College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awards top collegiate faculty honors

Cole, Lavezzo are Collegiate Scholars; Baalrud, Bond are Dean's Scholars; Adams, Bognar are Distinguished Associate Professors of Instruction
Monday, April 30, 2018

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has named two faculty members to the honor of Collegiate Scholar, which recognizes faculty for excellence as evidenced in their promotion record at the time of their candidacy for promotion to the rank of full professor. The 2018-20 Collegiate Scholars are Renée Cole of the Department of Chemistry and Kathy Lavezzo of the Department of English.

CLAS also named two faculty members to the honor of Dean’s Scholar. Dean’s Scholar awards recognize faculty for excellence as evidenced in their promotion record at the time of their candidacy for tenure. The 2018-20 Dean’s Scholars are Scott Baalrud of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Sarah Bond of the Department of Classics.

In addition, the college named two faculty members to the honor of Distinguished Associate Professor of Instruction. This award recognizes candidates for advancement from Lecturer to Associate Professor of Instruction who excel in teaching, institutional, and professional service, and their record of publications. The 2018-20 Distinguished Associate Professors of Instruction are Lori Adams of Biology and Matthew Bognar of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.

Renee ColeCollegiate Scholar Renée Cole, who earned the PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma, joined the Department of Chemistry faculty in 2011. The focus of her research is in the area of chemical education, as well as STEM education more broadly. She is interested in issues related to how students learn chemistry and how that guides the design of instructional materials and teaching strategies. She is also interested in how to effectively translate discipline-based research to the practice of teaching, thus increasing the impact of this research and improving undergraduate STEM education. Professor Cole is the Principal Investigator for a number of National Science Foundation-funded projects such as the Increase the Impact Project, which developed resources to improve the propagation of educational innovations; the ELIPSS Project, which is developing resources to assess transferable skills in the classroom; and other projects related to institutional transformation of instruction in STEM. In addition to her work on undergraduate education, she mentors graduate students, serving as chair of several doctoral committees. Professor Cole is Program Chair for the Women Chemist Committee of the American Chemical Society, and is the UI representative for the AAU STEM Initiative.

Kathy LavezzoCollegiate Scholar Kathy Lavezzo joined the Department of English faculty in 1999, after earning the PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She specializes in medieval literary studies with special attention to issues of community, nationhood, and social hierarchy; cultural geography and medieval cartography; Christian-Jewish relations; economy and trade; race and ethnicity; and gender and sexuality. Her articles on medieval literature have appeared in Studies in the Age of Chaucer, New Medieval Literatures, and PMLA. Her most recent book, The Accommodated Jew: English Antisemitism from Bede to Milton (Cornell University Press, 2016), understands the mapping of Jews in English texts as richly responsive to the appearance of a secular and market-driven urban society in a Christian milieu. With Lisa Lampert-Weissig, Professor Lavezzo is the principal investigator for a digital humanities project, Remappings.

Scott BaalrudDean’s Scholar Scott Baalrud joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty in 2012, having earned the PhD in Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to his teaching, he directs the Fundamental Plasma Theory Group, which conducts research in basic and applied plasma physics. His research focus areas include kinetic theory, strongly coupled plasmas, warm dense matter, plasma-boundary interactions, wave-particle interactions, and magnetic reconnection. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Air Force, and the Department of Energy, and he collaborates with the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. He is currently chair of several students’ doctoral committees, and he was Principal Investigator on the Iowa Planeterella, a student-built space plasma simulator. His honors include a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation.

Sarah BondDean’s Scholar Sarah Bond earned her doctorate in Ancient History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and joined the Department of Classics faculty in 2014. She is also an associated scholar with the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio and holds an appointment in the Department of History. She is interested in late Roman history, Roman topography and GIS, digital humanities, the socio-legal experience of ancient marginal peoples, and the role of classics in popular culture. Her first book, Trade and Taboo: Disreputable Professionals in the Roman Mediterranean, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2016 and the audiobook version was released in 2017. Professor Bond is a regular blogger and online contributor to Forbes magazine and the art blog Hyperallergic, while also serving as Editor-in-Chief for the Society for Classical Studies’ blog. Her digital humanities research project collaborations include the Women of Ancient History project and Big Ancient Mediterranean.

Lori AdamsDistinguished Associate Professor of Instruction Lori Adams joined the Department of Biology faculty in 2010, having earned the PhD in Genetics from Texas A&M University. She is Executive Director of the Latham Science Engagement Initiative, a CLAS program that engages highly talented undergraduate students across scientific disciplines to work collaboratively in developing and implementing science outreach projects. She also serves as Program Director and co-Principal Investigator for the National Institutes of Health Iowa Biosciences Academy Program; Co-Director of the Iowa-Illinois-Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education; and the Honors Program Advisor for Biology. She received the CLAS Outstanding Outreach and Public Engagement Award in 2016.

matthew BognarDistinguished Associate Professor of Instruction Matthew Bognar, who earned the PhD in Statistics from the University of Iowa, joined the faculty in 2006. A popular teacher, he is also receiving the Collegiate Teaching Award this year. His research interests include spatial statistics, Bayesian statistics, computational statistics, Markov chain Monte Carlo, and educational software. He has developed widely used educational software, including "Probability Distributions" for Android and iOS, as well as web-based probability, statistical inference, and non-parametric applets. Among other service to his department, he serves as Director of the Statistics Tutorial Lab.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 68 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.