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University of Iowa News Release


March 14, 2008

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences names Dean's Scholars, Collegiate Scholars

Linda Maxson, dean of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has announced a new award, the Collegiate Scholar award, which will recognize mid-career faculty for exceptional achievement. This new award is a complement to the Dean's Scholar award, which, since 1999, has honored faculty who have demonstrated excellence in both teaching and scholarship or creative work early in their careers. Both awards are made on the advice of the college's Committee on Faculty Promotion and Tenure.

The inaugural Collegiate Scholars are David Gier (music) and Sarah Larsen (chemistry). The 2008-10 Dean's Scholars are Bryant McAllister (biology), Morten Schlütter (religious studies), Helen Shen (Asian and Slavic languages and literatures) and Markus Wohlgenannt (physics and astronomy).

Dean's Scholars and Collegiate Scholars each receive discretionary funds to support their teaching and research initiatives. Dean's Scholar awards are made possible through the UI Alumni Association's endowment of the Dean's Chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Collegiate Scholar awards are funded by a generous unrestricted gift to the college.

"I am delighted to recognize these outstanding faculty members," Maxson said. "Each has been prolific in presenting wide-ranging research and creative work to the academic community. They represent the scholarly achievement that continually renews our curriculum and offers exciting academic opportunities for our students. I am also grateful to the Alumni Association for its generous endowment, which provides needed resources for faculty development and other worthy projects."

Gier heads the trombone studio and is director of graduate studies in the School of Music. An extremely active clinician, soloist and performer in orchestral and chamber music concerts, he is known for his technical virtuosity and lyrical tone quality. He is a member of the Iowa Brass Quintet and has been principal trombonist with the Breckenridge Music Institute since 1991. His research into the chamber music repertoire resulted in his 2006 CD, "Toot tooT: Chamber Trios with Trombone" (Albany Records). Gier earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Yale University in 1992 and joined the UI faculty in 1995.

Larsen has a highly productive research program in physical chemistry that focuses on the synthesis, spectroscopic characterization, and applications of novel zeolite materials. Among the uses she has developed for these porous nano-crystals are environmental protection, decontamination of chemical warfare agents and drug delivery. She is associate director of the UI's Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute and a senior editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Larsen earned the doctoral degree at Harvard University in 1992 and held the Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory before joining the UI chemistry faculty in 1995.

McAllister teaches evolutionary biology and genetics. His research on how chromosome organization evolves is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust. He earned the doctoral degree at the University of Rochester and held National Science Foundation/Sloan Post-doctoral Fellowships at the University of Chicago and the University of Edinburgh. He joined the UI biology faculty in 2002.

Schlütter's teaching and scholarship focus on Chinese Buddhism. His first book, "When Zen Became Zen," to be published in 2008, explores Song-dynasty Buddhism (10th to 13th century) in the broader context of the social, political and intellectual history of the period. He joined the UI religious studies faculty in 2003, after completing his doctorate at Yale University.

Shen teaches in and is coordinator of the Chinese language program. She is the co-author of the textbook and workbook "Introduction to Standard Chinese Pronunciation." Her research addresses problems encountered by second-language learners of Chinese language. She earned the doctoral degree at the University of Nevada and joined the UI Asian and Slavic languages and literatures faculty in 2004.

Wohlgenannt teaches mechanics, optics, and solid-state physics. His NSF-funded research in organic semiconductors has resulted in the important discovery of a large, room-temperature, magnetoresistive effect in these materials, an effect he has sought to explain both experimentally and theoretically. He completed the doctorate and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Utah before joining the UI faculty in physics and astronomy faculty in 2002.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

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