The University Record, March 12, 1996

Six faculty members will hold Thurnau professorships

The Regents last month named six faculty members to the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship which "recognizes and rewards faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education."

Those honored are Kathleen M. Canning, associate professor of history; Paul N. Courant, professor of economics and of public policy; Anthony H. Francis, professor of chemistry; Bruce H. Karnopp, associate professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics; Michael M. Martin, professor of biology; and David S. Potter, associate professor of Greek and Latin.

The Thurnau Professorships, named after Arthur F. Thurnau, a U-M student in 1902­04, are supported by the Thurnau Charitable Trust established through his will. The University each year selects faculty members who are designat ed as Thurnau Professors for a three-year term and receive a grant to support their teaching activities.

In recommending Prof. Canning, Provost J. Bernard Machen said that she "has distinguished herself as an outstanding teacher in a department that has many fine teachers. She is known for the energy and creativity that she puts into all her courses, be they large lectures, or smaller, reading- and writing-intensive seminars. Her most significant impact has been in the introductory survey course in European history, which enrolls not only freshmen and sophomores, but also juniors and seniors. It is difficult to make a course accessible to underclassmen and yet challenging to upperclassmen. Moreover, this course covers an enormous chronological span and several different national histories."

Prof. Courant, Provost Machen said, has been "an exemplary teacher at all levels in both the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the School of Public Policy. His ability to teach courses with well over 200 students and achieve high ratings for student satisfaction is remarkable. His new economics course, taught jointly with two col leagues, is organized around an industry (the automobile) rather than the traditional orientation by subfield of econom ics. This course has become one of the department's more innovative and popular undergraduate offerings."

Prof. Francis, Provost Machen noted, is "a dedicated teacher and an influential mentor of undergraduate students. He has an impressive record of turning courses dreaded by undergraduates, such as physical chemistry, into theaters of ac tive learning. He creates comfortable learning situations by establishing 'conversations' that weave fundamental knowledge into the processes of thinking about complex ideas. While maintaining a first-class research program and gaining international recognition for his scientific creativity and curiosity, Prof. Francis has demonstrated a steady in terest in introducing new courses, new technology, and new techniques into the chemistry curriculum."

Prof. Karnopp is "known for the depth of his commitment to undergraduates. His student evaluations over three de cades prove him to be an exceedingly popular teacher. He takes photographs of his students to learn their names quick ly and the students appreciate his genuine concern for them. He manages to keep what one former student called 'the human side to his teaching' even while presenting the more technical points in the field of dynamics. For his efforts, he has received five awards for outstanding teaching at the college, university and state levels. But Prof. Karnopp's inter est in undergraduates continues outside of formal classes."

Prof. Martin is "a talented natural spe aker who is supremely adept at cutting to the core of an issue and illuminating it in an intuitive and very logical way," Provost Machen said. "He is, in some respects, a paradox: a most careful, disci plined, and rigorous scientist who is, at the same time, able to charm his students. His contributions to undergraduate education in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts have been superb and wide-ranging. As associate dean for undergraduate education, he was able to create an atmosphere in which continuous curricular reform came to seem the norm."

Prof. Potter "has an extraordinary record of innovative undergraduate teaching, in his 'Sports' course and his classical civilization courses dealing with the techniques, politics, economics, and cultural ideologies of war, warfare, and peace. The popularity and value of his courses stem from his ability to engage students, even in the largest lecture classes, in the process of their own education. Prof. Potter has also created a new concentration program in Classical Civilization, a structured and coherent course of study for students interested in ancient worlds and methods of ap proaching past societies."