[content]

Index A to ZApply NowFrom the ChancellorVisitorsAlumniPeople FinderFor the MediaFor Parentsjobs
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Home SIU Salukis
SalukinetSIUC IntranetAthleticsPublic Events CalendarWeather



Recent Faculty News

1. Karen Lips wins prestigious Leopold Leadership Fellowship by Paula Davenport

A zoologist on Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s faculty is among a select group of 20 North American environmentalists just chosen to receive a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship.

Honors go to Karen R. Lips, an associate professor of zoology. She is an expert on neo-tropical frogs and the ecological obstacles facing them.

As an Aldo Leopold Fellow, she will join 19 of her peers for two separate week-long training sessions on how to better communicate important scientific findings to media organizations, policy makers and the general public.

Lips is known around the globe for helping detect a previously unknown fungus that appears to play a part in population crashes of some frog species.

The program is competitive and is based at the Stanford Institute for the Environment. It pays homage to Leopold, a renowned environmental scientist perhaps best known as author of “A Sand County Almanac,” essays on the natural world inspired by observations of his Indiana farm.

Communicating through popular media will be the focus of the first session. The second will focus on interacting with policy makers, industry and non-governmental organizations and will be held in Washington, D.C.

Additional information on the program and its participants is available at www.leopoldleadership.org.

Lips presently is looking into geographic and ecological patterns of amphibian declines in Latin America.

Frogs are considered an indicator species, much like canaries miners once carried into coalmines to warn of fatal gases.

Lips is also a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, winner of the Biodiversity Leadership Award from the Bay & Paul Foundation, and belongs to the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force and a number of other professional organizations devoted to herpetology, amphibians and reptiles.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activity is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

2. Ebbs wins Core Curriculum Teaching Award

Stephen D. Ebbs, associate professor of plant biology, is the recipient of the award as Outstanding Faculty Member Teaching in the University Core Curriculum. He received a $2,000 award and a plaque during a ceremony hosted by John M. Dunn, provost and vice chancellor.

In addition, Ebbs' photo and biographical sketch are featured on the front of the core curriculum's home page.

A Benton native, he earned a bachelor's in biology at McKendree College in 1990 and his master's and doctoral degrees in environmental toxicology at Cornell University in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

He's taught entry-level biology classes for more than a decade. He also maintains an active research program that examines the impacts of environmental contaminants on plants, specifically with respect to the mechanisms plants use to tolerate or detoxify such contaminants.

Undergraduates working in his laboratory contribute to his research efforts and learn a variety of modern scientific techniques.

3. Waring honored as Top Teacher By K.C. Jaehnig

Eight Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty members will receive cash grants and professional development accounts through the University's "Excellence Through Commitment Awards Program" as rewards for superior teaching. This year's top teachers included George H. Waring, College of Science.

The "Excellence" initiative, new last year, standardizes individual college efforts and offers more lucrative awards. College-level winners each receive $3,000 outright plus a matching amount through the Office of Research and Development to support professional activities during the next fiscal year.

The "Excellence Through Commitment" program reflects Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's intention to foster creative, scholarly and teaching excellence as outlined in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019. He hosted a dinner for all award winners at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21.

Waring, professor of zoology, teaches six classes covering various aspects of animal behavior and vertebrate zoology. He draws on lectures, visual aids, demonstrations and reading materials as well as on laboratory work and field presentations. He's been using multi-media — slides, film clips, overheads, recordings and such — as lecture aids for more than four decades and was an early adopter of online materials. When he doesn't find books or manuals he needs, he writes them himself, making sure that they're constantly updated.

Waring earned his bachelor's in 1962 from Colorado State University, his master's in 1964 from the University of Colorado and his doctorate in 1966 from Colorado State. He came to SIUC in 1966.

4. Mohammed honored as College of Science Top Scholar by K.C. Jaehnig

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is honoring 10 faculty members for superior scholarship within their academic units.

Salah E.A. Mohammed from the College of Science will receive a cash grant and professional development account through the University's "Excellence Through Commitment Awards Program."

The "Excellence" initiative, new last year, standardizes individual college efforts and offers more lucrative awards. College-level winners each receive $3,000 outright plus a matching amount through the Office of Research and Development to support professional activities during the next fiscal year.

The "Excellence Through Commitment" program reflects Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's intention to foster creative, scholarly and teaching excellence as outlined in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Wendler hosted a dinner for all award winners at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21.

A world leader in stochastic analysis, Mohammed, a professor of mathematics, has done pioneering research in deterministic and stochastic hereditary dynamical systems, the Malliavin calculus and its applications to partial differential equations. The National Science Foundation has continuously funded his work since 1989. He has published two groundbreaking research monographs, 30 research papers that appeared in his field's top journals and has made more than 60 research presentations.

