Four Appointed to Highest Faculty Standing at Carnegie Mellon

Four Carnegie Mellon University faculty members have been elevated to the rank of University Professor , the highest distinction a faculty member can achieve at CMU.

The newly minted University Professors are Peter Cooke, Neil Donahue, Sara Kiesler and Sridhar Tayur.

"University Professors are distinguished by international recognition and for their contributions to education, artistic creativity and/or research,” said Provost Jim Garrett.  "Each University Professor exemplifies a high level of professional achievement, and an exceptional commitment to academic excellence at our university.”

Garrett said the professors were nominated and recommended by academic leaders and faculty who have achieved the designation of University Professor.

Peter Cooke 

Cooke was appointed professor and head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama in 2009. Prior to joining CMU, Cooke was deputy director and head of Design at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Australia, and remains a member of the governing NIDA Company.

Throughout his career, he has designed more than 150 productions across the disciplines of drama, opera, dance, puppetry, music-theater, television, casinos and large-scale events. He has co-presented the CMU "Excellence in Theater Education Award” during CBS telecasts of the Tony Awards ceremonies in New York City, and is a current member of the Programming Advisory Committee for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Cooke was awarded an Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list in 2008 for service to the performing arts through theatrical design education, research and administration.

"Being recognized by one’s peers is a great honor,” Cooke said. "I’m grateful to the faculty, staff and students of the School of Drama for the support, collaboration, and joy they bring on a daily basis."

Neil Donahue

Donahue  is Lord Professor of Chemistry in the departments of Chemical Engineering , Chemistry , and Engineering and Public Policy. He also serves as director of CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research , which promotes collaboration between the university’s environmental research centers.

Donahue’s research group focuses on the behavior of organic compounds in the Earth’s atmosphere, and what happens to compounds from both natural sources and human activity when they are emitted into the atmosphere. More recently, his research has focused on the origin and transformations of very small organic particles, which play a critical role in climate change and human health.

Donahue is a member of numerous professional societies, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and an editor for several academic journals.

"This is a huge honor and I am truly delighted,” Donahue said. "It represents recognition by my peers at CMU, who I hold in the highest regard, and it also is an individual honor that more accurately applies to our Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies , which is made up of the most incredible group of colleagues - students and faculty - I could ever wish for.”

Sara Kiesler 

Kiesler is the Hillman Professor Emerita of Computer Science and Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Her research applies behavioral and social science methods and theory to technology design, especially to how technologies relate to existing behavior patterns of individuals, groups and organizations.

Kiesler has collaborated extensively within Carnegie Mellon and with other universities on social design of the internet, and the privacy and security challenges for a future internet architecture.

She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Psi Chi (an international honor society in psychology), the Society for Psychological Science, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).  In 2002, she was elected to the CHI Academy, a group of researchers honored by ACM’s Special Interest Group in Human-Computer Interaction. In 2009, Kiesler received the CHI Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  

Sridhar Tayur 

Tayur is the Ford Distinguished Research Chair and professor of operations management at the Tepper School of Business. He is a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS),  a distinguished fellow of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Tayur is the founder and former CEO of the software company SmartOps, which helped to develop a market for Enterprise Inventory Optimization software, and founded the social enterprise OrganJet, which provides access to affordable multiple listings for kidney and liver transplants.

Tayur has won the Carnegie Science Center Award for Innovation in Information Technology, the Gerald L. Thompson Teaching Award in Tepper’s undergraduate Business Administration Program, the George Leland Bach Excellence in Teaching Award given by MBA students, and the INFORMS Teaching Case Award.

"I enjoy inventing imaginative solutions to important problems - whether in global supply chains to combat strategic counterfeiters, or in health care, for instance, in organ donation and transplantation - with the use of elegant mathematical models and creative analysis of data,” Tayur said. "The culture of the Tepper School, and Carnegie Mellon more broadly, is a happy result of not having disciplinary boundaries constrain faculty research, which has enabled me to implement my solutions in the real-world and push the frontiers of technology and analytics, such as in the area of quantum computing.”

The new University Professors will be recognized at Carnegie Mellon’s commencement, Sunday, May 19.