4 CU Boulder faculty members become Distinguished Professors | CU Boulder today


With the approval of the CU Board of Trustees, the University of Colorado announced seven newly appointed Distinguished Faculty – the highest honor given to faculty at the system’s four campuses. Four of the winners are affiliated with the CU Boulder campus: Robert Davis, Kira Hall, Rebecca Maloy and Leysia Palen.

Dr. Ronald Sokol of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and Carlos Paz de Araujo and Dorothea Olkowski of the Colorado Springs campus are also named as Distinguished Professors. A CU connections article earlier today recognized all newly appointed distinguished faculty across the CU system.

Emeritus professors are tenured faculty members who demonstrate exemplary performance in research or creative work; a record of excellence in promoting student learning and the acquisition of knowledge and skills; and exceptional service to the profession, the university and its affiliates. Including this year’s recipients, 136 distinguished professors have been named since the title’s inception in 1977.

On November 3, the Board of Regents voted to approve the cohort of faculty members, recommended by President Todd Saliman with the concurrence of the system-wide Distinguished Faculty Committee. This year’s winners will be officially recognized at a meeting of the Board of Directors in the spring of 2023.

Learn more about CU Boulder’s 2022 Distinguished Faculty:

Robert Davis, PhD, Chemical and Biological Engineering

A faculty member since 1982, Davis has spent more than 40 years demonstrating exemplary academic, educational, and leadership contributions to CU.

The recipient of numerous academic awards and honors, Davis was also recognized by CU Boulder in 1989, 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2018 with Outstanding Teaching Awards and by AlChE with the Warren K. Lewis Award in Chemical Engineering Education in 2019. Service honors and awards include the CU Boulder Robert L. Stearns Award and the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, among others.

Davis’ research encompasses a wide range of chemical engineering topics. He and his students engage in modeling and experiments in the fields of fluid dynamics, biotechnology, and membrane filtration. An article he co-authored on the subject of microfiltration in the Journal of Membrane Science is one of the most cited papers ever published in the journal. Davis has published 240 peer-reviewed journals and books, with over 19,000 citations.

He has obtained grants as a principal investigator from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Education and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The funding obtained through these numerous grants has enabled it to support an active cohort of postdoctoral, doctoral, master’s and undergraduate researchers. Having mentored around 35 doctoral students, 30 master’s students, and more than 165 undergraduate researchers, he has had a tremendous impact on his program at UC.

Throughout Davis’ 25-year tenure as department chair and then dean of engineering, CU Engineering has improved in the areas of degrees awarded, ranking increases, and research output growth. His peers attribute this impact over the past decades largely to his leadership.

Kira RoomKira Hall, PhD, Department of Linguistics

Hall is an expert in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, and retains a well-deserved reputation as a sophisticated theorist and rigorous analyst of fundamental questions concerning the relationship of language to gender and sexuality, social class, identity, to modernity and globalization, and to contemporary Indian society. .

During her career, Hall has edited nine edited volumes and co-edited four journal special issues. Currently author of two books and co-editor of the journal gender and languagehis work is regularly included in anthologies of the most important works in the field and discussed in introductory textbooks on sociolinguistics, language and gender studies, and linguistic anthropology.

Hall’s work is of a rare quality in that he shaped the direction of his field in several ways. His articles theorizing the relationship between language and identity are among the most cited publications in the history of sociolinguistics. She is widely credited with introducing sexuality to the study of language and gender: she founded the field of queer linguistics and is co-editor of the first Oxford textbook on language and sexuality. Former president of the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, her work takes many forms – including ethnographic work with hijras, a non-binary category of “third gender” in India – and is fundamental to the study of the fields she has advances.

As Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies, Hall revitalized the undergraduate degree program, resulting in a substantial increase in undergraduate majors. She established the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Culture, Language, and Social Practice (CLASP) and developed it into an internationally renowned research center.

She has received numerous accolades for her improvements in Literacy Practicum, a community learning program. A popular professor, her work with undergraduate and graduate students, who leave rave reviews, is a testament to the professorial impact she has had in addition to her prowess in academic research.

Maloy specializes in music from the High Middle Ages. His main interests are liturgical chant, liturgy and ritual, as well as the theory and analysis of early music. The author of four books and numerous articles and book chapters, Maloy has made significant contributions to his field and is a leading voice in musicology. His current and recent work has been supported by funds from the European Research Council, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

Within CU, she is recognized as one of the College of Music’s most respected and dedicated teachers. A member of the UC faculty since 2002, Maloy has demonstrated a deep commitment to teaching. Since beginning her time at CU, she has taught 18 different classes, ranging from introductory classes for non-music majors to graduate seminars in musicology.

During her tenure at the university, she served on numerous university and college committees and was often a peer reviewer and external reviewer for presses, journals and other institutions.

Leysia PalenLeysia Palen, PhD, Department of Information Science

Having joined the CU faculty in 1998 as an assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science, Palen has served the CU community in a variety of roles, culminating in her current roles as a professor in the computer science and science departments of information. She also founded the latter department as chair in 2015, a department that has attracted world-class faculty who address a wide variety of pressing issues in information science, and which offers new programs in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students at UC.

Palen is widely recognized as the pioneer of the field of crisis computing, which examines the role of information and computing in emergencies and mass disasters. His academic work focuses on the areas of human-computer interaction, human-data interaction and computer-assisted cooperative work. His work has been cited over 20,000 times and his longevity has been recognized with the ACM SIGCHI Societal Impact Award (2015) and inclusion in the ACM SIG Computer Human Interaction Academy (2016).

Palen has served as a principal investigator in research projects supported by the National Science Foundation (approximately $5 million), which has expanded the academic community at CU Boulder through multi-faculty, multi-student interdisciplinary teams that intersect with computer science and information sciences with social sciences.

She has supervised 15 doctoral students who engage in interdisciplinary work; 13 of these students are women, which is rare in male-dominated technology fields. Its alumni have gone on to conduct research and lead impactful labs in their own specialized areas of crisis and disinformation at top computer and information science universities. A dedicated instructor and administrator, Palen continued to innovate the curriculum, mentor scholars, and drive student engagement.

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