Knowles, Tibbetts, Cardinale promoted
Friday, June 01, 2012
The University of Michigan Board of Regents has approved the following promotions: Lacey Knowles to professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, with tenure, and curator, Museum of Zoology; Elizabeth Tibbetts to associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, with tenure; Bradley Cardinale to associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, with tenure, and associate professor of natural resources, with tenure, School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Knowles employs teaching methodologies that encourage discussion and brings empirical examples into the classroom, according to the promotion recommendation. She engages her students and generates enthusiasm for biology and evolutionary science, and enhances their experience in the laboratory with thoughtful exercises and stimulating field trips. Students consistently comment on the dynamic and challenging environment she creates in her laboratory. She is also a superb mentor. Besides supervising 40 undergraduate and graduate students in directed studies, she has served as advisor for 13 doctoral students and is a committee member for another 10.
Knowles is a world-renowned evolutionary biologist who has made significant contributions to the study of speciation and species divergence. She is one of the founders and chief developers of “statistical phylogeography,” which uses statistical analysis of spatial patterns of gene lineages sampled from closely related species and/or populations to infer underlying ecological and evolutionary processes of divergence. Knowles has published extensively and produced some of the most cited papers in her area. She currently has three major National Science Foundation grants. As curator of insects at the Museum of Zoology, her primary focus has been on biodiversity informatics. She engages in extensive fieldwork with her students and in outreach activities targeting the public.
Tibbetts is a well-respected teacher who serves students, the department, and the Program in Biology by teaching courses in animal behavior for undergraduate non-majors, and behavioral ecology for concentrators and graduate students. She uses an active learning approach to add to the content, presenting students with data, for example, so they can learn to develop hypotheses and predictions, states the promotion recommendation. Tibbetts has mentored an astonishing 56 undergraduate students in her lab, with 25 operating under her direct supervision, and has co-authored eight publications with undergraduates. Her graduate students have been extraordinarily successful, with productive publication records, prestigious national awards, and excellent offers for postdoctoral positions.
Tibbetts has established an internationally recognized research program investigating two central problems in the study of animal behavior: individual recognition and honest in communication. Her groundbreaking studies demonstrate that wasps discriminate one from another on the basis of facial differences and that they use visual signals to communicate about their fighting ability. These findings are widely regarded as two of the most significant discoveries in animal behavior research in recent memory. She publishes her findings in high-profile, high-impact scientific journals that attract worldwide attention from the scientific community and the media. Distinguished colleagues in the field regard her as one of the top researchers in insect social behavior.
Cardinale’s courses are well-prepared, organized and enthusiastically presented. He is currently developing three new courses and seminars. He has been successful advising postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate student researchers, and two doctoral students. It is noteworthy that the undergraduates he advised completed honors theses, coauthored seven publications, and received best student paper at an international conference, according to his promotion recommendation.
Cardinale is an internationally renowned leader in the field of biodiversity, particularly for his work on connections between biodiversity and ecosystem function. He is recognized as one of the leading “clear thinkers” as well as a cohesive force that brings ecologists with disparate viewpoints into collaboration. His research seeks to answer questions that are of fundamental importance to the science of ecology. He has an exceptional extramural funding record, with several million dollars in only eight years after completing his Ph.D., primarily from NSF. Since 1993, he has published 56 peer-reviewed papers, including in top journals in his field. His work is frequently cited with over 2,400 citations already over a relatively short career.
“Please join me in congratulating them on their very well-deserved promotions,” said Professor and Chair Deborah Goldberg.
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