IU announced 11 faculty members were named distinguished professors this year on Feb. 10. Distinguished professor is the highest academic title that can be received at the university.
These 11 faculty members include six instructors in the College of Arts and Sciences, four in the IU School of Medicine and one in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
“These honors demonstrate IU's breadth and depth of excellence in research, teaching, service, philanthropy, athletics, arts, performance and other creative endeavors,” the press release said.
The new distinguished professors are Judith Allen, Dr. Liana Apostolova, Dr. Aaron Carroll, Dr. D. Wade Clapp, David Fisher, Matthew Hahn, Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Christoph Irmscher, Martin Jarrold, Debomoy Lahiri and Malcolm Winkler.
Richard Shiffrin, a member of the selection committee for choosing these professors, said the committee carefully reviewed many promising candidates. Individual departments nominate faculty to be considered. After the committee views the nominated candidates, they forward the most promising candidates to IU President Michael McRobbie who chooses who receives the awards. University Honors and Awards grants them to the chosen faculty members.
The selection of these professors happens once every year. The review begins around Thanksgiving, and the President makes the final decision during winter break so the Board of Trustees can announce the selections in February, Fred Cate, chair of the Distinguished Professor Selection Committee, said.
Cate said the selection process is rigorous and based on what academic contributions the particular candidate has made. These contributions include research, studies and creative innovations made in their disciplines at the university.
“It's based entirely on research or creative activity,” Cate said. “But it's not based on teaching or service. Those things are critically important, it's just not important for this particular recognition.”
Winkler, a professor of biology, is one of the newly named distinguished professors and said he is most proud of the effects he has had on his students. He said he has taught both graduate and undergraduate students and has loved seeing them go into different careers in science, academia, government and business.
Winkler also said the development and support of high-tech science facilities at IU have made it easier for him to have success when teaching students about science.
“A big key to success here has been a lot of university support of not only my class, but the other facilities,” Winkler said. “I think they give us a real advantage to be able to do research.”