Two longtime LAS faculty named to new professorships

9:16:50 AM CDT - Thursday, May 25, 2006

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Two longtime faculty in the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — one a child psychologist and the other a mathematician — were named to two new Faculty of Distinction professorships created by gifts to WSU by two sets of sisters.

Jim Snyder, who has been on the psychology faculty since 1977, was named to the Katherine and Edith Erker Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship, and Victor Isakov, on the mathematics and statistics faculty since 1988, was awarded the Emylou Keith and Betty Dutcher Faculty of Distinction Endowed Professorship. John Hutchinson, vice president for academic affairs and research, announced their appointments at the recent university faculty awards ceremony.

In recent years, WSU has added nearly a dozen faculty of distinction or endowed professorships, with most being designated for particular colleges or areas. The two professorships that Hutchinson announced, however, were left up to the discretion of the vice president for academic affairs and research.

The faculty support committee sought nominations for the professorships, screened the candidates and made recommendations on the appointments to Hutchinson. The criteria Hutchinson had set was that the professors should have an outstanding record of teaching, service and research and at least one successful professor incentive review.

Both Snyder and Isakov have compiled such records.

Snyder, who won the Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996, has been working on a number of grant-funded projects on the development of aggression and delinquency in children. His research results have been published widely in child development journals, as well as newspaper articles across the country.

Isakov, who won the 2001 Excellence in Research Award, has been putting his mathematical expertise to use in studying aircraft cabin noise and crack detections.

The professorships were set up by two sets of sisters. Little is actually known about the Erker sisters except that both were secretaries working at local companies. Edith had attended Fairmount College for part of the fall 1920 semester. Their $1.1 million gift from their estate last year came as a surprise to the WSU Foundation, which used the gift to establish the professorship.

Keith and Dutcher attended Wesley’s nursing school, worked in the hospital’s nursery and later graduated together from the University of Wichita in 1950, with Dutcher being the only female business graduate that year. Dutcher passed away in 2001, and since then Keith has given money to fund a business scholarship, help build the Marcus Welcome Center and create the professorship in their names.

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