CUNY Board of Trustees Names Six CUNY Faculty As Distinguished Professors, the University’s Highest Academic Rank

November 28, 2006 | The University

Six prominent members of the CUNY faculty who have achieved excellence in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, criminal justice, English, history and physics were named Distinguished Professor, the University’s highest academic rank, by the Board of Trustees at its November 27, 2006 meeting.

“These six CUNY faculty members are being recognized for the excellent work they have done in their respective fields,” says Benno C. Schmidt Jr., Chairman of the Board. “They are known nationally and internationally for their work and its beneficial impact.”

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said that the six “reaffirm CUNY’s continued commitment to academic quality and high standards.”

The six new Distinguished Professors are:

Godfrey Gumbs, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, Physics
James Lynch, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center, Criminal Justice
Wayne Koestenbaum, The Graduate Center, English
Morris Rossabi, Queens College and The Graduate Center, History
William B. Rossow, The City College of New York and The Graduate Center, astronomy
Ruth Stark, College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center, Chemistry

Godfrey Gumbs earned a B.A. in physics from Cambridge University, an M.Sc. in physics from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in physics from Cambridge University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Toronto, is an internationally recognized physicist who has made important contributions to the solid-state physics. His research, which includes a powerful approach to the study of nanostructures, focuses on several areas, including condensed matter physics, plasma physics, optoelectronics, math and computational techniques. A recent recipient of the Edward A. Bouchet Award, one of the highest given by the American Physical Society, he also is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, an honor bestowed on no more than 1/2 of 1 percent of the society’s members.

James Lynch holds a B.A. in sociology from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago, is one of the leading practitioners of quantitative criminology and a national recognized expert on criminal justice. His ground-breaking work comparing the National Crime Survey with the Uniform Crime Reports is a major handbook for criminologists doing research. He also has been a leading and founding member of the National Consortium on Violence Research, which has set a standard for consortial research programs and has created a new generation of crime-policy researchers from dozens of institutions around the country. His work has been of great importance in other nations that are developing crime and justice databases and his contributions to comparative statistical work in crime and justice is being recognized in South America and Europe. He is one of the most frequent contributors to the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, the field’s most prestigious publication devoted to the application of cutting-edge quantitative methods to pressing criminological theory and policy problems.

Wayne Koestenbaum has a B.A. in English from Harvard College, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University, is considered by many critics to be the greatest poet of his generation and is the founder of queer theory. He also is an influential scholar-writer, public intellectual and a cultural critic. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review and The Yale Review. His first two books, 1989′s “Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration,” and 1993′s “The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire,” significantly shaped the study of masculinity and the emergence of modern homosexuality.

Morris Rossabi holds a Ph.D. in East and Central Asian History from Columbia University, has revolutionized the study of the history of China and its external relations, particularly with Mongolia, and has produced not only a scholarly reinterpretation of its history but one that is equally engaging to the general reader. Lauded by the president and vice president of the China Institute as the United States’ most prominent historian of Central Asia, he has written or edited nine books through the years. His 1988 biography, “Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times,” a major work on the subject, was chosen by the History Book Club as its Main Selection. Other books include “China and the Mongolian Empire” (2006) and “Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists” (2005). He is chair of the Soros Foundation Board on Arts and Culture.

William B. Rossow earned his B.A. in physics and math from Hanover College and his M.S. in physics and Ph.D in astronomy from Cornell University, is one of the foremost internationally recognized scientists in the field of radiation and clouds. He has been a physical scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York since 1978. The 10th most cited geoscientist by the Citation Index, his research interests include cloud physics and dynamics, atmospheric radiative transfer, atmospheric general circulation and climate and satellite remote sensing of Earth’s climate and other planetary atmospheres. The head of the Earth Observation Group at NASA GISS and head of the Global Climatology Project since 1982, he is chairman of the Global Energy and Water Experiment’s Radiation Panel for the World Climate Research Program and a member of the Scientific Steering Group for the GEWEX Cloud System Study. He received the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 1988 and the AMS Verner E. Suomi Award in 2005.

Ruth Stark has an A.B. in chemistry from Cornell University and a Ph.D in physical chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, has established an international reputation during the past two decades in nuclear magnetic resonance, using it to study biological macromolecules in an effort to understand their structure and function in living organisms. Her pioneering work with biopolymers has given insight into the structure of cell membranes, the transport of proteins within the cell, the structure of natural antioxidants and the structure of fungal pigment proteins. She is one of the few researchers to use nuclear magnetic resonance in its solid and liquid phases to understand molecular structure and virtually the only one who works on plants. Her work has led to technical advances in nuclear magnetic resonance that have revolutionized the work of hundreds of scientists around the world.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university: eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College, the Graduate Center, the Graduate School of Journalism, the Law School, the School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 226,000 degree-credit students and 230,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 280 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. The University has launched an on-line baccalaureate degree through the School of Professional Studies, and a new Teacher Academy offering free tuition for highly motivated mathematics and science majors who seek teaching careers in the city’s public schools.