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University Professorship

About & Award

Every two years, at least one faculty member is selected for the special rank of University Professor. This professorship recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary skills in teaching, distinguished scholarship in their field, and an interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate instruction.

The University Professorship offers faculty the opportunity to launch new projects in General Education that will make significant differences in our educational experiences for students. University Professors hold this special rank for twoyears. The funding associated with this award supports:

  • a one-time award of $5,000 to the University Professor
  • $15,000 totalto support the research goals of the University Professor’s project
  • $10,000 total to the University Professor’s home department in teaching replacement funds ($5,000 each year for 2 years).

Serving in 2020-22 Professorship

Anne Cook, Department of Educational Psychology

Professor Cook designed a course that introduces undergraduates to what it means to do research at the university, in preparation for eventually doing research in their own disciplines. Students learn essential skills required for successful research experiences across individual disciplines and majors at the university, and they are introduced to critical research resources across campus.

Nominations & Applications

Nominations and applications for the special rank of University Professor for the 2023-2025 academic years are now being sought by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Applications should be submitted to the Center for Teaching Excellence by November 30, 2022.  For questions please contact Anne Cook

More details here

Past Recipients

  • Sarah Projansky, Film & Media Arts and Gender Studies, 2018-20. Professor Projansky's course explored celebrity culture through the lenses of media, politics, economics and psychology.  Students reflect on how their own identities are influenced by celebrity culture and how celebrity constructs and is constructed by the mediated environments we all inhabit.  Events included Celebrity Studies Scholar guest speakers and partnering with UtahPresents to bring a celebrity to campus to speak analytically about how celebrity functions on YouTube.  
  • Anne Jamison, English, and Lauren Liang, Educational Psychology, 2016-18.  Their cross-college collaboration builds on common ground already widely shared by many of our undergraduate students:  a childhood enjoyment of stories and a desire to learn more about them.  A love for a particular children's or young adult series, for a specific author, or even a certain genre, can unite people is a unique way, cutting across all kinds of demographic barriers.  Children's books wield tremendous influence in shaping young people's sense of self and of the world.  Their project engages students and the broader community around these influential stories and their social and cultural power.         
  • Erik Brunvand, School of Computing, 2014-16. Professor Brunvand's course introduces students from across campus to a variety of digital media subject that also involve computation. He emphasizes hands-on projects that include both programming and physical/electronic artifacts. This will introduce students to computing and increase their technological fluency through digital media projects rather than engineering projects. Additionally, a series of lectures and demonstrations by a slate of national and international speakers related to experimental digital media that will be open to the campus community.
  • Matthew Potolsky, English, 2014-16. Professor Potolsky proposes a project that will focus on a course that examines ideas about secrecy and transparency across disciplines. Students will read texts on secrecy and transparency and discuss the way ideas of secrecy have changed over time, and chart theories of transparency from Enlightenment philosophy to modern groups like WikiLeaks and the Sunlight Foundation. Topics will include childhood secrets, family secrets, religious secrets and political secrets. There will also be a series of public lectures.
  • Robert Hitchcock, Bioengineering, 2010-11. Professor Hitchcock developed a systematic way for students to identify business, cultural and medical needs in third world areas and develop designs, plans and business models that provide useful medical devices while at the same time promoting economic stimulus.
  • Esther Rashkin, Languages & Literature, 2009-10. Professor Rashkin's course, "Star Trek and the Quest to be Human," used specific episodes from the seven-year run of Star Trek, the Next Generation to approach the question of what it means to be human. Students come to terms with the idea that there is more than on response to the question and that the perspective or discipline from which one approaches it affects the responses that emerge.
  • Stephen Koester, Modern Dance, 2008-09. Professor Koester's course focused on demystifying the art form of dance through viewing, writing, and dialogue. The course was designed for the non-dancer, requiring no special dance knowledge, and provides an entry into art in general though the vehicle of dance. It will focus on understanding the artistic process, concepts, structures, theories, and forms of dance. A unique aspect of this course is that it allows students to follow the creation of a dance by Professor Koester and the creation of a dance by a graduate student. Students will witness the development of the work as it takes place, through the entire range of rehearsals, so that they will be able to enter into virtually every aspect of the creative process. Students will participate in several movement classes. There will also be a series of guest lecturers.
  • Dennis O'Rourke, Anthropology, 2007-08. Professor O'Rourke developed a course and a lecture series on non-medical human research ethics that explores the nature of the ethical dimensions of research involving human subjects in the social and behavioral sciences, humanities, business, etc. and the scope of federal regulations that govern such research efforts.
  • Margaret Battin, Department of Philosophy, Erik Luna, College of Law, and Arthur Lipman, College of Pharmacy, 2007-08. This team created a course that addresses inconsistencies in drug theory, policy, and practice; examines the roots of these inconsistencies; explores the many aspects of life affected by drugs and reflected in popular culture; analyzes current mechanisms for regulating and controlling drugs and concludes by focusing on theoretical, policy, and practical dilemmas that demonstrate the uneven conceptual basis of the current thinking about drugs, as well as the possibility of a consistent, coherent, and comprehensive approach.
  • Keith Bartholomew and Mira Locher, College of Architecture and Planning, 2006-07. They created a year-long course that gives students an integrated curriculum in architecture and urban planning with a focus on community development and service through the built environment as it relates to the natural environment and the socio-economic condition of the community.
  • Benjamin Bromley, Department of Physics, 2005-06. Professor Bromley launched a course in 2005 to commemorate the centennial of Albert Einstein’s work which profoundly shaped modern physics in the field of relativity and quantum mechanics. It drew on Einstein’s works to engage students in addressing some of humanities most persistent and profound concerns.

