Three CU-Boulder Faculty Members Named Distinguished Professors

December 5, 2006

Three University of Colorado at Boulder faculty members have been named distinguished professors, the highest honor bestowed by CU on its teaching faculty.

The prestigious designation was awarded to Andrzej Ehrenfeucht, professor of computer science; James Markusen, professor of economics; and Linda Watkins, professor of psychology, during the Dec. 5 meeting of the CU Board of Regents.

They join 31 other CU-Boulder faculty members named as distinguished professors since the Board of Regents established the designation in 1977.

The distinguished professor title is bestowed on CU faculty members who have a record of distinguished performance in research or creative work; a record of excellence in both classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning; and a record of outstanding service to the profession and to CU.

An expert in the theoretical aspects of computer science, Ehrenfeucht joined the faculty at the College of Engineering and Applied Science in 1972. His research focuses on computation in living cells, including the computational nature of gene assembly.

He also is involved in an ongoing project to provide continuing mathematics education to practicing schoolteachers. Ehrenfeucht has co-authored four books with science and math materials for schoolteachers. He also is the co-author of the book "Computation in Living Cells: Gene Assembly in Ciliates," which uses an interdisciplinary approach to help clarify important biological aspects of gene assembly and provide insights into the nature of computation.

A member of the European Academy of Sciences, Ehrenfeucht received the 2002 Faculty Research Award from CU-Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science and the 2005 Boulder Faculty Assembly Research Award.

Markusen is listed as one of the top 250 researchers worldwide in business and economics, and is an expert in international economics and multinational corporations. For the past 10 years, he has focused his research on how multinational corporations choose locations to make their products, and how the companies affect the local populations. In addition to his teaching at CU-Boulder, Markusen has taught short courses on trade theory and computer simulation modeling in 10 foreign countries.

In the mid-1980s he served as an adviser and researcher for the McDonald Royal Commission in Canada, which laid the foundation for the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement. In the early 1990s he also worked with Mexican economists to estimate the effects of the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, on the location of production facilities and employment within North America.

A member of the CU-Boulder economics department since 1990, Markusen also is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass., the Center for Economic Policy Research in London, the Center for Economic and Business Research in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Institute for World Economics in Kiel, Germany, and University College Dublin in Ireland.

A researcher in CU-Boulder's Center for Neuroscience, Watkins studies how the brain and the immune system communicate back and forth. The main thrust of her research is on pain, specifically on why chronic pain is so poorly controlled by currently available drugs. She also studies glial cells in the nervous system and their role in regulating pain.

Watkins has 15 to 30 undergraduates working in her lab each semester, and is highly focused on developing new scientists. She spearheaded the development and implementation of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience doctorate program at CU-Boulder, which is now one of the largest doctoral programs on campus. She also directs CU-Boulder's Undergraduate Neuroscience Certificate Program.

She has received numerous awards, including the top research award from both the American Pain Society and the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, as well as the Gunn-Loke lectureship from the University of Washington Pain Center, one of the world's premier pain centers. Watkins joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1990.