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Feb. 19, 2004

Five U-M faculty members named Thurnau Professors

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Five faculty members have been named to the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship, which recognizes and rewards University of Michigan faculty for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. The appointments were announced today (Feb. 19) at the U-M Board of Regents meeting.

The honorees are: William Gehring, associate professor of psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA); J. Wayne Jones, professor of materials and metallurgical engineering, College of Engineering; Elizabeth Moje, associate professor of education, School of Education; Scott Moore, associate professor of computer and information systems, School of Business Administration; and Robert Owen, associate dean for undergraduate education and long-range planning, and professor of marine geochemistry, LSA.

The Thurnau Professorships, named after Arthur F. Thurnau, a U-M student in 1902-04, are supported by the Thurnau Charitable Trust established through his will. The University each year selects faculty members who are designated as Thurnau Professors for a three-year term. Each receives a $20,000 grant to support their teaching activities.

-- William Gehring : According to Richard Gonzalez, psychology chair, "Professor Gehring is a spectacular teacher in every setting in which he has been given teaching assignments." From small first-year seminars to the large auditoriums of Psychology 340, he has found ways to make his expertise accessible, while still challenging students, Gonzalez said.

In addition to his classroom teaching, Gehring regularly mentors undergraduate students in his lab, teaching them complex technical skills. He also mentors graduate students and faculty colleagues in psychology, sharing his materials and methods, allowing them to sit in on his classes, and observing their classes and offering constructive feedback.

-- J. Wayne Jones : As both a teacher and administrator, Jones has dedicated his career to improving undergraduate education at U-M for more than 26 years. During his tenure as associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering, he spearheaded the college's re-accreditation efforts and provided leadership for the development of Curriculum 2000, an undergraduate curricular reform project.

Jones receives outstanding evaluations in the courses he teaches and has twice been recognized with the Mechanical Engineering Teaching Incentive Award. His teaching style is characterized by energy and passion, and he is widely recognized for engaging students both in and out of the classroom.


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-- Elizabeth Moje : Moje's research findings in the area of literacy education have led to an innovative philosophy of teaching that encourages her students to integrate theory, academic research and practical skills. She is perhaps best known to undergraduate education students as the instructor of Education 402—a course required of all students in the secondary teacher preparation program.

Through undergraduate research mentorship programs Moje shares her passion for scholarly research with future generations of educators. She also draws students into the community with programs such as "Telling It," an Arts of Citizenship program in which undergraduate students conduct arts-based literacy activities with children who live in homeless shelters.

--Scott Moore: Regarded as an outstanding classroom teacher, Moore is able, through mentoring and supporting students, to make difficult subjects accessible, while maintaining challenging standards. He designs courses in which students are actively engaged in projects based on real-world examples. Students have recognized his efforts by awarding him the outstanding BBA Teacher of the Year Award twice, something that no other faculty member has accomplished.

He mentors new faculty on their teaching, shares with colleagues the course materials he has developed. While on sabbatical in 2003, he still served on a committee to review the curriculum for the Bachelor of Business Administration degree program.

-- Robert Owen : According to Terry McDonald, dean of LSA, "During the past 29 years, [Robert Owen] has sustained a record of excellence in all aspects of undergraduate education." As associate dean of undergraduate education, Owen has worked for curricular reform, enabling LSA students to earn academic minors, increase the number of credits they can take outside the college, and receive distribution credit for interdisciplinary courses.

In recognition of his undergraduate teaching, Owen has won the Amoco Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award and is a four-time winner of the LSA Excellence in Education Award. Many students name his geological field course in Jackson, Wyo., as a highlight of their U-M career.

For more information about the Thurnau Professorship, visit

Contact: Joel Seguine
Phone: (734) 936-6396