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OHIO professor Nancy Stevens named 2020 distinguished professor

Dr. Nancy Stevens, professor of evolutionary ecology in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, has been named the 2020 distinguished professor by Ohio University.

“The distinguished professor designation is OHIO’s highest honor, and Dr. Stevens, whose scholarly work and research has had a global impact, is most worthy of this honor,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Nancy’s contributions in the classroom, in the realm of research, and in the community have proven invaluable. Her expertise and impact are recognized across the world and serve as a model for others in her department, college and the University.”

Stevens’ research explores extinction dynamics, documenting impacts of environmental change through time. She has conducted field research in more than a dozen countries in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, discovering a number of species new to science. Many of her finds derive from the East African Rift System and include the oldest fossil evidence of the split between Old World monkeys and apes. Stevens and her students also conduct field research to explore extinction risks in modern biodiversity hotspots, documenting habitats that are rapidly shifting due to anthropogenic and natural environmental change in places including Madagascar, Uganda, and Vietnam. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

Closer to home, Stevens serves as co-lead of the OHIO Museum Complex, partnering with the Kennedy Museum of Art on The Ridges to integrate art, environment, innovation and health with everyday life. The Museum Complex celebrates interdisciplinary research and creative activity through vibrant exhibit galleries, experiential learning opportunities on The Ridges trail system, connections with the OHIO Observatory and Land Laboratory, and expanded curatorial space for unique and priceless collections from across the region and around the world.

“I’m deeply honored to join the Distinguished Professor group, and to contribute to this aspect of OHIO’s academic community in the years ahead,” says Stevens.

Distinguished professors are recognized for sustained and internationally-recognized academic contributions that raise the OHIO profile. They are committed to represent the University in its teaching and research missions, and are entitled to award a full tuition scholarship to an undergraduate student of their choice each year, from the time of award until five years post-retirement from teaching.

A formal recognition of the honor will be held as part of Founders Day activities in February 2021, including a formal portrait and a lecture by Stevens.

May 4, 2020
Staff reports