OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Honors Two Faculty Members With ‘Distinguished Professor’ Titles

05/14/2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two Oregon State University faculty members are being awarded the title of “distinguished professor” – the highest honor that faculty can receive at OSU – for scholarship and academic achievement that for one has been marked by acclaimed, award-winning writing and the other, by globally recognized work in biotechnology.

The honorees are Tracy Daugherty, chair of the Dept. of English and a professor of English and Creative Writing within the College of Liberal Arts, and Steven H. Strauss, professor of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology in the College of Forestry. Each will be awarded the new title at a Thursday, May 22, luncheon as part of “Recognizing Excellence Week at OSU.”

“The incredible scholarship and dedication of Drs. Daugherty and Strauss are reminders of the academic excellence within our midst at Oregon State,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. “Their nominations were welcome, and for each, the honor is richly deserved.”

Both Daugherty and Strauss also will deliver Distinguished Professor Lectures as part of their recognition next Thursday. Daugherty’s talk, “Let Us Build a City: Literary Lives in the United States,” is set for 10 a.m. in the Memorial Union Journey Room, while Strauss’ lecture, “News from the Front: Science, Conflict and Insight from the Interface of Biotechnology and Society,” is set for 2:30 p.m. in the same room.

A graduate of the University of Houston, Daugherty joined the OSU faculty in 1986, the same year that Random House published his first book, “Desire Provoked.” Daugherty produced a torrent of work over the next two decades – seven additional books, eight chapters for other books, 25 short fiction works and numerous essays, interviews and magazine articles. His latest book, “Hiding Man: A Life of Donald Barthelme,” is due out next year from St. Martin’s Press.

“In the process of compiling this extraordinary publication record, Daugherty also took the leadership in establishing Oregon State’s Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, which is now a thriving and nationally competitive program,” said Distinguished Professor of American Literature David Robinson in nominating Daugherty. “… A mentor who is sought after and much revered by aspiring students of the art of fiction, Daugherty has also exercised exemplary institutional leadership as director of the Creative Writing Program…”

Daugherty was named a Guggenheim Fellow in August 2006, won the Ken Kesey Award for the Novel for “Axeman’s Jazz” in 2005 and earned a literary fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1998, among many other honors.

Strauss has earned an international reputation for his contributions to plant biotechnology, including major contributions to policy and ecological assessment of biotechnology. He has published nearly 160 scholarly papers, delivered more than 170 invited lectures and obtained more than $14 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and numerous other federal agencies.

In 1994, he created (and still directs) the Tree Genomics and Biosafety Research Cooperative, composed of biotechnology companies and forest industries, which focuses on reduction of ecological risks of genetically engineered trees. Similarly, Strauss created and directed the NSF Industry/University Research Center on Tree Genetics in 1999, a multi-university center that includes OSU, Purdue, North Carolina State and Virginia Technological University.

“His scholarship is broad, spanning the molecular to the ecological, and technical to policy levels,”said Tom Adams, department head of Forest Science, and Executive Associate Dean of Forestry Stephen Hobbs in nominating Strauss. “Dr. Strauss’ laboratory has trained more than 150 high school and undergraduate students, 21 postdoctoral scientists, 39 technical/professional employees and 23 graduate students. Most of his graduate students have earned leading position in academia or industry.”

OSU Distinguished Professor titles have been awarded annually since 1988 to recognize outstanding, active faculty members who have achieved national and/or international stature as a result of their contributions to scholarship/creative activity, research, education, and service and whose work has been notably influential in their fields of specialization.