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IU gives 5 faculty rank of distinguished professor

“President McRobbie strongly believes in identifying faculty who have proven to be outstanding teachers,” IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre said. “The rank of distinguished professor serves as an incentive for all faculty to really strive for excellence in

Each year faculty, alumni and students make nominations that are reviewed by the University Distinguished Ranks Committee. The committee forwards five candidates to the president, who then forwards the names to the Board of Trustees.

Michael Larsen, professor of mathematics

Larsen has worked at IU since 2001 and is considered one of the top mathematicians in the world by two different winners of the Fields Medal, considered the Nobel Prize for math. He works with arithmetic algebraic geometry, combinational group theory, combinatorics and number theory. He is the associate editor of the IU Mathematics Journal and is the founder of an after-school program for mathematically gifted elementary school students.

“I’m very happy and I feel very honored and I’m also quite surprised to be honest,” Larsen said. “I felt that the mathematics department is a really good department, somehow it should be acknowledged, and I just happened to be the lucky person whose file was before the committee when that happened.”

Geoffrey Fox, professor of computer science and informatics

Fox came to IU in 1997 and since has published nearly 1,000 papers, received more than $10 million in grant funding and supervised more than 60 Ph.D. theses. Fox is also the associate dean for graduate studies and research in the IU School of Informatics and Computing. A founding member of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Research on Parallel Computation, Fox is recognized as having influence over the design and programming of almost all supercomputers in use today.

“This promotion is a remarkable honor that is gratifying as the citation recognizes my work over many years with commendation from both Indiana University and leading scientists,” Fox said.

Curtis Lively, professor of biology

Lively, an evolutionary biologist, was the first to provide scientific evidence about why species have different sexes and reproduce sexually. Lively agreed that species must continually evolve to maintain evolutionary fitness.

“I feel honored and surprised,” Lively said. “I feel very lucky to be able to work with so many great people at IU.”

David Weaver, Roy W. Howard Professor of Journalism

Weaver is the first professor in the School of Journalism to receive the rank of distinguished professor. He is a researcher of journalism and mass communication and specializes in the changing characteristics of American journalism. Weaver said he plans on retiring next December but before he does, he said he wants to help with a research project about surveying journalism, akin to a journalism census. 

“I feel good about it, not just for myself, but also for the School of Journalism, it’s good recognition,” Weaver said. “Winning this wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of support including the Roy Howard family and Trevor Brown, the former dean (of the journalism school).”

William Thompson, Donald A. Rogers Professor of Political Science

Thompson has worked at IU since 1991 and is recognized nationally as one of the most important scholars of international politics, including the study of long-term patterns of change in the global system.

He focuses on the importance of the rise of new industries as a major factor in international and domestic politics.

“Few of us are likely to turn down any rank and recognition that might come our way,” Thompson said. “It’s always gratifying and many thanks to the folks who worked on putting together the promotion dossier and wrote the letters.”

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