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June 4, 2004

Purdue trustees approve appointments, degree programs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (June 4) ratified the appointments of three designated professors and approved several new degree programs at two campuses.

In a meeting at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the board voted to appoint John M. Barron as the Loeb Professor of Economics, James S. Nairne as distinguished professor of psychological sciences and Fawwaz T. Ulaby as a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. With these appointments, Purdue has 98 designated professors, with 60 distinguished and 38 named professors.

The board also ratified the appointment of Ulaby as vice president for research, James L. Mullins as dean of libraries and John Contreni as dean of the Graduate School. The university previously announced the three appointments pending board approval.

"The designated professorships and administrative positions attained by these scholars reflect the research, leadership and contributions they have made," said Purdue Provost Sally Mason. "Each has proven his worth, here at Purdue or at other prestigious universities. We are proud to welcome them to their new positions and look forward to supporting their continued work."

John M. Barron

Barron has been director of doctoral programs at Purdue's Krannert Graduate School of Management since 1999. After completing a research fellowship at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., he started at Purdue in 1975 as an assistant professor of economics and became a full professor in 1985.

In 1995 he was visiting professor at Royal Holloway of the University of London, England. He has been chairperson of Krannert's Department of Economics and visiting professor at the University of Essex in Colchester, England.

He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., and earned his master's and doctorate in economics at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Barron has obtained grants from such funding sources as the Employment Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Carthage Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

He has had numerous articles published in refereed journals and has written or co-authored four books. He has served as a consultant for firms and organizations on a wide range of topics, including executive compensation, divorcement legislation, antitrust cases and numerous other financial issues.

"I have great respect and admiration for the prior holder of the chair, Professor John Carlson, who retired just this past month after a long and distinguished career at Purdue," Barron said. "It is a great honor to be named as the Loeb Professor of Economics."

James S. Nairne

Nairne is a professor of psychological sciences, founding director of the Research-Focused Honors Program in psychological sciences and director of School of Liberal Arts Honors Program. He received his undergraduate training at the University of California at Berkeley and his doctorate in psychology from Yale University. His research specialty is human memory.

He is associate editor for the "Psychonomic Bulletin & Review," consulting editor for Sage Publications and past associate editor of the "Journal of Memory and Language." His editorial board service includes the "Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition," "Memory & Cognition," and "Memory." He was the recipient of the 2000 Excellence in Education Award from Purdue and the 2001 Charles B. Murphy Award, the university's highest undergraduate teaching honor.

"I'm tremendously honored by the appointment," Nairne said. "Purdue is a very stimulating place to be. The students are great, and I've been continuously encouraged and rewarded for integrating my interest in scholarship with my love of the classroom."

In 2003 Nairne was inducted into Purdue's Book of Great Teachers and was appointed a visiting fellow by the British Psychological Society. Since his arrival at Purdue, he has taught large sections of the elementary psychology course, with a total enrollment exceeding 7,000 students since 1993. He developed an innovative approach to the teaching of psychology, called adaptive problem- solving, which has become widely used across the country and is considered a model for improving relevance and retention of material in the classroom. He is the author of the introductory textbook, "Psychology: The Adaptive Mind" (now in its third edition).

Fawwaz T. Ulaby

Ulaby has been vice president for research at the University of Michigan since 1999, and the R. Jamison and Betty Williams Professor of Engineering and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science. He will succeed Charles O. Rutledge, currently Purdue's interim vice provost for research, who serves as executive director of Discovery Park. Ulaby's appointment will be effective Sept. 1.

James L. Mullins

Mullins comes to Purdue from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been associate director for administration of the libraries. Purdue Libraries, with a $16 million budget, includes 14 libraries with nearly 2.4 million volumes, a staff of 205 faculty, professionals and support personnel, and 58 paid student assistants. The MIT libraries include 12 facilities and operate with a budget of $20 million and a staff of 216. Mullins' appointment is effective July 1.

John Contreni

Contreni, a history professor who specializes in Charlemagne and Carolingian Europe, has served as interim dean of the Graduate School since 2002. He joined the history department in 1971 and was included in the inaugural installment of the Purdue Book of Great Teachers in 1999. The Graduate School oversees 64 graduate programs at the West Lafayette campus and 24 graduate programs at the Indiana University-Purdue University campuses in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, the Calumet campus in Hammond and the North Central campus at Westville.

The board also approved an associate degree in applied biotechnologies and a bachelor's degree in biotechnology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a master of fine arts degree program at the West Lafayette campus. All of the degree programs are subject to approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The proposed associate and bachelor's degree programs in biotechnology are designed to provide innovative, science-based educational training programs in biotechnology that prepare students to meet the work force needs of related central Indiana industries and to provide high-technology training that will enhance economic growth, Mason said.

The master of fine arts degree program in the Division of Art & Design in the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts will replace the current master of arts degree in the disciplines of design and the studio arts.

"The program will ensure that art and design graduate students will graduate from Purdue with the credentials they need to pursue careers in industry and academia," Mason said. "The program is designed to capitalize on the university's strengths in technology by incorporating new digital technologies that are revolutionizing the studio arts and design fields."

The master of fine arts program will begin in the fall of 2004.

Writer: Reni Winter, (765) 496-3133,

Sources: John M. Barron, (765) 494-4451,

Sally Mason, (765) 494-9709,

James R. Mullins, (617) 253-7059,

James S. Nairne, (765) 494-5847,

Fawwaz Ulaby, (734) 936-2680,

John Contreni, (765) 494-2604,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Office of the Provost

Related releases:
MIT administrator named Purdue's new dean of libraries

Purdue appoints top engineer, educator as vice president for research

Purdue appoints history scholar as dean of graduate school

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