Mohammed earned his bachelor's degree in 1970 from the University of Khartoum in Sudan (Africa), his master's in 1972 from the University of Dundee in Scotland and his doctorate in 1976 from the University of Warwick in England. He joined the faculty in 1984.

5. Study: St. Louis is the epicenter of flood plain encroachments by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- When it comes to building on flood-prone land, no place does it like St. Louis.

"The St. Louis area is the epicenter of floodplain encroachment nationwide," said Nicholas M. Pinter, a geologist from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, whose article on the subject appears in this week's issue of the journal Science. "Because of the extent of human development on the floodplain, our research suggests that the next one may well be bigger than the last," he said.

"More than any other place, the greater St. Louis metropolitan area is allowing its floodplain to turn into new strip mall development. It has $2.2 billion in new development on land that was under water in 1993 — 18,000 acres either in construction behind levees or in the planning stages. It's just unprecedented."

Pinter has spent more than seven years examining flooding on the Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and other major rivers in the United States and around the world. To get a fix on floods along the middle Mississippi (from the spot just north of St. Louis where the Missouri River flows into it down south to Cairo, where it meets up with the Ohio River), Pinter and his students have analyzed the long and detailed measurement record from St. Louis and other locations.

"St. Louis is a wonderful place to do work," he said. "There are daily measurements of water levels from 1861 and scattered measurements that go back even further."

Statistical analysis of such measures as water height, flow and volume, land-use changes and channel width and depth reveals how river behavior — including flooding — changes over time and what has driven these changes.

"It's different from modeling studies that say what the river should do according to the model," he said. "We're looking at what the river actually has done — which sometimes conflicts with the results of the computer models."

Pinter has found, among other things, that floods happen more often and rise to greater heights when and where people build on floodplains and then construct levees to protect what they've built.

"Levees make floods higher when they come through because areas that would convey and disperse the flood flows are blocked," said Pinter.

Commonplace as levees along the middle Mississippi now seem, they're a relatively new landscape feature.

"Before 1900, there were very few levees in most areas," Pinter said. "For example, along a portion of the Mississippi floodplain in St. Charles County, there was only one low levee as recently as 1930, but by 2000, they're all over the place, and they're enormously higher — in some places as much as 10 times higher.

"The damage is ongoing. New levees are higher and enclose more land — a process that continues as we speak. When you look at what was there before (in terms of enclosed or raised floodplain), what's been added since 1993 and what's being proposed, it's just a huge amount."

For a few years after the Midwest's "Great Flood of '93," most everyone agreed that St. Louis area developers should avoid building on the floodplain, Pinter said. There was even talk of removing what was already there.

"The problem is that there are all kinds of incentives to build on that floodplain," he noted.

"It's available land, flat, and the pressures for economic gain seem to be winning."

This "rush into the floodplain" should serve as a wakeup call, both for the greater St. Louis area and other regions where this rush is occurring and for the rest of the country, Pinter said.

"We should pay attention, enforce the laws, not let these activities go on because we're going to pay a price for them — every taxpayer in the country will pay the price when a flood like the one in 1993 next comes through," he said.

"We have a golden opportunity to hold the line — to prevent these things from being built in the first place because it's a one-way process. Once they're built, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will never be able to afford to remove them — there's not that much money in the buyout program, and there never will be."

In the meantime, business and property owners in the floodplains of St. Louis and St. Charles County should brace for the worst. Records show that the area's 10 highest floods in the historical record all occurred in the last 65 years.

"In any given year, you will have the same danger of flooding whether it's been 100 years since the last one or just last year — it's just a matter of time," Pinter said.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

6. George Waring, professor of zoology, was honored to learn that a newly published Cambridge University Press book (The Domestic Horse – The Origins, Development, and Management of its Behaviour edited by D. S. Mills (University of Lincoln) and S. M. McDonnell (University of Pennsylvania) has the following dedication:

“We dedicate this text to Kathe Houpt, Hans Klingel, and George Waring who have done more than they will ever realize to inspire a generation of scientists concerned about horses.”

The Domestic Horse

7. Frank Gaitan, associate professor of physics, recently signed a book contract with Taylor & Francis/CRC Press for a new book entitled Quantum Error Correction and Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computing. Book Delivery Date: June 30, 2006.

8. Boyd Goodson’s (assistant professor of chemistry) application for the Cottrell Scholar is "recommended for funding." This is highly prestigious and it comes with $100K. There are only 13 Cottrell Scholars chosen nationwide.

9. Norman Carver, associate professor of computer science, has just heard from NSF that his proposal titled "Distributed Interpretation in a Communication-Limited Environment," has been funded in excess of $300,000.

10. Carey Krajewski, professor of zoology, has been awarded the Outstanding Scholar Award for 2005 by the SIUC Chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Last year Dr. Krajewski was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award from the College of Science.