Purdue trustees ratify faculty positions, approve new programs, posthumous degree and resolutions of appreciation

Sam Fried

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 4) ratified two faculty positions and approved two new programs, a posthumous degree and resolutions of appreciation for friends of the university. The newly ratified positions are Shihuan Kuang, who was named the Cancer Center Chair in […]

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 4) ratified two faculty positions and approved two new programs, a posthumous degree and resolutions of appreciation for friends of the university.

The newly ratified positions are Shihuan Kuang, who was named the Cancer Center Chair in Stem Cell Biology, and Melinda Zook, who was named the Germaine Seelye Oesterle Professor of History.

Kuang, a leading scholar in the area of muscle and adipose tissue development, joined the Department of Animal Sciences in 2008, was promoted to associate professor in 2013 and to full professor in 2016. His groundbreaking work in stem cell biology has been consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health, and his research programs have produced over 150 peer-reviewed papers and five U.S. patents. His work has led to new therapeutic approaches to stem cell activity modification that can offset the detrimental effects of diabetes and muscle disease. Kuang is a member of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, currently serving as lead of the Stem Cell Group; Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery; the Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience; and Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He also serves on many grant review panels and editorial boards, including Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, Cancer Letters, Molecular Genetics and Genomes, and Cell Regeneration. Kuang has been honored as a University Faculty Scholar and Showalter Scholar.

Zook came to Purdue in 1993 and was promoted to associate professor in 1999 and full professor in 2013. She specializes in the history of Tudor and Stuart England, political thought, and religion and women in early modern Europe. Zook has served as director of the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts Program, a 15-hour certificate program designed for all Purdue undergraduates that challenges students intellectually and nurtures them to become lifelong learners, since its formation in 2016. In 2020 the National Endowment for the Humanities recognized the success of the Cornerstone program to revitalize general education, and Purdue’s model is currently being replicated at 35 other universities and colleges. Zook has published several books, including “Protestantism, Politics and Women in Britain, 1660-1714,” which was named Best Book on Gender for 2013 by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. She was honored as a Purdue University Faculty Scholar in 2018, and received the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion Award from the Purdue Mortar Board society in 2019.

In other action, the board approved a Master of Science degree in applied geospatial analytics and a Doctor of Philosophy in computer and information technology, both on the West Lafayette campus beginning in Fall 2022.

The master’s in applied geospatial analytics will be offered online and is designed for working professionals who would find it difficult – if not impossible – to undertake an on-campus program. The interdisciplinary major will combine strengths in strategic communication management (Brian Lamb School of Communication), applied data analytics (Purdue Polytechnic Institute) and spatial data science (College of Agriculture) to meet the needs of an emerging audience of professionals in all areas of agriculture, civil engineering, natural resource sciences and land use management. This program is part of Purdue’s Next Moves’ Transformative Education 2.0 initiative, which is supporting launch of flexible cross-disciplinary degrees and credential options.

The Ph.D. in computer and information technology will support the Department of Computer and Information Technology and Polytechnic Institute goals to increase domestic and international graduate student populations, while providing expanded opportunities for research, both within the academic community and with external research partners. This program serves several critical needs to include supporting and expanding the research mission of Purdue by increasing the Department of Computer and Information Technology profile both nationally and internationally. Occupations that design new approaches to technology and find innovative uses for existing technology are projected to grow by 15% by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, trustees awarded a posthumous Doctor of Philosophy degree from Purdue West Lafayette to William L. Robinson.

In further action, the board approved resolutions of appreciation for those who recently contributed $1 million or more. Those are:

* Samuel and Marsha Allen, to support Purdue Research Foundation.

* Mark and Maureen Miller, to support the College of Health and Human Sciences.

* Charles Richter and Dion Messer, to support the College of Science.

* Michael and Rita Boehlje, to support the College of Agriculture.

* Ryan and Meredith Cohlepp, to support the College of Pharmacy.

* Bob and Sharon Schafer, to support the School of Management and Krannert Graduate School of Management.

* Yang Hu Tong (posthumously) and Grace Kwoh Tong (posthumously), to support the School of Mechanical Engineering.

* Anthony “Tony” Yost, to support the College of Pharmacy and Purdue Athletics.

* One anonymous gift, to support the College of Engineering and Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Trustees also approved the naming of a new clubhouse facility, to be known as the Pete Dye Clubhouse, at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex. The new golf clubhouse honors the generosity of Samuel Allen, a 1975 School of Management graduate, and Marsha Allen, a 1975 health and human sciences graduate, whose gift to Purdue Research Foundation will support its construction.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Sources: Jay Akridge

April Headdy

Shihuan Kuang

Melinda Zook


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