  • Lauren Holland, Political Science, 2004-05. Professor Holland's goal is to improve the teaching of diversity courses at the University. To achieve this, she is identifying the pedagogical conditions that promote a productive experience in diversity courses for both students and instructors; soliciting input from the community to make diversity course content more relevant; and sharing this information in a workshop.
  • Meg Brady, English, 2003-04. Professor Brady developed a course that emphasizes the oral histories of the broader community in which the University is situated, specifically the “West side.” Students learn the methodology of eliciting and analyzing the stories of members of community, including the elderly and various ethnic groups. The results of the student interviews will be distributed by CD and book, presented on radio shows, etc. as a way of making contact with the larger community. Course fulfills a social science or humanities exploration requirement.
  • Richard Scharine, Jerry Gardner, and Glenn Brown, Theatre, 2002-03. This team developed and taught "Eastern Theatre 1: Japan Overview of Theory and Practice.” Their goal was to impart tools and information necessary for undergraduates from all areas to develop and intellectual and aesthetic appreciation for Eastern theatre. The course contained a significant performance and movement component.
  • Winthrop Lindsay Adams and Larry R. Gerlach, History, 2001-02. Drs. Adams & Gerlach focused their professorship on the Olympics, with comparisons between the ancient Greek Olympics and the modern Olympics. The year-long process began in fall 2001 with a public symposium involving nationally distinguished experts. In spring 2002, in conjunction with the 2002 Olympics, they offered a large class which covered ancient-modern Olympic issues.
  • Janice Frost, Undergraduate Studies, and Ronald J. Hrebenar, Political Science, 2001-02. This new course examined the history of encounters between Japan and the United States, with theme of how each national perceives and remembers itself and the other across historical periods from the 19th century to today. The course will use technological initiatives to link Utah students with students in Japan.
  • Martha Bradley and Thomas Kass, Architecture, 2000-01. Their course will combine the teaching environment of the design studio and the lecture classroom in an examination of the relationship between image and word as two different methods of conceptualization as well as communication.
  • Christine Brzezowski and Frederick West, Chemistry, 1999-2000. This team created a new chemistry course directed at non-science majors. “Sex, Drugs and Organic Chemistry” to produce students who function as smart consumers of scientific information and can distinguish between hype and substance or between a superficial report and a well-researched story.
  • Morris Rosenzweig, Music, 1998-99. Dr. Rosenzweig developed a course, “Critical Inquiries in Music: Culture, Class & Economics” which included eight investigations on a variety of topics on different musical/cultural issues. The course looked at specific issues from a cultural point of view.
  • Richard Fowles, Economics, 1996-97. Dr. Fowles wants his students to link the worlds of mathematics with literature, philosophy and history. At the core of this learning community are two lower division courses. One Lib. Ed. core will have students study the history, art and philosophy of probabilistic and fuzzy thought. Another course was a sequence distribution class. It relied upon experimental computing and visual presentations to help students create models of probability.
  • Edward Davies and Anand Yang, History, 1996-97. Drs. Davies & Yang developed and taught a course entitled “Contemporary World History: The United States and Asia in Comparative Global Perspective.” They offered this course as a LEAP sequence, building on the academic work students completed in previous courses. Their aim was to foster a learning community encompassing a series of core and distribution courses. There was also an e-mail community where dialogue continued beyond the classroom.
