David Edds named 2013 Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor

April 30, 2013

 Dr. David R. Edds, second from left, is surprised by the announcement that he is the 2013 Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor. The announcement in Edds’ classroom came Tuesday, April 30, 2013, from Dr. Brent Thomas, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, left; Dr. Gwen Alexander, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president of Emporia State University; and Dr. Marie Miller, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Teacher, scholar, mentor, Peace Corps volunteer. Today, Dr. David R. Edds added a new title — 2013 Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor.

Edds learned of his award during a surprise announcement in the aquatics laboratory at Emporia State University where he and students in his ichthyology class were preparing to leave for a field trip.

Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professors are selected for their “scholarship, teaching and, in particular, mentoring students,” Dr. Brent Thomas, chair of the Division of Biological Sciences told Edds and his students.

Thomas led the announcement delegation that included Dr. Marie Miller, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Dr. Gwen Alexander, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs; and Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president of Emporia State University.

Edds, who grew up in Independence, Kan., joined the faculty at Emporia State University in 1989.

“He is one of the most highly respected teacher on this or any campus by the people who truly matter most, the students,” wrote a colleague, describing students’ reactions to taking Edds’ classes.

A graduate student agreed, writing in the nomination packet that Edds “is a professor who cares about his students and wants them to succeed, pushing them past what they think their limits are.”

Edds earned an associate’s degree from Independence Community College and bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Kansas, then served as a Peace Corps volunteer working in Siraha and Kathmandu, Nepal. While there, Edds was a volunteer and volunteer leader for fisheries extension and aquaculture, a conservation program developer and community foresty training project director.

He returned to the United States to earn his master’s and doctorate degrees in zoology from Oklahoma State University. For his dissertation, he studied fish in Nepal’s Kali Gandaki/Narayhani rivers. Between earning his two graduate degrees, Edds spent another term with the Peace Corps in Kathmandu, this time as a math-science training project director.

During his time in Nepal, Edds conducted extensive research into the native fish populations. His work established research collections at Oklahoma State University and the University of Kansas that remain in use today.

Closer to home, Edds and his students have conducted extensive research into aquatic life in the Neosho River and other Kansas waterways. This research includes zebra mussels, the Neosho madtom and effects of dams on aquatic life.

Outside the campus community, Edds’ activities have included at the Emporia Area Regional Science and Engineering Fair, coaching soccer and baseball for the Emporia Recreation Commission and conducting aquatic ecology summer camps for Girl Scouts, the Youth Conservation Corps at the Flint Hills Wildlife Refuge and Emporia Recreation Commission summer camp.

He is a member of American Fisheries Society, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Chelonian Conservation Society, Southwestern Association of Naturalists, Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and Nepal Fisheries Society.

The Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor Award includes a $1,000 honorarium for professional activities. Edds will be honored at a university reception later this month, be listed in the spring commencement program and be the speaker at the December commencement.



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