Erica Carlson named 150th Anniversary Professor


See the Purdue News Service release.

Erica Carlson, professor of physics and astronomy, has been named a 150th Anniversary Professor by the Office of the Provost to recognize her achievements in teaching at Purdue.

The Office of the Provost will name 10 faculty with the designation of 150th Anniversary Professor, which coincides with the upcoming 150th anniversary of Purdue. Faculty who receive this distinction also will receive an annual discretionary allocation of $25,000.

“We feel it’s critically important to recognize faculty who have devoted their careers to teaching and learning at the highest levels,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “The 150th Anniversary Professorships help us honor great teachers who inspire us with their talent, dedication and creativity.”

Carlson transformed two of the most challenging classes in the physics curriculum through the IMPACT program for course redesign. She is a recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in 2017, and the College of Science Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Teaching by an Assistant Professor. Her students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels awarded her the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching. Carlson launched the first-ever set of physics lectures on iTunes, for which she received media coverage in the Chicago Tribune and Indianapolis Star.

“She has a fantastic ability to develop and implement tools that help students learn a challenging subject,” said chemistry colleague Marcy Towns.

The principal criteria for selection as a 150th Anniversary Professor included:

  • Development or transformation of courses and/or curricula.
  • Receipt of Purdue teaching awards at the department/school, college and university level (i.e., Murphy Award or election to the Teaching Academy).
  • History of outstanding teaching evaluations from faculty peers, students and/or alumni.

Other considerations included mentoring and contributing to the academic, career and personal development of students within and outside the classroom, as evidenced by one or more the following:

  • History of outstanding mentoring evaluations from faculty peers, students or alumni  
  • Receipt of unit, college or university awards for student mentoring.  
  • Sustained involvement as an advisor or mentor to student organizations (e.g., academic clubs, university clubs, club sports, student initiatives).

The 150th Anniversary Professors were selected by a committee of 13 senior faculty who are distinguished and named professors, winners of the Murphy Award, and members of the Teaching Academy. The inaugural 150th Anniversary Professorships will be funded by the Provost’s Office until donors are found to endow these named professorships.

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