Three NAU professors awarded with Regent’s professor status
Three NAU professors were appointed as Regents’ professors, one of the highest honors at the university, earlier this month. Edith Copley, Paul Beier, and Darrell Kaufman complete a total of 15 Regents’ professors for the university, a title reserved for three percent of NAU’s faculty.
According to the Arizona Board of Regent’s (ABOR) policy manual, a Regents’ professor can only be awarded to those in tenure positions with national or international recognition. These faculty members have made numerous contributions to the university and fields of study, and are chosen by the president of the university and approved by ABOR.
Edith Copley, the director of choral studies in the School of Music, said her goal is to help students succeed and achieve their goals.
“My mantra when I get up in the morning is to get up and do the best I can everyday; that’s my goal,” Copley said. “To give [the students] the best experience that I can [that is] meaningful, and something that they’ll look back on with fondness. Having the Regents’ professor [title], to me, is a wonderful honor to be recognized for. I’m very humbled and honored that I was nominated and that I’m receiving it; I don’t take it lightly.”
During Copley’s 22 years at NAU, she has written articles, created her own choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publications (SBMP) and also is a guest conductor nationally and internationally. Copley said as long as she continues to teach, she hopes to make NAU and its choral program known worldwide.
“I’ve written a lot of articles. I’ve served as an editor [and] I have my own choral series with SBMP,” Copley said. “So I do a lot of editing of music and bring new music to the choral profession, [and] I do a lot of national and international appearances as a conductor. I’m hoping that in the years to come while I’m still on the faculty and still teaching and working, that I can continue my efforts to bring recognition to the university. There’s nothing more satisfying for me than to see my students go out and succeed.”
Paul Beier, a professor in the School of Forestry, is a conservation biologist who focuses his research on the design of wildlife corridors and conserving animal habitats. He has written numerous papers related to his field and worked hands-on constructing wildlife corridors.
“Most of my work and the stuff that I’m most known for [are] related to design of wildlife corridors, conserving landscapes that connect our currently protected areas,” Beier said. “I figure out how [we can] design these wildlife corridors to work for species today and during climate change. I’ve published a lot of papers that other people cite, so I’m well recognized as a world expert on wildlife corridors. There are actually areas on the ground [like] in southern California that [are] conserved wildlife corridors. They were going to build 1,500 homes but, in part due to my work, they conserved the land.”
Beier said achieving this award has been a goal of his for a long time. He is excited that his title as a Regents’ professor will allow him to travel more for research purposes.
“I was very, very excited and I have thought about it for quite a number of years,” Beier said. “I have thought, ‘That’s my goal.’ I feel that I’ve worked hard. Part of what comes with [being a] Regents’ professor is that I have a small travel budget each year that I can use for professional travel. My time is still limited but I’ve got money to travel and do professional service, [which] is part of the reason I got the award.”
Darrell Kaufman, a geology professor, is currently on his sabbatical, but wrote through email that this award is very significant and shows what his colleagues and students think of him. He believes his contribution in the fields of geology and environmental studies have greatly contributed to this title of Regents’ professor.
“Attaining that highest recognition in my profession means a great deal to me, especially because the decision was led by my peers with input from students,” Kaufman said. “Studying geology and the environment, especially climate science, lead naturally to working with a large group of collaborators; [and] Regents’ professors are typically recognized for their contributions nationally and internationally.”
Kaufman said he is excited to have been given this award, and intends to continue studying what he loves and making new discoveries.
“I plan to continue along the same path of inquiry, discovery and teaching that led me to achieve this title. I love what I do and the distinction of Regents’ professor is truly an unexpected delight.”