Physics professor Ken Erickson and computer science professor Karen Sutherland are Augsburg’s two newest faculty emeriti, as approved by the Board of Regents at their meeting on May 2. Sutherland retires on May 31; Erickson will retire at the end of August.
Both professors have been lauded for their mentoring and support to students that has characterized their teaching careers. This year, Erickson was honored with the 2008 Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning award for mentoring and advising.
Erickson, who graduated from Augsburg in 1962, returned to Augsburg full time in 1999, and for 25 years he held a shared professorship with the University of Minnesota, working with physics and astronomy faculty in grant-funded research. At both institutions he involved many of his students in grant-funded research. He also has served as both department chair and chair of what was then the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.Sutherland, who has taught at Augsburg since 1999, has served as principal investigator for several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, developing courses in robotics and virtual reality as well as providing research projects for her students. With a recent grant, she introduced dog robots into her Introduction to Computer Science course to provide engaging activities for first-year and sophomore students to learn basic programming. This NSF-funded grant aims to attract students, especially women and minority students, into the field of computer science.
Sutherland also has served as principal investigator for NSF grants that provide scholarships for students majoring in computer science or mathematics. An annual series of lectures she developed brings leaders in these fields to campus, giving students opportunities to learn from them in small groups.