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May 18, 2007

Trustees honor three professors, approve department change, degree

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University board of trustees on Friday (May 18) approved the appointments of three designated professors and the creation of an independent anthropology department at the West Lafayette campus and a new bachelor's degree program at the North Central campus.

M. Katherine Banks was named the Bowen Engineering Head of Civil Engineering, Stephen G. Green is the Basil S. Turner Distinguished Professor of Management in the Krannert School of Management, and Timothy S. Zwier is the Melvin G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.

The three newest appointments bring the university's total of named and distinguished professorships to 140.

"These faculty members have distinguished themselves at the top of their fields," Purdue Provost Sally Mason said. "The designation of a distinguished or named professorship is one way to honor our own, and such designations also help Purdue attract and retain the highest quality of faculty. We're very proud of what these people have accomplished in the way of scholarship, research, teaching and leadership, and we want other people to know about their accomplishments."

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Banks has been a professor at Purdue since 1997. She was named head of the School of Civil Engineering in August. Her research focus is wastewater treatment and applied biological waste treatment processes.

She has served as principal investigator for many multidisciplinary research grants at Purdue and has received funding from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. departments of Defense and Education, and NASA, as well as industry and state government. She served as director of the EPA Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center, as associate director of the NASA Center for Advanced Life Support and as co-director of the 21st Century Center for phytoremediation research.

Banks is the author or co-author of more than 100 journal articles, proceedings papers, book chapters and reports. She serves as editor-in-chief for the American Society for Civil Engineers Journal of Environmental Engineering and as associate editor of the International Journal of Phytoremediation.

She received her bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Florida in 1982, a master's degree in water resources engineering from the University of North Carolina in 1985, and a doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University in 1989. She is a licensed professional civil engineer in Indiana and Kansas and has received numerous awards.

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Green joined the Purdue faculty in 1987 and performs research in the areas of leadership, work and family interfaces, and the management of technological innovation. His research has been widely published in several publications and supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Center for Innovation Management Studies, Center for International Business and Economic Research, and Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprise.

He has taught organizational behavior, leadership, managing technological innovation, teams and research methods, and has been named to the Purdue Teaching Academy and Book of Great Teachers.

Green has served on the editorial boards of several publications and on review panels for the National Science Foundation. He served as director of Krannert's professional master's programs from 1995-98 and on Purdue's graduate council.

He earned his bachelor's degree in management from Oklahoma State University in 1967, his master's degree in management from the University of Texas in 1968 and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Washington in 1976.

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Zwier has been on faculty at Purdue since 1988 and has been department head in chemistry since 2004. His current research involves the development and use of laser-based methods to probe the structures and reactions of isolated molecules and small molecular aggregates. When applied to biologically relevant molecules, the methods his research group has developed can be used to select a subset of molecules with the same shape, energize them with the laser, and follow their transformation from one shape into another. He also applies these techniques to molecules and free radicals of importance in combustion processes and planetary atmospheres.

He has been a senior editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry since 2003. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and recently received the 2007 Earle K. Plyler prize in molecular spectroscopy from the American Physical Society.

He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Calvin College in 1977 and his doctorate in chemical physics from the University of Colorado in 1981. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate at the James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago. He went on to become assistant and associate professor of chemistry at Calvin College before coming to Purdue. He became a full professor in 1997, and was named a Purdue University Faculty Scholar in 1999.

In other business, the trustees approved the College of Liberal Arts' request to establish the Department of Anthropology in fall 2008. For more than 30 years, anthropology has been a part of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The change will create independent departments for both anthropology and sociology.

"The anthropology undergraduate major and graduate program are proven academic programs that support 45 undergraduate majors, 20 graduate students and almost 900 enrollments a semester," said John Contreni, the Justin S. Morrill Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "As its own department, the area of anthropology will continue to prosper and offer a rich education in biological, archaeological, cultural and linguistic anthropology."

Anthropology, which will be the College of Liberal Arts' 12th department, is home to 11 faculty members whose research interests include topics such as Jewish communities in Denmark, rural communities in Indonesia, gorilla social organization and ecology in the Central African Republic, health of older adults in the United States, and settlement archaeology in Mexico and Peru. Starting in fall 2008, the new department's administrative offices will be housed on the second floor of Stone Hall in the former Consumer and Family Sciences library. Some faculty offices will remain on the third floor of Stone Hall.

The trustees also approved the creation of a degree program in early childhood education at Purdue North Central. The program is for those planning to teach prekindergarten up to second grade. The program is subject to approval from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Writer: Jim Bush (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Sally Mason , (765) 494-9709,

M. Katherine Banks, (765) 496-3424,

Stephen G. Green, (765) 494-6852,

Timothy Zwier, (765) 494-5203,

John Contreni, (765) 494-3661,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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