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  January 27, 2003

Guest Professors Enrich Learning
By Sherry Fisher

A prominent population geographer from Scotland and a lighting design artist from Russia are among five scholars who will serve as guest professors at the University during the spring semester and the following academic year.

Guest professors, who are nominated by UConn faculty, may be invited for a minimum of one or a maximum of two months. Their visits further the graduate education and research goals of the supporting programs or departments.

Sponsored by UConn's Research Foundation, the Short-Term Guest Professorship program is designed to bring three or four distinguished visitors to campus each year for an intensive period of scholarly exchange with faculty and graduate students that may include lectures and informal discussions.

"This year, we had a very large and excellent pool of nominees for the awards," says Ilze Krisst, assistant vice provost for research.

In light of the quality and diversity of nominees, Vice Provost Janet Greger responded with a one-time increase in the program's budget, to facilitate the visits of five guest professors.

Krisst says guest professors "enhance the offerings of departments and give students an opportunity to work with renowned scholars from outside the University."

The five scholars awarded guest professorships this year are: Paul Boyle, professor of geography, University of St. Andrews, Scotland; Gabriela Imreh, a concert pianist and an expert on skilled performance who will be affiliated with the Department of Psychology; Vladimir Lukasevich, a creative lighting design artist from Russia; Robert Nesbet, a theoretical chemical physicist, IBM Almaden Research Center; and Constantine Sedikides, professor of psychology and director, Centre for Research on Self and Identity at the University of Southampton, England.

Thomas Cooke, who nominated Boyle, says he "brings cachet to the department. He is one of the best population geographers in the world."

Boyle will be based at the Center for Population Research in the sociology department. "I hope that he will bring geographers, sociologists and economists together, says Cooke.

Blair T. Johnson, a professor of psychology, nominated Sedikides. "His research overlaps neatly with a lot of our work in social psychology," Johnson says, "and his interests also expand to other departments."

In addition to the benefits for graduate students, Johnson hopes collaborations among faculty will result from Sedikides' visit.

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