Virginia Tech's University Distinguished Professors (UDPs) and Alumni Distinguished Professors (ADPs), the elite of the university's faculty, will give half-hour lectures throughout the semester as part of the university's "Focus on Distinguished Faculty" program.

Each lecture will be given from 12:30 to 1 p.m. in the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center auditorium on various dates beginning Feb. 16 through April 25. The lectures, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, are free and open to the public and Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students.

"These faculty members are our very best teachers and researchers, and I am happy that they will share their knowledge, expertise, and insights with the university and local community by way of these lectures," said Provost Mark McNamee. Not all the UDPs and ADPs could be accommodated this spring, and further lectures are planned for the fall, he added.

The schedule and presentations are as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 16: Rosemary Blieszner, ADP of Human Development, "Why Are Close Relationships Important for Good Health?"

Monday, Feb. 21: Ali H. Nayfeh, UDP of Engineering Science and Mechanics, "A Super Controller for Cranes: From Theory to Laboratory to Industry."

Wednesday, Feb. 23: David Kingston, UDP of Chemistry, "The Faith of a Scientist."

Thursday, Feb. 24: Robert Bodnar, UDP of Geosciences, "Pursuing Mega-projects: Virginia Tech's Efforts to Build a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) in Southwest Virginia."

Monday, Feb. 28: Nikki Giovanni, UDP of English, "Quilting the Black-Eye Pea."

Tuesday, March 1: James McGrath, UDP of Chemistry, "Advanced Materials for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells."

Friday, March 4: Charles Reinholtz, ADP of Mechanical Engineering, "Teaching Your Car to Drive: A How-to Guide for the Quintessential Back-seat Driver."

Tuesday, March 15: John Tyson, UDP of Biology, "The New Systems Biology."

Wednesday, March 16: William Snizek, ADP of Sociology, "Survivors as Victims: Some Little Publicized Consequences of Corporate Downsizings."

Monday, March 21: Arthur Buikema, ADP of Biology, "Effects of Different Teaching Strategies on Student Outcomes."

Tuesday, March 22: Charles Bostian, ADP of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "Forty Years of Radio Research -- From Glowing Bottles to Machines That Think."

Wednesday, March 23: James I. Robertson Jr., ADP of History, "How the Civil War Still Lives."

Monday, March 28: J. Michael Duncan, UDP of Civil and Environmental Engineering, "The Role of Case Histories in Civil Engineering Education."

Thursday, March 31: Fred Lee, UDP of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "Power Electronics, Energy, and Environment."

Tuesday, April 5: Harold E. Burkhart, UDP of Forestry, "Sustaining Forest Resources."

Monday, April 25: Jacqueline Bixler, ADP of Foreign Languages and Literatures, "Icons of 'Mexican-ness': From Cortes to Cancun."

The rank of University Distinguished Professor is bestowed by Virginia Tech Board of Visitors on no more than one percent of members of the faculty whose scholarly attainments have attracted national and/or international recognition.

The rank of Alumni Distinguished Professor is bestowed by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, with the generous support of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, to recognize faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the instructional program of the university over time and who have touched the lives of generations of Virginia Tech alumni.

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