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Release: May 4, 1999

Three professors honored for contributions to UI College of Engineering

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Three University of Iowa professors recently received College of Engineering awards for their individual contributions to research, teaching and service.

The three, who were recognized April 27 by Interim Dean Barry Butler at the College's annual faculty/staff awards luncheon, are: Gregory Carmichael, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, for research; Thomas Casavant, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, for teaching; and Jerald Schnoor, professor of civil and environmental engineering, for service.

Carmichael, who came to the UI in 1978, is co-director of the UI’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) and an internationally recognized authority on air quality and atmospheric chemistry modeling. His extensive list of conference presentations, invited lectures and seminars includes a 1998 seminar on "Asia Development and the Environment" for members of Congress and agency planners in Washington, D.C. Also in 1998, he became the first recipient of the Recognition Award given by the 6th International Conference on Atmospheric Sciences and Applications to Air Quality held in Beijing.

An expert on transboundary air pollution in Asia, he has worked with the World Bank and the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and is among a select few researchers helping the WMO develop a strategic plan to deal with global climate change.

He has received national research grants and awards from NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Dreyfus Foundation and is the lead researcher in a recently submitted NSF Science and Technology Center grant application on laser-based technologies for environmental applications. His work has resulted in one patent and has been supported by more than $3.5 million in awards from industry and state and federal agencies. Carmichael consults regularly for several U.S. industries and agencies, as well as organizations in Canada, Japan, and Europe.

Casavant, who came to the UI in 1989, directed the UI Parallel Processing Laboratory from 1993-94 and, since 1996, has been the director of UI Computational Molecular Biology in Gene Discovery and Disease Gene Identification.

In his remarks, Butler noted that Casavant's teaching abilities are recognized by the many students who seek out his courses and give him consistently high evaluations. Also, he has mentored more than three dozen undergraduate students during honors projects, special investigations, and individual studies. His enthusiasm for teaching extends beyond the classroom to the social events that he hosts for his undergraduate students and his participation in extracurricular activities, such as the annual student programming contest.

In addition to being an excellent teacher, he has led the effort to upgrade and modernize the content of courses. For example, he successfully revised the computer content in the undergraduate electrical and computer engineering curriculum and designed and implemented new laboratories for the courses. Despite a heavy research burden, he continues to improve the curriculum, as shown by his writing several hundred pages of web-based notes for an undergraduate core course.

Schnoor, a UI faculty member since 1977, is the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering and Co-Director of CGRER. The most recent of his numerous honors was his 1999 election to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, the profession’s highest honor.

Schnoor’s collegiate service includes: chair of the department of civil and environmental engineering, 1985-90; president of the Faculty Council and Senate, 1993-94; secretary of the Faculty Council and Senate, 1986-87; current tenure as one of three faculty representatives on the University's Strategic Planning Steering Committee; and membership on numerous committees. His service to students includes mentoring high school students at summer programs and working with many undergraduate engineering students in his research programs.

He has research interests that include water quality modeling, hazardous wastes remediation, and global atmospheric trace gases. He is the co-author of more than 100 journal articles, editor of four books, and author of Environmental Modeling (John Wiley and Sons, 1996), adopted as a text by more than 50 graduate programs throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America. He is an international authority on environmental engineering, having led many international projects, testified before Congress on several occasions, and served as an advisor to William Ruckelshaus, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, on issues involving acid rain.