Two UMKC Faculty Named Curators' Distinguished Professors

The award is the highest and most prestigious academic rank in UM System

The University of Missouri Board of Curators recently named two University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members Curators' Distinguished Professors.

A Curators' Distinguished Professorship is the highest and most prestigious academic rank awarded by the Board of Curators. It is given to a select few outstanding scholars with established reputations.

This year, Tina Niemi, Ph.D., of the School of Science and Engineering, and Massimiliano Vitiello, Ph.D., of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, were selected for the honor.

"Tina and Massimiliano are exemplary role models for what it means to be a UMKC faculty member. They both have accomplished so much and we could not be more proud," said Jenny Lundgren, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

Niemi is a geologist who specializes in geoarchaeology, sedimentology and active tectonics. She and her students collect aerial imagery using drones and stratigraphic data from outcrops, trench excavations and cores in order to build a deeper understanding of the history and nature of tectonic, climate and anthropogenic environmental changes through time. 

"I am honored to have been awarded a Curators' Distinguished Professorship and I thank my colleagues, collaborators and students both for supporting my nomination, and even more, for so many wonderful years of working together," Niemi said. 

Vitiello is a scholar of ancient history, Late Antiquity, Byzantium and the early Middle Ages, with an emphasis in Roman History. He specializes in the history of the late Roman Empire and the transformation of the Mediterranean World, and works on classical philology, historiography, epigraphy, numismatics and the material culture of the classical world.

"I am deeply honored by this appointment and I am determined to continue my research with dedication and passion," Vitiello said. "The University's commitment to scholarship that this distinction represents is both humbling and inspiring."

In addition to Niemi and Vitiello, this year's recipients also include:

  • Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus, John C. Walker, MU
  • Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dorina Kosztin, MU
  • Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor, David Westenberg, S&T
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Sajal Das, S&T
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Rajiv Mohan, MU
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Ron Mittler, MU
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Kannappan Palaniappan, MU
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Robert Paul, UMSL
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor, Thomas Sewell, MU

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