Oregon State University has named geography expert Julia Jones and human development expert Richard Settersten as its 2021 University Distinguished Professor recipients, the highest academic honor the university can bestow on a faculty member.

“Professors Jones and Settersten are outstanding examples of OSU’s highest academic honor,” OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Edward Feser said in his announcement. “Each makes unique and highly impactful contributions to the university, nation and world through their scholarship, creative work, teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.”

Jones and Settersten will give Zoom lectures May 5 and 6 about their scholarship in teaching, research and engagement. The lectures are part of OSU’s “Recognizing Excellence” event series, which celebrates students and faculty throughout the year.

Jones is head of the geography program in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, where her research focuses on land use, climate change and the impact of forest management practices on water systems. Her interdisciplinary projects have brought in more than $31 million in grants and she has a long record of mentorship and administrative service across OSU, as well as regular contributions to national and international policy debates.

Settersten is head of the School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. He holds the Barbara E. Knudson Endowed Chair in Family Policy and was the 2019 recipient of the Distinguished Lifetime Career Award by the Society for the Study of Human Development, a leading professional organization in his field. His study of the life course has led to the publication of several books, including “Not Quite Adults” and “Living on the Edge.” 

The university has presented the University Distinguished Professor award annually since 1988 to current OSU faculty members who have achieved extraordinary national and/or international stature for their contributions in research and creative work, education, outreach and engagement, and service.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only two land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 33,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Molly Rosbach, [email protected]


Steve Clark, [email protected]


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