Two CLAS Professors Named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors

Two CLAS professors have been named University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors, the University’s highest academic honor. The award recognizes faculty who have achieved exceptional distinction in scholarship, teaching, and service while at the University of Connecticut.

The Distinguished Professorships have been awarded annually since 1998.

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An innovator in the field of U.S. foreign relations history, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Frank Costigliola has published extensively on the personal and political nuances of the Cold War. (UConn Photo/Peter Morenus)

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Frank Costigliola of the Department of History has an international reputation as an innovator in the field of U.S. foreign relations history.

His early work challenged the prevailing assumption of U.S. isolation in the 1920s, and his first book, Awkward Dominion: American Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations with Europe, 1919-33, helped usher in a cultural turn in foreign relations history. His second book, France and the United States: The Cold Alliance since World War II, explored how Americans’ gendering of France as a “feminine” nation shaped relations with that country. His third book, Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War, explored the role of emotions in the diplomacy of the Allied leaders who won World War II, and then lost the peace. Recently, he edited the diaries of the cold-war strategist George F. Kennan in The Kennan Diaries.

Costigliola has lectured throughout the United States and Europe, and has received fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute.

Professor Costigliola is a popular and highly rated undergraduate teacher, and has overseen the senior thesis work of many undergraduate students and Ph.D. students. He served as president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations in 2009, and in 2014, he advised the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State. In 2016, he was nominated to serve on a small committee of scholars who advise the Central Intelligence Agency on declassifying secret documents.

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Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Michael Willig is internationally renowned for his field work and theoretical contributions to the ecological and environmental sciences. (UConn Photo/Bri Diaz)

Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Michael Willig of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is the director of UConn’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE). He has an internationally renowned career in environmental sciences, working in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, and the U.S., with an emphasis on application of quantitative and statistical techniques to understand the ecology and conservation of biodiversity.

His work has clarified how keystone groups of species, such as bats, birds, insects, and gastropods, respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances, such as storms, droughts, logging, and agricultural practices. His theoretical work has contributed to the development of a conceptual framework for ecology and gradients in biodiversity.

He has published over 210 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals or books, and is the author or editor of eight books or monographs. His recently edited book, Long-Term Ecological Research: Changing the Nature of Scientists, explores how long-term, multidisciplinary, collaborative environmental research has altered how researchers ask questions, seek collaboration, use novel tools, develop effective teaching approaches, and engage in effective outreach. Among other awards, he has been continuously funded by NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research Program since 1987.

Willig has taught a variety of ecology and biostatistics courses during his career, including most recently “Imagining a Sustainable World,” a seminar course for undergraduates in EcoHouse; and a multi-university graduate seminar on “Dimensions of Biodiversity.”

Amon Willig’s many service projects are positions as program officer in the Ecological Studies Cluster and division director for Environmental Biology, both at NSF, and as a member of the International Review Committee for the Millennium Science Initiative in Chile. He has served on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Mammalogists, and for Conservation International’s Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Program.

In addition to Costigliola and Willig, two other UConn faculty members were named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors in 2016: Professor John Mathieu of the Department of Management in the School of Business, and Professor Krishna Pattipati of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the School of Engineering.

By: Christine Buckley, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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