJohn O’Loughlin is Professor of Geography and Faculty Research Associate in the Political and Economic Change Program of the Institute of Behavioral Science. He received his BA (Hons) degree from University College Dublin (1969) and his PhD from the Pennsylvania State University in 1973. He was at the University of Illinois for 15 years before joining the CU-Boulder faculty in 1988. Professor O’Loughlin’s specialty is political geography with a concentration on the geographic distributions and causes of conflict. His field research has focused on the post-Communist societies of the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union, with a particular interest in nationalist mobilization, inter-ethnic relations, and the dynamics of local wars. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and by fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Alexander von Humboldt foundations. He teaches introductory human geography classes as well as advanced classes for International Affairs and Geography majors. He has served as Chair of the geography department and has been editor of Political Geography since its founding in 1981.

Jerry W. Rudy | Psychology and Neurosciences 2009

rudyJerry W. Rudy, Professor, received his Ph.D. in Psychology in 1970 from the University of Virginia. He joined the University of Colorado Department of Psychology and Neuroscience in 1980, after holding faculty positions at the University of Rochester and Princeton University. He served as chair of the department from 1995 to 2003. Dr. Rudy’s work is in the area of learning and memory and his research has focused on understanding the contribution of the hippocampus to memory. He is the author of a recently published book, The Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Outside of his academic pursuits he has been actively engaged as a tennis player and coach and in honing his skills as a guitarist, including a two-year stint in a local gypsy jazz band. He has twice served as President of the Board of Directors of Imagine!, for the Boulder County center for developmental disabilities.


Alison Jaggar | Philosophy 2008

jaggarAlison Jaggar established her reputation as both a pioneer in feminist philosophy and a founder of the discipline of women and gender studies. She arrived at CU-Boulder in 1990 and currently teaches in both Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies. During the 1990s, Jaggar’s research focused mainly on moral epistemology, exploring the possibility of cross-cultural social criticism in contexts of diversity and inequality. For the past ten years, Jaggar has been working in the area of global gender justice, investigating the gendered dimensions of the moral and political issues that are raised by increasing integration of the global economic and political order.

Doug Seals | Integrative Physiology 2008

sealsDoug Seals joined the faculty at UC Boulder in 1992 and currently is Professor of Integrative Physiology. His broad research interest is the integrative physiology and pathophysiology of aging with a particular focus on “arterial aging”. Dr. Seals’ laboratory provides research training from the undergraduate to postdoctoral levels and is supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging. He teaches courses on the physiology of aging and on professional skills for the research scientist.

Michael Shull | Astrophysics 2008

shullMichael Shull is Professor of Astrophysics and past-Chair of the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his B.S. in Physics from Caltech (1972) and his Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University (1976). After working as a researcher at UC Berkeley, he joined the CU faculty in fall 1977. Dr. Shull’s research is in theoretical astrophysics and space astronomy. His astronomical interests include studies of gas between the stars and galaxies, exploding stars (supernovae), and galaxy formation. He and his studentsand postdocs are frequent users of the Hubble Space Telescope, including a new CU instrument to be installed on Hubble in 2009.

Payson Sheets | Anthropology 2008

sheetsPayson Sheets, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, is a leading expert in the archeology of Mesoamerica and the Intermediate Area of lower Central America, focusing on the interrelationships between human societies and volcanic processes in tropical climates. He has incorporated remote sensing with geophysical data to detect and explore the remains of human activity in Central America. His recent research has focused on the Ceren site, catastrophically buried by the eruption of nearby Loma Caldera volcano in AD 590. At this remarkable site, structures are preserved, including their thatch roofs and their entire artifactual contents, and fields with their cultigens are intact. Undergraduate and graduate students are included in field and laboratory research. Professor Sheets has won numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, NASA and the Colorado Historical Society. He has published 10 books, more than 20 book chapters, and dozens of refereed journal articles.


Gerard Hauser | Communication 2007

HauserJerry Hauser joined the faculty at CU Boulder in 1993 as Professor of Communication. He also has been a contributing faculty member to Comparative Literature since 1995. His research focuses on the history of rhetorical theory, the role of rhetoric in a democracy, and the interaction between formal and vernacular rhetoric within the public sphere. His theoretical and critical work includes development of the reticulate model of public spheres, the vernacular rhetoric model of public opinion, and developing, with his doctoral students, integration of ethnographic and critical methods for studying vernacular discourse.

Alice Healy | Psychology 2007

HealyAlice Healy received her doctorate from The Rockefeller University in 1973 and was on the faculty of Yale University from 1973 to 1981. She joined the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1981 and is currently College Professor of Distinction and Director of the Center for Research on Training there. She is also currently the principal investigator of a cooperative agreement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative Grant from the Army Research Office.

Charles Judd | Psychology 2007

JuddCharles “Chick” Judd received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1976. He joined the faculty of the Psychology Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1981. In 1997 he became Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, only to return one year later to rejoin his colleagues at CU. His research and teaching contributions have been in two areas: Social cognition and Behavioral research methods. In the former, he has been particularly interested in issues of stereotyping, intergroup relations, and social judgment. In the latter, he has written extensively on the analysis of behavioral data, with particular interests in issues of mediation and moderation.

Russell Monson | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 2007

MonsonAfter taking a faculty position at the University of Colorado, Russell Monson discovered research collaborators among the many scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Laboratories in Boulder. Since the late 1980’s his research has focused on the interactions between forests and the atmosphere, especially with regard to climate change. Professor Monson has published over 140 papers in refereed journals and books and obtained consistent research support from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.


Mark Ablowitz | Applied Math 2006

ablowitzMark Ablowitz is considered a pioneer in the field of applied mathematics, and his work in the field is among the most highly cited in the world. He is best known for his landmark contributions to the “inverse scattering transform,” or IST, a method used to solve nonlinear wave equations. Mathematicians and physicists have used the IST to gain a better understanding of phenomena such as water waves. Ablowitz joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1989.

Robert Schulzinger | International Affairs/History 2006

schulzingerRobert Schulzinger, who directs CU-Boulder’s International Affairs program, is an expert on U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy and contemporary U.S. politics. He is the former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is author or co-author of 12 books, including the award-winning “A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975.” A sequel, “A Time for Peace: The Legacy of the Vietnam War” will be published later this summer by Oxford University Press. He joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1977.

Michael Tooley | Philosophy 2006

tooleyMichael Tooley’s current research is mainly in the areas of metaphysics and philosophy of religion, where he has worked on questions about the nature of scientific laws, the nature of time and the existence of God. The author of six books and dozens of articles, Tooley has written about the moral issues raised by abortion, euthanasia and cloning. He joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1992.

Thomas Veblen | Geography 2006

veblenThomas Veblen studies forest ecosystems in Argentina, Chile and Colorado, including the effects of fires and insect outbreaks on Colorado forests. He is an expert on the history of wildfires and fire ecology in the western United States and South America, using tree rings to understand the relationships between climate variation and wildfires. The National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service support his work. He joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1981.