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Three faculty members earn Distinguished Professor title

Leaders at CU-Boulder receive honor from Board of Regents

Zoya Popovic, Ph.D. Margaret Tolbert, Ph.D. Lorrie A. Shepard, Ph.D.

The University of Colorado Board of Regents awarded three professors the university's highest faculty honor, designation as Distinguished Professor.

Nominated by an academic committee of their peers, the recipients are Zoya Popovic, Ph.D., Lorrie A. Shepard, Ph.D., and Margaret Tolbert, Ph.D. All teach at the University of Colorado Boulder.

President seeks nominations for next year's Distinguished Professors

President Bruce D. Benson is soliciting nominations for selection of the 2011 Distinguished Professors. This title is awarded to recognize the outstanding contributions of CU faculty members to their academic disciplines.

Nominations should be made through the department chair, and must be approved by the dean and provost.

For a description of the nomination process, please see the Administrative Policy Statement - Procedures for Implementing Regent Actions on Distinguished Professorships

Distinguished Professors are faculty members who are leaders in their fields and are recognized for their outstanding contributions in teaching, research and distinguished scholarship or creative work. To date, 56 professors across the CU system hold the title.

President Bruce D. Benson reviewed recommendations from colleagues and deans and then recommended all three for the award to the CU Board of Regents during its Sept. 16 meeting on the Denver campus.

"These professors exemplify the best of what CU faculty can be," Benson said. "They are active scholars, engaged teachers and exceptional researchers. Our students are the beneficiaries of the professional excellence they demonstrate every day."

Popovic is a member of the department of electrical, computer and energy engineering and is considered an expert in microwave antennas and circuits. Her research in electromagnetics has received both national and international accolades and she is considered the world's leading researcher in microwave technology.

A native of Belgrade, Serbia, she has received many awards for teaching and research, including the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, the American Society for Engineering Education Frederick E. Terman Gold Medal and the Eta Kappa Nu Professor of the Year award.

She received her Dipl. Ing. Degree from the University of Belgrade in 1985 and master's and doctoral degrees from Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., in 1986 and 1990. She joined the Boulder faculty in August 1990; in 2006, she became the Hudson Moore Jr. Chaired Professor in the department.

In a letter supporting Popovic's nomination, Robert H. Davis, dean and Tisone Chair of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, called Popovic a "most valuable jewel" and cited her exceptional teaching and mentoring of students since she came to Boulder.

Popovic also is active in curriculum development and her undergraduate electromagnetics textbook is widely used throughout the world. She has mentored numerous Ph.D. students and she voluntarily set up a department-wide mentoring program for junior faculty. She worked with female faculty discussing the challenges of being a successful mother and researcher.

Shepard has been the dean of the School of Education since 2001 and is a professor of statistics, research methods, and testing and assessment policy at the graduate level. She is chair of the research and evaluation methodology program.

She is considered one of the world's leading experts in educational measurement and her research focuses on psychometrics and the use and misuse of tests in educational settings. One letter of support said Shepard is "beyond a doubt one of the most influential figures in the field of educational measurement today."

During her career at CU-Boulder, Shepard has taught teacher education candidates, master's and doctoral students.

Shepard has previously served as president of the National Academy of Education, the American Educational Research Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education. She is the only person to have served as president of all three associations.

She received her bachelor's degree from Pomona College in 1968, followed by master's and doctoral degrees from the CU-Boulder in 1970 and 1972.

Recommended by Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Stein Sture, Shepard was lauded for her exceptional 36-year career along with the 3,000 citations of her scholarly work by other researchers and her service commitment to the Boulder campus through a variety of committees.

Tolbert, a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Fellow, is a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry (analytical, environmental and atmospheric chemistry division).

An internationally acclaimed scientist, Tolbert has made significant contributions to understanding the chemistry and climate of planetary atmospheres, including contemporary and early Earth. Her research analyzes atmospheric chemistry, planetary atmospheres, and chemistry related to polar and global ozone depletion.

One supporter said, "Knowing Maggie is to know a true sparkplug with boundless energy and enthusiasm for her teaching and research, and unshakable devotion and loyalty to her students and postdocs."

Since 1992, she has taught undergraduate courses in environmental chemistry for nonmajors. Her evaluations from students were the highest for any faculty member ever teaching the course.

She earned several awards in recent years, including the Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology from the American Chemical Society, the Hazel Barnes Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and two NASA Group Achievement Awards.

She joined the University of Colorado in 1991. Her undergraduate degree is from Grinnell College, while she earned her master's in chemistry from the University of California in 1985 and her doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1986.

Todd Gleeson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, endorsed Tolbert, citing her outstanding record as a chemist, her plethora of national honors, and testaments from her students and peers describing contributions to her field. "I'm not sure what more we would reasonably expect to see in a nominee's record as an educator," Gleeson said. "Her record is outstanding."

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