Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, honored six University of Iowa faculty members for their exceptional contributions and sustained record of excellence. Each recipient received $1,000 and will be honored at a special awards celebration in the fall.

The recipients were selected by committees appointed by UI Shared Governance in collaboration with the UI administration and confirmed by the Board of Regents.

Amy Colbert

Amy Colbert headshot

Colbert, professor of management and entrepreneurship in the Tippie College of Business, joined the UI faculty as assistant professor in 2007 and was promoted to professor in 2016. She holds the Leonard A. Hadley Chair in Leadership and, as of July 2021, completed a four-year term as departmental executive officer of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. A productive and impactful researcher, Colbert has published 27 journal articles, three book chapters and her work has resulted in nearly 10,000 Google Scholar citations. In addition to effectively teaching at all levels – undergraduate, MBA, and PhD – she has been a pioneer for Tippie’s online MBA program and her Leadership and Personal Development course is one of the most sought-after courses in the program. Colbert serves on seven committees within the college, and her contribution to the Path to Distinction program to help diversify the professoriate at Iowa changed the way multiple departments recruit faculty. 

Bruce Gantz

Bruce Gantz headshot

Gantz is a 41-year member of the UI faculty, currently serving as professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery in the Carver College of Medicine and special assistant for clinical programs at UI Hospitals & Clinics. He is a model for sustained excellence. For 25 years, he was chair of the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and his impact created an environment where clinical care and research flourished. His department has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. World and News Report rankings. Gantz’s pioneering work on hearing loss treatment with cochlear implants has transformed lives, restoring hearing to the deaf. For more than 30 years, he led a National Institute of Health (NIH) P50 program in cochlear implant research, which has been awarded $63 million in funding, achieving many milestones along the way. He also has been recognized for his work as one of the few otolaryngologists elected to the National Academy of Medicine and is one of 16 U.S. members of the Collegium Oto-Rhino Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum (CORLAS), a group of international academicians that promote research and academic interests bridging political differences. He has published more than 250 papers and holds three U.S. patents.

Keri Hornbuckle

Keri Hornbuckle headshot

Hornbuckle, the Donald E. Bently Professor in Engineering, has been a faculty member at Iowa since 1998. Hornbuckle has published more than 100 studies concerning toxic chemicals in the environment and is internationally recognized in the field of environmental engineering.  Her work focuses on identifying strategies for reducing emissions of toxic chemicals from Superfund sites, from consumer products, and from building materials in schools. She is the director of the Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP) and her leadership resulted in a $13 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. In the classroom, Hornbuckle’s initiatives have had lasting impacts within the college including the promotion of active learning and innovative use of technology in teaching. She built relationships with Arts and Humanities faculty to foster more creativity which resulted in adoption of a “Be Creative” course required for the general education curriculum in the College of Engineering. Hornbuckle serves as the associate editor of two American Chemical Society journals, including Environmental Science & Technology, the premier journal in environmental science and engineering, reviewing 250 to 300 papers a year.  

Sara Mitchell

Sara Mitchell headshot

Mitchell, the F. Wendell Miller Professor in the Department of Political Science, joined the UI faculty in 2004. Mitchell chaired 13 dissertation committees and served as a member of more than 20 PhD committees. She takes an interactive approach to teaching, and her students come to class prepared to debate and discuss and are pushed to analyze the material. Outside of the classroom, Mitchell’s consistent publications put her in the top echelon of political scientists and she has been successful in securing external grants, often a difficult achievement in her field. She has been a principal investigator on six National Science Foundation (NSF) grants worth almost $800,000 and she served as a senior personnel on two others worth more than $3.2 million. Her research has also been supported with grants from the Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International Development. She is the author of six books and 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. In 2015, she was awarded the Quincy Wright Distinguished Scholar Award from the International Studies Association-Midwest Society, given to a person with an exceptional record of scholarship and a distinguished record of service to the association.

James Torner

James Torner headshot

Torner, a graduate of the UI, has been the head of the Department of Epidemiology since 1991 (previously known as a division of Preventative Medicine and Environmental Health in the College of Medicine). He remained in that role until 2017, also serving as the Graduate Program director. Over his career, he has produced 474 peer-reviewed publications and 39 book chapters. In the last 20 years, he has been principle investigator on almost $20 million in external grants, and has contributed to numerous other grants with a focus on prevention of disability from acquired brain injury from stroke and trauma and musculoskeletal disorders and the design and conduct of clinical trials. He serves as the associate director for recruitment and patient engagement in the UI Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) and is the founding director of the Preventive Intervention Center in the College of Public Health. In collaboration with the ICTS, he established the certificate in Clinical and Translational Investigation and the master of science degree in Clinical Investigation. Torner’s primary teaching since 1994 has been a course on the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical trials. He has advised 74 graduate students, served on 87 doctoral dissertation committees, and mentored 25 fellows, postdocs, or National Institute of Health career development awardees known as K awards.

Sherry Watt

Sherry Watt headshot

Watt, a faculty member at the University of Iowa since 2000, is a professor of educational policy and leadership studies in the College of Education. Watt's research on diversity, equity, and inclusion, focuses on 'how' communities can engage more productively around complex social issues such as racism by building skills that increase the stamina to engage in difficult dialogues. Watt’s Multicultural Initiative (MCI) Research Team ( which includes graduate students, alums and faculty/staff collaborators offers partnerships that support organizations as they work to navigate inequitable systems. Watt's approach is evidence-based, makes space for multiple perspectives, and fosters job relevant solutions to social and political barriers as communities work together across difference and aim for equity and inclusion. She has been a facilitator prepared by the Center for Courage and Renewal since 2007 and, during the racial unrest brought about from the murder of George Floyd, Watt introduced and led a new program in the College of Education to combat racism: The Anti-Racism Collaborative (ARC). Watt has published numerous books, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, blogs and most recently is a co-editor of The Theory of Being: Practices for Transforming Self and Communities across Difference (August 2022). Watt was awarded with the 2000 Outstanding Faculty Award, 2006 and 2014 Collegiate Teaching Award, 2020 Center for Diversity Enrichment’s Distinguished Educator Award, and most recently, Student Supervisor of the Year Award in 2021.