University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Sep 29, 2010 
Three new UWM Distinguished Professors named
UWM Distinguished Professors 2010
Newly named UWM Distinguished Professors (l-r)) Mark Schwartz, Erik Christensen and Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee

Three faculty members have been named as new University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Distinguished Professors by the UW Board of Regents. They are Erik Christensen (civil engineering), Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee (economics) and Mark Schwartz (geography).

The newly named faculty brings the current number of UWM Distinguished Professors to 20. Since 2007, when the ranks rose from six to 16, six new titles have been named, while two professors, John Koethe and Leonard Parker, have retired.

Distinguished Professor is the UW System’s most prestigious title. It recognizes a continuous record of scholarly accomplishments, significant contribution to an academic field, and strengthened research efforts and opportunities. Appointment requires the positive recommendation of the UWM Committee of Distinguished Professors.

Christensen’s research activities relate to fate and transport of pollutants in the aquatic environment, including quantifying sources and degradation of organic compounds. He has also contributed to models of the effect of pollutants on aquatic organisms.

Throughout his career Christensen has received significant funding for his research from the National Science Foundation as well as from other federal and state agencies.

In 2010 he received a five-year NSF grant for an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Water Equipment and Policy, in collaboration with Marquette University. He convened the first International Water Association specialist conference on sediment contamination and remediation in Milwaukee and co-chaired a NSF-sponsored workshop on research needs for coastal pollution in urban areas, also held in Milwaukee.

On the UWM faculty since 1977, he is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering and the International Association for Great Lakes Research Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Bahmani-Oskooee, director of UWM’s Center for Research on International Economics and the Patricia and Harvey Wilmeth Professor of Economics, is one of the world’s leading experts in open-economy macroeconomics and international finance. He also is one of the most prolific scholars in his field and was also one of the most frequently cited during the 1990s.

He is consistently ranked in the top 5 percent of economics authors in the world in the standard professional reference for economic research productivity, IDEAS. In productivity among economists in Wisconsin, he is always ranked in the top 10 percent.

In addition, he has attracted more than a $1 million in external funding.

Currently Bahmani-Oskooee is working on the impact of exchange rate volatility on trade flows between the U.S. and its trading partners. Unlike previous research, his work, which is coauthored with his students, includes trade flows broken down to the individual commodity level, a unique attribute.

Bahmani-Oskooee earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1981 before joining the UWM faculty. Since inception of the department’s Ph.D. program in 1968, he has chaired almost 25 percent of doctoral dissertations in economics at UWM.

Schwartz is a climatologist and expert in the field of phenology, the study of how plants and animals respond to changes in seasons and climate. He has developed models based on the first leafing and blooming of lilacs and honeysuckles over the last 40 years that show a correlation between temperatures and spring plant growth.

Schwartz is chair of the Board of Directors for the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), which enlists researchers and “citizen scientists” to collect data on first-leafing from their own yards and record it online.

On the UWM faculty since 1992, he earned his Ph.D. in Geography (climatology) at the University of Kansas in 1985. In 2005 he was awarded the Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors by the National Council of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). His models that simulate spring first-leaf were one of 24 cited recently in the Environmental Protection Agency’s report on climate change indicators.

For a complete history of faculty named as UWM Distinguished Professors: