Last September, University President Glenn Mroz and Jackie Huntoon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced the establishment of two new titles created to recognize outstanding faculty: Distinguished Professor and University Professor.
The title of Distinguished Professor recognizes outstanding faculty members who have made substantial contributions to the University as well as their discipline but are not presently recognized through an endowed position or faculty fellowship.
Drelich is a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Adhesion of fine particles, biodegradable implants, surface wetting, and colloidal properties are among his research interests. Drelich leads SURFI, Surface Innovations at Michigan Tech. The SURFI research team recently reviewed the properties of fish scales in Advanced Biosystems, identifying many promising qualities that could be beneficial to material and surface innovators. Drelich also spearheaded the acquisition of a new atomic force microscope for looking at single molecules on a surface.
Watkins is a professional engineer and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been at Michigan Tech since 1999, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in fluid mechanics, engineering hydrology, water resources management, and others. He directs an international capstone design program, co-directed a Peace Corps Master’s International program, and advises a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA. Watkins maintains an active research program in water resources systems engineering, hydroclimatic forecasting, and climate change adaptation. His current research projects include robust water resources decision making in south Florida and understanding the climate impacts of food, energy, and water consumption.
The confidential process for selecting recipients spans the academic year and recipients for each award were notified in May. A Distinguished Professor is recognized for their noteworthy research, invited lectures, external awards, citations, continuing contributions to the advancement of their field, and other criteria. They are nominated by faculty members, departments, programs, or schools. Distinguished Professors will not exceed 10 percent of the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in a specific college or school at any time.