PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University has named three faculty members — Rodney B. Croteau, Don A. Dillman and Ralph G. Yount — to the newly established rank of Regents’ Professor.
Croteau began his work at WSU Institute of Biological Chemistry in 1972. His work has changed the understanding of how plants make a series of substances called terpenoids – which range from floral odors, to taxol (in cancer treatment), to natural rubber. Croteau has published more than 300 papers and received 15 patents, with more pending. Some 40 students have earned graduate degrees working with him, and his nearly 100 former postdoctorals and students are in prestigious positions around the world.
Croteau’s awards include a Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Creative Activity from WSU, and two MERIT awards from the National Institute of Health. He is an Eisig-Tode Distinguished Professor and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dillman, a WSU faculty member since 1969, has demonstrably changed the way research is conducted. His book, “Mail and Telephone Survey: The Total Design Method,” is a citation classic because very few surveys are designed without consulting it. Dillman has published a number of works on the impact of changing information technologies on rural communities and has testified before legislatures and non-governmental organizations concerning the health and viability of those communities.
He has transformed Sociology 525, a class on survey design, into a hands-on practicum and a “must” for graduate students across the university. His awards include a Lester A. Ward Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied Sociology. Dillman provided leadership for the redesign of the U.S. Decennial Census, and for the first time in 30 years, response to the 2000 census was higher than in the previous census. He was recognized for his contribution to federal data collection with a Roger Herriot Award for improving federal statistics.
In 1960, Yount began instructing at WSU, where he has spent his entire professional career. His research examines how myosin, the contractile protein in muscles, can change shape and lead to movement of an organism. Yount’s synthesis of one particular analog of ATP, the energy source for contraction, contributed strongly to two recent Nobel prizes and has been used in more than 4,000 papers. The NIH has continually funded his major grant without interruption for over 40 years – a record unparalleled at WSU. He received a MERIT award from NIH and has served as president of both the 60,000 member Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology and of the Biophysical Society.
As chair of the chemistry department, Yount has been instrumental in reviving the program with increased morale and the hire of promising faculty members. In scientific circles, he is “Mr. WSU,” one faculty member said. He is an active student recruiter and admired by his peers for his caring acts of kindness.
To be considered for a Regents Professorship, faculty must be a tenured full professor or equivalent; must have served WSU for the last seven years; achieved the highest level of distinction in a discipline; raised the standards of the university through activities in teaching, scholarship and public service; and sustained a level of accomplishment, receiving national or international recognition.
The selection committee is comprised of seven tenured faculty members, four selected by the Faculty Senate and three appointed by the president from a list of candidates referred to him by the college deans. Committee members are selected on the basis of scholarly achievement and demonstrated dedication to teaching and service, as well as individual judgment and integrity.
The number of promotions to WSU Regents’ Professor is limited to three annually, with the number of active Regents’ Professors not to exceed 30.