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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 29, 2007

Six UI professors win regents awards for faculty excellence

Six University of Iowa faculty members have won the 2007 Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Given by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the award honors faculty members for work representing a significant contribution to excellence in public education. Each honoree will receive $1,000. This year's UI recipients are Randall Bezanson, Beverly L. Davidson, James B. Gloer, Adalaide "Dee" Morris, Ernest Pascarella and Alec Scranton.

Bezanson, David H. Vernon Professor of Law and former UI vice president for finance, is a recognized First Amendment scholar, author and teacher. Bezanson graduated from the UI College of Law and later clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1972-73 term when Roe v. Wade was decided. He then joined the UI College of Law faculty, where he remained until 1988, serving also as UI vice president for finance from 1979-84. Bezanson served as dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Va., from 1988 to 1994 before returning to the Iowa law faculty in 1996. His scholarship spans the fields of administrative law, constitutional law, first amendment theory, defamation and privacy law, law and medicine and the history of freedom of the press. Bezanson's book "How Free Can Religion Be?" (University of Illinois Press 2006) was nominated for the National Book Award. He has also drafted legislation on a broad range of topics, including civil commitment of the mentally ill, treatment of the terminally ill, surrogacy and assisted conception and defamation and invasion of privacy.

Davidson, Roy J. Carver Biomedical Research Chair in the UI Department of Internal Medicine, is internationally recognized for her work on genetic diseases that cause brain dysfunction and in the emerging science of RNA interference. Davidson's pioneering work in neurodegenerative diseases is focused on translating basic research findings into patient therapies. She is committed to education at all levels, maintaining an active laboratory and participating in the teaching of undergraduates, graduate students in the biomedical sciences as well as medical residents and fellows. In addition to appointments in the Departments of Neurology and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Davidson is also co-director of the Center for Gene Therapy, director of the UI Gene Transfer Vector Core and vice chair for basic research in internal medicine.

Gloer, professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, joined the UI faculty in 1984. His research focuses on the discovery of new antibiotics and potential anti-cancer agents. Gloer's work has been supported continuously since 1989 by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other sources. He teaches organic chemistry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and has supervised 22 doctoral dissertations. Gloer has served frequently on NIH review panels, as a reviewer for numerous other granting agencies and journals, and he is a past president of the American Society of Pharmacognosy. He is a collegiate fellow in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and was recently named the Roy J. Carver/Ralph L. Shriner Professor of Chemistry.

Morris, John C. Gerber Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is a major researcher in the fields of poetry, poetics and more recently, new media.  Morris has served on the UI faculty since 1974, where she is a legendary teacher of poetry at every level, and she has pioneered courses on new media poetics and on poetic communities. Morris served as chair of the Department of English from 1995-99 and on many important UI committees, including searches for two presidents. She has also served as president of the Association of Departments of English.

Pascarella is the UI's Mary Louise Petersen Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education. Pascarella has focused his research and writing on the impact of college on students and student persistence in higher education. His 1991 book "How College Affects Students" (Jossey-Bass) received the Research Achievement Award from the Study of Higher Education. Pascarella's research has been supported by the National Institute of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, the American College Personnel Association and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Scranton is professor of chemical and biochemical engineering and associate dean for academic programs in the UI College of Engineering. Scranton has an extensive background of expertise in polymer science and engineering, polymer reaction engineering and surfactants. He is director of the National Science Foundation-based Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Fundamentals and Applications of Photopolymerizations, a joint center between the UI and the University of Colorado. In his role as associate dean at the UI, he has led a major reshaping of engineering curriculum over the last several years, and he has shepherded significant increases in student enrollment, the honors program and the number of students graduating with bachelor's degrees in engineering.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,