Six professors awarded Thurnau professorship

For the Daily
Published February 18, 2002

Recognized for their outstanding teaching accomplishments, six University professors were named to the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship at the University Board of Regents meeting last Thursday.

Those honored were Annette LeCuyer, associate professor of architecture Edward Parmentier, professor of music Kenneth Powell, professor of aerospace engineering Paul Rasmussen, professor of chemistry and professor of macromolecular science and engineering Robert Sharf, associate professor of Buddhist studies and Elliot Soloway, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, professor of education and professor of information.

"I"m delighted and obviously very honored. The professorship reflects a commitment to undergraduate education and that is something I am obviously very committed to and plan to continue," LeCuyer said.

Established by Thurnau, a University student from 1902-1904, the professorship is awarded annually to five or six tenured professors who have "demonstrated a clear dedication to the quality of undergraduate education," said interim Provost Paul Courant.

Courant was named a Thurnau Professor in 1996.

All Thurnau Professors receive a $20,000 grant to fund materials and activities that will enhance their teaching.

Thurnau wanted to give back to the University in recognition of the education he received here and consequently set up the professorship through the Thurnau Charitable Trust recognized in his will.

Faculty members are nominated for the professorship by deans and department heads of academic units with undergraduate classes.

As requested in a letter from the University provost, the deans and department heads are required to submit a letter of nomination describing the achievements of the nominee, a letter of recommendation from the relevant dean and a copy of the nominee"s current curriculum vitae.

The nominations are reviewed by a committee of faculty members who then send a list of recommended professors to the provost who makes the final decision.

"I think (the professorship is) terrific," Courant said. "It gives us an opportunity to recognize our best teachers in undergraduate education."

According to Courant, Thurnau Professors excel in the areas such as classroom work, curriculum design and improvement and working with students in non-classroom situations such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.