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Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Scott Curtis

Pictured Above: Dr. Scott Curtis gives the keynote address to the Jubail, Saudi Arabia celebration of World Environment Day 2016, where he also received an award from the Royal Commissioner.
Pictured Below, Right: Dr. Scott Curtis is seen working in Jamaica, deploying meteorological instrumentation as part of his NSF project on the vulnerability and resilience among farmers. - Contributed photos

Curtis Named THCAS Advancement Council Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics

April 17, 2017

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Scott Curtis

East Carolina University’s Dr. Scott Curtis, professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, now holds the title of Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council Distinguished Professorship in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. This is only the second time the professorship has been awarded since its establishment.

“I am very honored to receive the professorship,” said Curtis. “I sincerely thank Dean Downs, the Advancement Council and the selection committee. This award is truly recognition of all the amazing natural science and mathematical scholarship that occur in our college. I look forward to developing new partnerships and research avenues through this award.”

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council Distinguished Professorship was first awarded in Spring 2011. The THCAS also awards the Harriot College Distinguished Professorship, which may go to a faculty member in any discipline.

A natural sciences or mathematics faculty member who holds this professorship, established by the THCAS Dean’s Advancement Council, keeps the title for five years. In addition, the person receives funds each year from the endowment to enhance his or her research.

During his time as Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Curtis’ primary goal is to promote natural science and mathematics, especially with regards to how they apply to everyday life. He plans to do this through collaborative and transformative research, outreach to students and the community, and hosting premier speakers that can capture the attention of a wide range of audiences.

“ECU, THCAS and the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment have always been very supportive of my research and given me the flexibility to be creative with my teaching. I truly enjoy the openness to interdisciplinary collaborations I’ve experienced at ECU,” said Curtis, who has been at the university nearly 14 years and serves as assistant director of the Center for Natural Hazards Research and is an affiliate faculty of the Center for Sustainability.

Curtis’ research interests lie in applying physical principles of the atmosphere and climate system to societal problems both locally and globally. Coinciding with the start of the professorship, Curtis will commence an NSF-funded project to understand Asian monsoon rainfall patterns and their potential for predicting riverbank erosion in vulnerable coastal regions of Bangladesh.

Closer to home, Curtis will continue to study storm surge in North Carolina for the purposes of extending warning times and assessing costs.

Even after the professorship is passed on to another faculty member, Curtis plans to continue his support of research on the ECU campus, especially through leadership positions.

“I want to encourage new faculty to dream big!” said Curtis.