  • Joseph E. Andrade, Bioengineering & Materials Science, 1994-95. Professor Andrade developed on two-quarter science sequence course on "Science Without Walls." This concept-and-inquiry-based course for undergraduate utilizes a discovery-based approach to key concepts of science and technology. Following the sequence was an independent project experience for students relevant to general science education. Forums brought distinguished scholars to campus to explore themes in science and general education.
  • Calvin Boardman, Management, 1993-94. Developed a course, “The Fundamentals of Business & Its Role in Society” to serve as an introductory course to both business and non-business majors emphasizing the historical role of business, the broad-based and specific educational knowledge needed for success, and how business and society interact. Held three public forums to address what is and what should be the role of business in human services, education and environmental issues.
  • John Ackerman, University Writing Program and Educational Studies, and Darla Lindberg-Barreth, Architecture, 1993-94. Professors Ackerman and Lindberg-Berreth worked together to design and team-teach a new course, "Professionalism and Power in the Written & Physical World." The course examines built and cultural environments such as home, school, office and neighborhood as they have been created and interpreted since World War II. Students studied and critiqued the power structures created by professions as they affect our reading of gender, class and ethnicity. For their public forum, Mary Catherine Bateson spoke at an evening public lecture on "Men & Women in a Changing World: Composing a Life." Dr. Bateson also addressed university faculty on "Teaching in a Changing World."
  • Thomas E. Malloy, Psychology, 1992-93. Designed "Diversity and Learning: A Global Perspective" as a two-quarter sequence course. The first 5 weeks will be devoted to academic study, the second 5 weeks will combine study with a field trip to perform community service in Mexico. Dr. Malloy stressed that immersing students in a second culture helps them to learn in new and different ways. He developed a plan with the Bennion Center to participate in Project Projimo which is a community-based program to rehabilitate disabled children from rural Mexico. The second course combined academic study with additional community service, particularly in the Spanish-speaking community in Salt Lake.
  • L. Jackson Newell, Educational Administration, 1991-92. In "Education and Identity: From General Knowledge to Personal Action," students debated the philosophy of education, studied intellectual and ethical development, and considered ways to change how they think about and pursue education. Professor Newell moderated several public forums and weekly faculty roundtable discussions that featured major contributors to research on teaching and learning, explored the effects of college on students and examined some notable experiments in American higher education.
  • Orest G. Symko, Physics, 1990-91. Developed a 4000-level course entitled "Science of the Digital Domain," and wrote a textbook on the subject. Course topics ranged from digital applications to compact discs, videos, computers, and the human brain. The class includes a significant laboratory dimension. In a public lecture on "Physics and the Digital Revolution," Professor Symko presented the principles and demonstrated a variety of applications of the digital domain.
  • James T. Svendsen, Languages and Literature, 1990-91. Created a two-quarter sequence on "The Greeks and The Romans." Students read literary, philosophical and historical texts, observe theatre productions, and analyze museum collections. The courses include a field trip to Los Angeles for a private tour of the J. Paul Getty Museum and other collections. Speakers for Professor Svendsen's lecture series on "The Greeks and The Romans" included Lindsay Adams, David Young, William Hess, and Mary-Kay Gamel.
