Harriot College Distinguished Professors 2014

Dr. Margaret Bauer, Dr. Roger Rulifson Awarded 2014 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors

GREENVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 25, 2014) — On Monday, August 25, East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences broke with tradition and inducted two members of its faculty into the ranks of distinguished professor, an honor bestowed at the beginning of the academic year when a qualifying individual is chosen for the award. This year’s recipients mark the 16th and 17th professors chosen for the distinguished honor.

Dr. Margaret Bauer, Rives Chair of Southern Literature in the Department of English and editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, and Dr. Roger Rulifson, professor in the Department of Biology and senior scientist with the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, were named the 2014 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors during the college’s annual faculty convocation held in Wright Auditorium.

“At a time when the value of the humanities is often overlooked, I am pleased that ECU’s new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences starts his first year recognizing the importance of research in the humanities as well as the sciences, and I look forward to seeing Harriot College shine a light on the excellent research and creative activity of many of ECU’s humanities faculty in the future,” said Bauer.

“I am very honored to be chosen for the title of Distinguished Professor of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences by Dean Downs,” said Rulifson. “I think of the past recipients, and I know that I will have a challenge ahead to live up to their legacy. I truly appreciate the latitude and encouragement from the Dean’s Office over 30 years to teach what I love to teach, and to conduct research on coastal issues with Biology graduate and undergraduate students, without whom I could not have accomplished so much in the name of East Carolina University.”

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professorship is the highest honor within the college and is conferred upon a professor whose career exemplifies a commitment to and a love for knowledge and academic life, as demonstrated by outstanding teaching and advising, research and creative productivity, and professional service.

“After this year’s review of nominees, we were so impressed with the exceptional quality of our colleagues that we did something unconventional – unprecedented as far as I know,” said Dr. William Downs, dean of Harriot College. “We found two Harriot College faculty members ‘equally deserving’ of the Distinguished Professorship. And despite everybody telling me that making two awards ‘just isn’t done,’ that is precisely what we are doing this year.”

Throughout Bauer’s 18 years and Rulifson’s 31 years of academic service to ECU, both have displayed the qualities and characteristics required of a Distinguished Professor.

Exhibiting Their Love for Knowledge and Academic Life

As a professor, Bauer has exhibited great range, offering courses in American and British Literature; Black Literature; North Carolina Literature; Southern Literature; Women’s Literature; Appreciating and Interpreting Literature; and Freshman Composition. In addition, she has mentored many students, serving as a member on eight graduate student thesis committees and as the committee chair of four master’s theses.

Rulifson has taught courses in Current Topics in Coastal Biology; Introduction to Marine Biology; Survey of the Coastal Marine Environment; Introduction to Fisheries Management; Advanced Fisheries Techniques; Fisheries Literature; and Case Management of Coastal Management Issues. In addition, he has mentored many students by serving as a member or external examiner on 30 graduate student theses and dissertation committees, and as the committee chair of 53 masters theses and doctoral dissertations.

Research and Creative Activity

Over the course of her career, Bauer has authored or co-authored 23 peer-reviewed journal articles; 10 book reviews; 14 essays in books; nine reference book entries; 50 conference papers; and six books. She has been an invited presenter at more than three dozen conferences, and she has given more than two dozen invited lectures. In addition, Bauer has served as primary investigator or co-investigator on a dozen research grants, totaling more than $110,000. She was named one of ECU’s 10 Women of Distinction in 2007 and received the University’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Creative Activity earlier this year.

Throughout his career, Rulifson has been a prolific researcher. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles; 76 technical reports; three book reviews; and four book chapters, with eight pending manuscripts. He has participated in 300 professional presentations. In addition, Rulifson has been a primary investigator or co-investigator on 100 research grants that total more than $6.8 million.

Contributing to the Professional Realm

Bauer is a current member of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals; the Council of Literary Magazine and Presses; the Modern Language Association; the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; the Society for the Study of Southern Literature; and the South Atlantic Modern Language Associations. At ECU, Bauer currently serves as the first Rives Chair of Southern Literature in the Department of English at ECU, a position created in 2006, and as editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, a position she has held since 1997.

Currently, Rulifson is a member of the American Fisheries Society; Partnership for the Sounds; Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society); and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries River Herring Advisory Committee. At ECU, Rulifson serves as professor in the Department of Biology and senior scientist with the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy, positions he has held since 1995.

Letters of Support

Letters of nomination from colleagues within and outside the ECU community laud Bauer and Rulifson for contributions to their field, adding to the impressive case for inducting both into the prestigious group of Thomas Harriot Distinguished Professors.

“I am astounded by the breadth and depth of her efforts as a teacher, scholar and citizen of the department and university,” writes a colleague of Bauer’s in a letter of support. “Professor Bauer brings to all of her work an uncompromising level of attention and dedication.”

Dr. Rulifson’s colleagues write equally praiseworthy nominations, stating, “Roger’s teaching has a long record of success and is among the most innovative and inquiry-rich in the Department of Biology…. He is a role model for new faculty in all the aspects of academia,” and, “The respect and esteem accorded Roger by his colleagues in fisheries science is obvious.”


Bauer received her PhD degree from the University of Tennessee. She received her MA from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and her BA, with a double major in English and English Education, from Louisiana State University. In 1996, Bauer joined the ECU faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of English. In 2004 she was selected as the first Ralph Hardee Rives Chair of Southern Literature, and in 2006, she was promoted to full professor.

Rulifson is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where he received his PhD and MS degrees in marine science and engineering with minors in zoology. He received his BS degree from the University of Dubuque, Iowa, majoring in biology and French. In 1983, Rulifson joined the ECU faculty as an assistant scientist with the Institute for Coastal and Marine Sciences and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biology. In 1993, he was promoted to full professor and became a senior scientist with ECU’s Institute for Coastal Science and Policy.

For additional information, contact Bauer at 252-328-1537 or bauerm@ecu.edu, or Rulifson at 252-328-9400 or rulifsonr@ecu.edu.