Colorado State University

2015 Professor Laureates Give a Window into Teaching in the CNS

Dr. Debbie Crans, Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Debbie Crans, Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Jennifer Hoeting, Professor of Statistics

Dr. Jennifer Hoeting, Professor of Statistics

Professors Debbie Crans of Chemistry and Jennifer Hoeting of Statistics have been given the highest academic title awarded in the College of Natural Sciences.

The Professor Laureate program recognizes those faculty members whose outstanding scholarship and teaching set them apart and help shape the college’s academic character. Last year, the college recognized the late Dr. Robert France of computer science and Dr. Carl Patton of physics.

Hoeting sees a common thread in those who came before her and those colleagues she admires today.

“I feel privileged to be recognized for being a well-rounded academician,” she says. “There are so many dedicated faculty members among my colleagues. They all work so hard to move our respective fields of science forward while also providing high-quality education to our undergraduate and graduate students.”

Hoeting’s main research interests are in spatial statistics and Bayesian statistics.  Spatial statistics explores the complex dependencies in data that are spatially referenced, such as the locations of wetlands in Colorado, while Bayesian statistical methods allow an analyst to combine previous knowledge with results based on new data in a coherent manner. The application of Bayesian and spatial statistical methods generally requires sophisticated computational algorithms.

Hoeting has also authored the textbook “Computational Statistics,” and she serves as an executive editor for the journal “Advances in Statistical Climatology, Meteorology and Oceanography.”

Crans, originally from Denmark, is a chemist known for her work with vanadium, a promising trace metal that has been administered as an anti-diabetic drug. Like many treatments, vanadium has to be handled carefully, in part because of its toxicity – Crans’ work has helped shed light on the best delivery methods and how to aid patients while introducing less of the element.

Crans received a prestigious 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellowship, and she was named a 2011 Teacher of the Year at CSU. Known for her no-nonsense style, she pushes her students hard – but always with the broader goal of teaching them how to think like scientists.

“As an educator,” she says, “it is your job to make people grow, and in general people do not want to hear that they are not perfect and don’t do everything right already.  This is particularly hard when you teach one of the largest service classes that students dread – introductory organic chemistry!”

A highly invested member of the CSU community for over 20 years, Crans was thrilled to be named Professor Laureate. “Being chosen is extremely special to me.”

The Professor Laureate title lasts for three years, and awardees are perceived as role models in the college. Laureates form a group that the dean’s office may go to for advice and counsel on ad-hoc issues.

To Dean Jan Nerger, Hoeting and Crans continue a legacy of scholarship native to the CNS for many years. “Jennifer and Debbie are inspiring – and challenging – teachers,” she says. “They have made important and extensive contributions to their disciplines, and devoted time and energy in service to the university, their profession, and the community at large.”