Published: Dec. 3, 2021

Four professors of distinction and two teaching professors of distinction are named for 2021

Four members of the University of Colorado Boulder faculty have been named 2021 professors of distinction by the College of Arts and Sciences in recognition of their exceptional service, teaching and research. Additionally, two faculty members have been designated as 2021 teaching professors of distinction.

The new professors of distinction are Chris DeSouza of integrative physiology, Nan Goodman of English, Michael Ritzwoller of physics and Paul Youngquist of English. The two teaching professors of distinction designated in 2021 are Vicki Grove of Germanic and Slavic Language and Literatures and Brett King of psychology and neuroscience.

The professor-of-distinction title is reserved for scholars and artists of national and international acclaim whom peers also recognize as exceptionally talented teachers and colleagues. Those honored with this award hold the title for the remainder of their careers in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder.

Those designated as teaching professors of distinction are recognized for their outstanding record in the areas of teaching, service and leadership.

Professors of Distinction

Chris DeSouza

Chris DeSouza

DeSouza’s research is focused on the effects of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, HIV-1 infection and, most recently, spinal cord injury on vascular endothelial cell function (how well the inner lining of cells are functioning) and repair. His laboratory also studies the effects of lifestyle and pharmacological interventions on vascular endothelial cell biology.

DeSouza earned his PhD in exercise/applied physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1995. He joined the CU Boulder faculty as a postdoctoral researcher the same year and became an assistant professor here in 1999.

He has directed the Integrative Vascular Biology Laboratory at CU Boulder since 1999, and the University of Colorado Boulder Clinical and Translational Research Center since 2008.

He received a Clinical Research Award from the American Diabetes Association in 2002, became a fellow of the American Heart Association in 2007, and earned an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association in 2008. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1995.

Nan Goodman

Nan Goodman

Goodman teaches and writes about 17th- through 19th-century American literature and culture, the intersections of American law and literature, and the early Jewish American experience. She is especially interested in cultural manifestations of social inclusion and exclusion and questions about identity. 

She is the author of three books on early American law and literature: The Puritan Cosmopolis: The Law of Nations and the Early American Imagination; Banished: Common Law and the Rhetoric of Social Exclusion in Early New England; and Shifting the Blame: Literature, Law and the Theory of Accidents in Nineteenth-Century America. She is working on a book, tentatively titled Sabbatai Sevi Comes to America, which stems from her research on the legacy of the false Jewish messiah, Sabbatai Sevi. She has also co-edited two volumes of essays, one on religion in America and the other on law and humanities in 19th-century America.

Goodman earned a PhD in English from Harvard University in 1992 after having earned a JD from Stanford Law School in 1985. She joined the CU Boulder faculty in 1992 and has also been an adjunct professor in the CU School of Law as well as a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School. She directed the university’s Jewish Studies Program from 2015-19 and is a member of its faculty.

She won the Boulder Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work in 2019, was named a Kingdon Fellow by the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019, and taught as a Fulbright Scholar at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul in 2014.

Michael Ritzwoller

Michael Ritzwoller

Ritzwoller is a theoretical geophysicist who works broadly to develop and apply new methods to image earth structures from local through global scales. His recent work has focused on developing methods to exploit seismic ambient noise to resolve isotropic (uniform) and anisotropic (varied) earth structures in the crust and upper mantle, particularly across the US and China. He has also worked in normal mode seismology, helioseismology (the study of the sun), ocean acoustics and shallow subsurface imaging using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and seismic waves.

He earned a PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in 1987. After doing a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, Ritzwoller joined the CU Boulder faculty in 1990. He has served as co-director of the university’s Joint Seismic Program Center, was a fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), was director of the Center for Imaging the Earth’s Interior, and is chair of the Department of Physics.

Ritzwoller was the American Geophysical Union’s Gutenberg Lecturer in 2013 and was named an American Geophysical Union fellow in 2005. He has won two CU Faculty Fellowships and was named a fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1990. He has published more than 125 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Paul Youngquist

Paul Youngquist

Youngquist’s research focuses on relations between European and African cultures in the late 18th-century West Indies, specifically their mutual contribution to the cultural flowering called British Romanticism. He mixes archival and theoretical resources with fieldwork to examine the role dislocated Africans play in the economic and cultural production of the late 18th-century Anglophone world.

Youngquist is the author of A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism, a book about the artist who is credited with creating “space music” as a means of building a better future for American Black people. He also edited Race, Romanticism, and the Atlantic and Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective.

Youngquist earned a PhD from the University of Virginia in 1988 and also earned a BA, magna cum laude, from CU Boulder in 1980.

Among the awards he’s won are a Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence Award in 2018, CU Boulder Kayden Awards in 2009 and 2012 and a George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991.

Teaching Professors of Distinction

Vicki Grove

Vicki Grove

Grove is a senior instructor in the Russian and Nordic Programs. She received both her MA and PhD in comparative literature, with an emphasis on 19th-century Russian literature at CU Boulder.

Her research interests include the fantastic and supernatural in Russian and other literatures, and those subjects related to her teaching: Russian folklore, culture, fairy tales and epic narrative. She has presented papers on the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Mikhail Lermontov and chaired panels on Slavic folklore. Her research focus also includes contemporary Nordic fiction and saga literature.

Grove is also co-director of the Russian, East European and Central Asian (REECA) Heritage Camp for Adoptive Families. With volunteers from Russian, Kazakh, Ukrainian and other members of the Denver community, as well as from CU Boulder's Russian Program and its majors, this camp offers a rare opportunity for children to not only learn about the culture of their native countries, but also to develop a sense of pride in their heritage, and to participate in a community of fellow adoptees.

Among other recognition, Grove has won the Boulder Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service, in 2020. She also received a Distinguished Service award from the CU Faculty Council in 2020.

Brett King

Brett King

King’s research focuses on the development of American psychology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with an emphasis on the critical role that German-American psychologists made in promoting Gestalt psychology in the United States.

King earned a PhD in psychology from Colorado State University in 1990 and joined the CU Boulder faculty as a postdoctoral researcher the same year. He has won a number of teaching awards, including twice his department’s annual teaching award, in 1994 and 2005. He is a three-time winner of the university’s Residence Life Academic Teaching Award.

This year, he won the Marinus G. Smith Award, conferred by New Student and Family Programs on faculty and staff who have had “a particularly positive impact on our students.” And, in 2007, he won the Herd Teacher Recognition Award from the CU Boulder Alumni Association.

He is co-author of a textbook, A history of psychology: Ideas and context, now in its fifth edition. With Michael Wertheimer, he is co-author of the book Max Wertheimer and Gestalt theory; Michael Wertheimer is Max Wertheimer’s son and a professor emeritus of psychology at CU Boulder.