  • James M. Rock, Economics, 1989-90. In conjunction with a course on "Indebtedness, Monetary Stability, and Values," Professor Rock featured a series of public forums on "The Burden of Debt" that explored the diverse thought on the subject of debt. Speakers included Robert Barro, Robert Eisner, Kenneth Jameson, Peter Bernstein, a panel of local economists, Benjamin Friedman, Adrian Throop, Timothy Smeeding, and Alan Blinder.
  • Dorothy Bearnson, Art, 1989-90. Hosted a national invitational ceramic art exhibition and a symposium of nationally and internationally known artists, art critics, and art historians--"Recent Fires: A Symposium on Contemporary American Ceramics." The symposium featured Philip Rawson, Warren MacKenzie, and Betty Woodman. Developed a two-quarter pottery sequence for non-art majors called "Pottery, A Creative Art."
  • David A. Kranes, English, 1988-89. Created a "guerilla theatre" where actors staged scenes around campus that dramatized issues central to academic life--for example, a scene from "Breaking the Code" performed in the Mathematics Department. He also staged a "Best Scenes from the Tour" as a culminating event and hosted Kevin Kling's performance of "21-A." His course was titled "Plays and Playwrights."
  • Robert K. Vickery, Jr., Biology, 1988-89. Designed courses for both undergraduates and public school science teachers on "Adaptation and Evolution: Nature's Creative Genius," "Evolution: History Theory and Mechanisms," and "Evolution: Field Trip to the Galapagos." Following the "Adaptation & Evolution" class, students could take an optional field trip to the Galapagos Islands to observe firsthand the plants, animals, and geology that shaped Darwin's ideas.
  • Gene D. Fitzgerald, Languages, 1987-88. Developed a two-quarter course on "Russia and the Soviet Union: Historical Perspective & Contemporary Realities." The first quarter concentrated on tsarist Russia and basic Russian language; the second focused on the Soviet Union since the Russian Revolution. Students could go on an optional 2-week trip to Moscow and Leningrad between quarters. Professor Fitzgerald also worked extensively with public school teachers to help them develop materials on the Soviet Union.
  • Edward G. Lueders, English, 1987-88. Taught an upper-division writing workshop ("Writing for Readers") for diverse majors emphasizing writing effectively from their fields of knowledge for the general reader. The forum "Writing Natural History" featured evening dialogues with prominent writers of natural history including Barry Lopez, Edward Wilson, Robert Finch, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Nabhan, Ann Zwinger and Paul Brooks.
  • Allan A. Ekdale, Geology, 1986-87. Developed a course on "Extinction and Evolution: Nature's Delicate Balance" which looked at the fossil record to determine the nature, timing, magnitude and probable causes of mass extinctions. His forum lecture series "Extinction: Lessons from the Past--Threats to the Future," featured Ms. Joan Embery, of the San Diego Zoo, Professors Steven Stanley and Paul Martin, and a panel discussion with U. of U. faculty.
  • J.D. Williams, Political Science, 1985-86. Organized a year-long celebration of the U. S. Constitution's bicentennial. His project was carried over two years and included a series of lectures and colloquia by eminent constitutional and political scholars and presentations by the art, music, theatre and dance departments in celebration of a free society under law. The lectures were offered in conjunction with his course "Miracle at Philadelphia."
  • Sandra Taylor, History, and Robert K. Avery, Communication, 1985-86. Professors Avery and Taylor collaborated to create a new team-taught course "The Making of History: Crisis, Conflict and the Media." Topics ranged from the Cuban missile crisis to the invasion of Grenada. Their forum "Conflict and the Press: The Utah Experience" was moderated by Columbia University's Edward R. Morrow Professor Journalism Fred W. Friendly with a panel of distinguished media, government and community representatives in a discussion of issues surrounding the role of media at the local level.
