CU-Boulder Professor Jane Bock To Receive 1997 Hazel Barnes Prize

May 16, 1997

Jane H. Bock, a biology faculty member since 1968, has won the University of Colorado at Boulder’s highest recognition for teaching and research, the Hazel Barnes Prize.

Chancellor Richard L. Byyny announced that Bock, a world-class scientist who successfully blends research and teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, will receive the Hazel Barnes Prize and a cash award of $20,000.

The largest single faculty award funded by the university, the Hazel Barnes Prize is the university’s highest recognition for the integration of scientific research and teaching excellence.

Bock will be recognized during commencement exercises May 16 in Folsom Stadium.

Bock has played a central role in improving the environmental, population and organismic biology major and the Boulder campus undergraduate biology program. She and colleagues David O. Norris and J. Windell were instrumental in developing a course “widely known as one of, if not the, best introductory biology courses in the country,” according to Byyny.

The course spawned an enrollment increase in EPO biology at a time when it was feared the “general” biology major would disappear.

Since January 1996, Bock has served as co-chair of the campus Sexual Harassment Committee, a personal commitment of considerable time and energy to improving campus working conditions.

Bock’s lifework has been focused on the joy of science and scientific exploration, an enthusiasm that is conveyed to all levels of students, whom she encourages to become scholars of independent thought and understanding. Students typically say her classes were “the best learning experiences” they had at CU-Boulder.

A faculty member in the EPO biology department since 1968-69, when she was a visiting professor, Bock became an assistant professor in 1969 and has been a full professor since 1980.

Her current positions include member of the board of directors of the CU Center of the American West, research affiliate at the CU Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, associate curator of the University of Colorado Herbarium and affiliate staff scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

Bock’s teaching focus has ranged from undergraduate introductory courses on general biology and field botany to advising and mentoring graduate students, many of whom are now in research and teaching positions throughout the world.

Her research interests center on the evolutionary ecology of flowering plants from the grasslands of the Americas and the alpine regions of the Rocky Mountains and mountain ranges in Europe and Eurasia. Her work encompasses High Plains grasslands and the effects of fire, drought, grazing and human encroachment.

She is an outspoken advocate for conservation of ecosystems and habitat preservation for native flora and fauna throughout the Americas.

Numerous publications and research papers on grasslands have been co-authored with her husband, Carl E. Bock, also a professor and current chair of the EPO biology department, and others.

She is an author with EPO biology colleague David O. Norris of a laboratory manual on identification of plant materials in human remains that is used by coroners and law enforcement officials throughout the country. Her pioneering forensic work on analysis of stomach content that allows investigators to determine time of death has received wide commendation from law enforcement officials.

Bock received a bachelor’s degree in botany from Duke University, a master’s degree in botany from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in botany (1966) from the University of California at Berkeley. She studied at Edinburgh University in Scotland in 1956-57. She was born in Rochester, Ind., in 1936.

The selection committee for the 1997 Hazel Barnes Prize was chaired by Distinguished Professor David Prescott of the molecular, cellular and developmental biology department.

Bock is the sixth Hazel Barnes Prize recipient, joining Klaus Timmerhaus of chemical engineering (1992), Reginald Saner of English (1993), David Prescott of MCD biology (1994), Michael Grant of EPO biology (1995) and John “Jack” Kelso of anthropology (1996).

The prize was established in 1991 by former Chancellor James Corbridge in honor of philosophy Professor Emerita Hazel Barnes to recognize “the enriching interrelationship between teaching and research.” Barnes, a renowned teacher from 1943 until her retirement in 1986, is internationally known for her interpretation of the work of French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre.

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