Regents', University Distinguished Professors Inducted
A ceremony on Thursday honored the latest class of faculty chosen to the UA's highest academic honors.

By Jeff Harrison, University Communications
Dec. 3, 2009

The University of Arizona inducted its newest class of Regents' and University Distinguished Professors in a campus ceremony on Thursday afternoon.

The Regents' Professors include Fernando Martinez, Susan Karant-Nunn and William Shuttleworth. The sole University Distinguished Professor this year is Jerzy Rozenblit. The Arizona Board of Regents approved their designations on March 12.

The Regents' Professor award is the highest honor accorded by the University only to full professors for academic achievements that have earned them national and international acclaim.

University Distinguished Professor honors faculty who have shown a long-term commitment to undergraduate education and have made outstanding contributions at the UA.

Both designations come with a permanent $5,000 annual salary increase.

Regents' Professors

Fernando Martinez, a professor of pediatrics at the UA and director of the BIO5 Institute, is among the most highly regarded researchers in the world in the area of childhood lung diseases.

His groundbreaking research has had an impact on his field in numerous ways, including changing the nature of funding for epidemiologic research at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

As noted by one colleague from Harvard University, "With regard to his relationship with others worldwide, he is without peer. He ranks as the elite practitioner in his field, and he is highly regarded as being a national treasure."

Martinez's visionary approaches have been well-documented in more than 160 original research papers, many in collaboration with investigators from all over the world, 20 book chapters, two books, and editorials in leading journals. He is frequently invited to give keynote presentations at national and international meetings, including the premier honor bestowed by the American Thoracic Society, the J. Burns Amberson Lecture at the international meeting in Toronto in May 2008.

Martinez's input has been sought at the highest levels regarding many study designs, including the large National Children's Study, or NCS, recently launched by the National Institutes of Health, which will be the definitive child health study of the 21st century.

The NCS, funded by a direct appropriation from Congress, will enroll 100,000 American mothers and mothers-to-be at several locations nationwide and will follow their children from before birth through young adulthood.

His research team was awarded $44 million to lead all NCS activities in Arizona.

Martinez also is an outstanding educator, investing major efforts in training medical students through pediatric clerkships, guest lecturing in a variety of courses, and research training of Pediatric Pulmonary Fellows and visiting postdoctoral scholars, many of whom are now in academic positions and have become highly respected researchers in their own right.

Recently, he created and chaired the Clinical Scholars Circle, an organization that promotes translational research among junior faculty in all of the colleges in the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Susan Karant-Nunn is a challenging and animated teacher and director of the Division of Late Medieval and Reformation Studies at the UA, where she is one of the world's most distinguished scholars of Reformation history. Her specialization might seem far removed from the cultural concerns of this era, yet her groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on the religious history of early modern Europe (1400-1800) illuminates urgent contemporary questions.

Beginning with the 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, the Reformation sparked both national and international conflicts, leading to religious wars and the emigration of thousands seeking to escape persecution.

Karant-Nunn's pioneering work on the implications of religious rituals and emotions resonates far beyond the early modern period. Her studies of early modern women's history have been similarly influential, leading to new conceptions of how gender shaped the lives of both individuals and societies in periods of rapid cultural change.

Professor Lyndal Roper of Balliol College Oxford writes, "You are indeed fortunate to have someone of her stature to join in making Arizona the premier place for Reformation studies." 

The recipient of many prestigious awards, including Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, Karant-Nunn has won international praise for her innovative research on the social history of the Reformation and for her ability to synthesize the economic, social, anthropological and psychological dimensions of her subject.

Doing leading work with 16th-century manuscripts, she has written four books, edited or co-edited five volumes and published more than 50 articles in learned journals. Her third book, The Reformation of Ritual, won the prestigious Roland Bainton Prize for the best book in Reformation history from the premier professional association in her field.

Karant-Nunn's illustrious reputation has won her invitations to teach and lecture in the leading institutions for early modern German history – Mainz, Berlin, Toronto, Göttingen, Tübingen – and to lecture on her research in universities throughout Europe and North America.

Karant-Nunn's leadership of the division of medieval and reformation studies has resulted in the department attracting some of the country's best young scholars in early modern studies, many of whom come to Arizona specifically to work with her.

William "Jim" Shuttleworth, UA professor of hydrology and water resources, is considered one of the world's leading experts in understanding the interaction between the land surface, its vegetation and the atmosphere through the physical process of evapotranspiration.

Through his fundamental contributions to the theory, measurement and application of evapotranspiration to climate models, Shuttleworth became a pioneer in developing the new field of hydrometeorology.

The comprehension and mitigation of climate change will be a driving force in research, commerce and policy for many decades of this century. The development of technologies and policies to address a global phenomenon cannot be possible without a deeper scientific understanding of the interaction between the earth and atmosphere.

Shuttleworth's research in the Amazon Basin is credited with beginning the modern phase of environmental research in the Amazon. He helped develop instrumentation that allowed for accurate real-time measurement and recording of evaporation that is now standard equipment in micrometeorological stations throughout the world.

His careful measurements in the rain forest revealed that previous theories about seasonal variation of evapotranspiration were wrong. His work in defining and measuring the role of complex rainforest canopies in evapotranspiration has led to refinement of global weather and climate models through a better understanding of the exchange of carbon dioxide and water vapor between the atmosphere and forest canopy.

Since leaving the Institute of Hydrology in the United Kingdom to join the UA faculty in 1993, Shuttleworth has focused on climate processes in arid and semi-arid environments. He made the transition in his research from one of the most densely vegetated areas of the planet to areas of very sparse vegetation.

He has made fundamental contributions to characterizing the climatic impact of the North American Monsoon. His current research emphasis is improving understanding of land-surface hydrologic fluxes using a variety of remote-sensing techniques.

It is hard to name a major international or national hydrometeorological study that has not included input and significant contribution from Shuttleworth. He is considered one of the leaders of a new international initiative called HELP (Hydrology, Environment, Life, Policy), which is supported by UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization.

His significant contributions to the field have been recognized with prestigious fellowships from the Royal Meteorological Society, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Geophysical Union. He was awarded the International Hydrology Prize in 2006, which is regarded by many as the Nobel Prize for hydrologic science and engineering and has been awarded to only five U.S. hydrologists.

University Distinguished Professor

Jerzy Rozenblit is the only faculty member nominated as a University Distinguished Professor this year.

The honor recognizes faculty who have shown a long-term commitment to undergraduate education and have made outstanding contributions at the University of Arizona.

Rozenblit holds the Raymond J. Oglethorpe endowed chair and is head of the department of electrical and computer engineering. He also holds a joint appointment in the department of Surgery.

Professor Rozenblit has provided scholarships for several disadvantaged students who have subsequently excelled in the ECE program. He established the Raymond J. Oglethorpe Undergraduate Fellowship in Computer Technologies in Clinical and Academic Medicine using funds from his endowed chair position.

"Jerzy fits the mold of the renaissance professor," said College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. "He has established a link between fine arts and electrical engineering, and is doing work in technical theater. He also has a link with surgery that has resulted in a teaching system for surgeons based around a robotic simulator. His whole career has focused on how to combine research and teaching in a really effective way," Goldberg said.

When asked about his legacy, Professor Rozenblit pointed out that in addition to his contribution to the body of knowledge, there is a personal legacy. "I have influenced my students' lives in a very meaningful way," he said. "I am driven by a desire to see the student become the master. That is an incredibly rewarding feeling."