  • Leslie P. Francis, Law/Philosophy, 1984-85. Her University Professor Forum on "Legislation and Personal Freedom" was a panel discussion about how far legislation should go in regulating personal behavior. Panelists included Attorney Elizabeth Dunning, Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr, Patrick Shea, Rep. Olene Walker, and Hon. Michael Zimmerman. She developed the course, "The Individual and the Law" for students wanting a basic understanding of how our legal system works.
  • Ardean Watts, Fine Arts, 1984-85. Developed a new Liberal Education course on "Electronic Music and Modern Culture" and three new Music courses using electronic synthesizers. The forum, "Music Will Never Be The Same: A Musician's View of The Electronic Revolution", featured Nyle Steiner, playing his invention, the Electronic Value Instrument, performances by Ardean Watts and the U. of U. Synthesizer Ensemble, and an impromptu composition created by the audience and Professor Watts.
  • E. Allan Davis, Mathematics, 1983-84. Developed the course "Introduction to University Mathematics" as an alternative to the Math 105 requirement, especially for the student for whom this might be his or her final math course. Besides basic concepts in algebra, geometry and calculus, students learned how they are applied in solving problems in the sciences, social sciences and computer technology. His forum was on "Improving Mathematics in the Schools: The Cultural and Technological Challenge."
  • Joel Hancock, Languages, 1982-83. Combined the University Professor Forum with the Tanner Lectures on Human Values to offer a panel discussion with Carlos Fuentes and Julian Nava on "Critical Juncture with Latin America: U.S. and Mexican Relations." Taught "Problems in Human Values--Voices of the Third World: Understanding the Mexican Perspective." Concerned with "internationalizing" the curriculum, Professor Hancock surveyed faculty and issued a report which resulted in the establishment of a University Task Force on International Studies.
  • Brooke Hopkins, English, 1981-82. Concerned with improving writing instruction across the campus, he conducted a faculty survey, brought in writing consultants, and held campus-wide faculty forum on writing. The result of Professor Hopkins' project was a year-long Task Force on Writing, and, in 1984, the initiation of the University Writing Program. He also taught "Problems in Human Values: The Individual and/in Society" and held a campus-community forum with Professor Roald Campbell, Betty Condie, and Scott Matheson on "Public Education: What Should Be Done?"
  • Ray R. Canning, Sociology, 1980-81. Developed a course on "Contemporary Issues," featuring a series of lectures by prominent speakers on topics of current interest and also taught a social science issues seminar for superior students from diverse disciplines. The public forum was on the "Politics of Extremism" with Ester Landa and Cleon Skousen as guest speakers.
  • B. Gale Dick, Physics, and Barbara N. Lindsay, Languages, 1979-80. Together they developed and taught "Reason, Romanticism, and Revolution in the 18th and 19th Centuries." The course presented concepts from their perspectives as a physicist and humanist. Their public forum on the "Point of No Return" included Judge Monroe McKay and Dr. Jack Tedrow.
  • James Clayton, History, 1977-78. Held a "Town-Gown Antagonism" colloquium every two weeks with members of the community, faculty, and students to informally discuss issues which divide people. Taught courses on "American Civilization: Teaching History Backwards," "The Secularization of American Culture," and "The Nature and Functions of Law.
  • Kenneth Eble, English, 1976-77. Experimented with several new teaching concepts, including a faculty-student "Seminar on Teaching & Learning," a colloquium where students designed a course of their own, and a seminar on "Literature of the Mountains."
Last Updated: 9/28/22