back to news Aug. 11, 2017

2017 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors

The College of Arts and Sciences has an amazing depth of talented, dedicated and respected faculty. They are leaders in Ohio State’s research and scholarly enterprises — in discovery, in global collaboration, and in teaching and training the next generation of scientists, scholars and artists. They have won every major honor and award in their field, including the Nobel Prize, the National Medal of Science and of the Arts, the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for Young Faculty, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Heineken Prize and the Sloan Fellowship, and they have been selected for membership in the country’s top learned societies.

The Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professorship honors a select few of these faculty members — full professor colleagues — who have excelled in teaching, service and research/creative activity, and whose work has demonstrated significant impact on their fields, students, college and university, and/or the public. This honorific title is reserved for the most distinguished faculty; no more than ten percent of the total number of full professors in the College of Arts and Sciences may hold this title at any one time. Last spring marked the first coordinated college-wide nomination process for a new cohort of distinguished professors. Led by Tina Henkin, associate dean for faculty affairs, the selection process resulted in seven new professors being appointed from a slate of impressive nominees.

“This program helps us recognize full professors who have, since promotion, continued to excel in all areas of faculty responsibilities — teaching, service and researchand who are widely recognized as leaders in their fields,” said Susan Williams, Arts and Sciences vice dean. “They foster an intellectual community that inspires us to be the best scholars and teachers we can be.”

The 2017 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors:

Juan Alfonzo, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Microbiology

Alfonzo is a founding member of Ohio State’s Center for RNA Biology and a newly elected fellow of the Evolution Think Tank (ETT) at the University of Münster Graduate School for Evolution.  Alfonzo investigates the mechanism of tRNA editing in trypanosomes and also works on the largely understudied and essential process of tRNA import into mitochondria. Since joining Ohio State, Alfonzo has created several new courses including “The RNA World” as a way of engaging and welcoming students into the ever-growing RNA community. read more >>

Barbara Andersen, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Psychology

Andersen studies biobehavioral aspects of cancer. This includes conducting basic research on stress and immunity and applied research including intervention trials to reduce cancer patients' stress, enhance coping and improve their disease outcomes. She has also disseminated delivery of the interventions to oncology mental health providers, enabling them to implement empirically supported psychological treatments to their patients. Andersen is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program of Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and of the clinical psychology area in the Department of Psychology. read more >>

John Beacom, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy

John Beacom is director of Ohio State’s Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). His sustained contributions in research, teaching and service have made him an internationally recognized leader in physics and astronomy. Under his leadership, CCAPP has helped cement Ohio State's role as one of the most significant centers for research in cosmology and particle astrophysics. His specialty is neutrinos, and he is known for the breadth of his theoretical work and its impact on experiment and observation. read more >>

David Hoffmann, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History

Hoffmann is a specialist in the field of Russian and Soviet history and an internationally recognized expert on the political, social and cultural work of Stalinism. His most recent monograph, Cultivating the Masses: Modern State Practices and Soviet Socialism, 1914-1939, will be published in Russian translation later this year. He is currently completing his fourth monograph, The Stalinist Era (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) and has begun work on his fifth monograph, “The Motherland Calls: War, Gender, and Memory in the Soviet Union, more >>

Ellen Peters, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Psychology

Peters is director of Ohio State’s Decision Sciences Collaborative. She studies the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision making, with particular emphasis on how affect and emotion influence risk perceptions and decisions, how numbers in decisions are processed by individuals who differ in number ability (also called numeracy), how decision making changes across the adult life span, and how information can be communicated to facilitate better decisions in health, financial, and environmental contexts. She was the first American to receive the Jane Beattie Scientific Recognition Award, and has been awarded an NIH Merit Award. read more >>

Allison Snow, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology

Snow studies emerging issues in biotechnology and the ecological impacts of genetically engineered crops on natural and agricultural systems. Her current research combines molecular and ecological approaches to investigate hybridization between crops and their wild relatives, the extent to which genetically engineered traits could benefit weedy plants, and rapid evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds. In 2002, Snow was recognized by Scientific American as one of the Top 50 Researchers in Science and Technology. read more >>

Hugh Urban, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Comparative Studies

Since 2015, Urban has directed Ohio State’s Center for the Study of Religion, which he helped found. His two main areas of teaching and research are religions of India, particularly Hindu traditions of Bengal and Assam, and new religious movements in the United States. He is the author of nine books, including: The Economics of Ecstasy: Tantra, Secrecy, and Power in Colonial Bengal, Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religion, The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion and New Age, Neopagan and New Religious Movements: Alternative Spirituality in Contemporary America. He is currently working on two new projects: a book on Hindu Tantra in contemporary Assam and a large comparative book on the role of secrecy in religion. read more >>

The following is a complete list of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors and their academic departments:

Adélékè Adééko, English, and African American and African Studies
Frederick Aldama, English, and Spanish and Portuguese
Vitaly Bergelson, Mathematics
David Blau, Economics
John Brooke, History
Christopher Browning, Sociology
Lesley Ferris, Theatre
Martin Golubitsky, Mathematics
Richard Herrmann, Political Science
Tin-Lun (Jason) Ho, Physics
David Huron, Music
Sarah Iles Johnston, Classics
Gregory Jusdanis, Classics
Stephen Kern, History
Dan Levin, Economics
Zhong-Lin Lu, Psychology
W. Berry Lyons, Earth Sciences
Brian McHale, English
Roger Ratcliff, Psychology
Vincent Roscigno, Sociology
Michael Slater, Communication
Daniel Sui, Geography
Neil Tennant, Philosophy
Abril Trigo, Spanish and Portuguese
Robyn Warhol, English
Duane Wegener, Psychology