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Gerow Receives UW’s Top Faculty Award

May 9, 2022
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Ken Gerow

For nearly 30 years, Ken Gerow has been an anchor for the University of Wyoming, demonstrating a deep commitment to the institution while excelling as a scholar, teacher and researcher.

That commitment has been recognized with the 2022 George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award. Named for UW’s 13th president, who served from 1945-1964, the award honors teaching effectiveness, distinction in scholarly work and distinguished service to the university and state.

“He has been a passionate advocate for our students, a joyfully dedicated teacher, an enthusiastic and creative researcher and scholar, and a committed, politically savvy contributor to our university -- as department head, as chair of Faculty Senate and in many other capacities, going far above and beyond the usual faculty member’s contributions,” Professor Emeritus Richard Anderson-Sprecher says of Gerow, a professor in the UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Dr. Gerow has contributed substantively and generously, from the heart, in all aspects of his position -- teaching, research and service -- while at the University of Wyoming.”

Gerow, who joined UW’s faculty in 1993 with a joint appointment in statistics and zoology, has achieved distinction among statisticians and professionals in the fields of fisheries, wildlife and ecology. He has published more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals, a well-cited book and numerous book chapters.

Some of his most notable work came in collaboration with now-Professor Emeritus Wayne Hubert to develop new methodologies -- now part of standard protocol -- for assessing fisheries.

“I advised over 50 graduate students during the time that Professor Gerow and I coincided on the faculty. Almost all of these students took one or more of Professor Gerow’s graduate-level statistics courses designed for aspiring professionals in ecology and related fields,” says Hubert, who previously led the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit while on the faculty of the UW Department of Zoology and Physiology. “These students not only developed a sound working knowledge of statistical procedures applicable to their field, but also critical thinking skills that enabled them to assess the work of others. Professor Gerow’s teaching style engaged the students and made the courses not only highly informative, but also exciting and entertaining.”

As a testament to his skill in the classroom, Gerow received UW’s John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award in 1996 and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Extraordinary Merit in Teaching Award in 2007.

“I have followed Ken’s development of programs and online instructional techniques to help undergraduate and graduate students understand the logic and philosophy of, as well as the practice of, statistical methods. Ken contributed significantly to the education of all of my graduate students,” says botany Professor Emeritus Bill Reiners. “In fact, I consider myself as a student of Ken’s through our collaborations and publications over the years.”

But some of Gerow’s greatest contributions to the university have come in his roles as a campus leader. In addition to chairing and serving in other capacities on the Faculty Senate, Gerow has been on the Native American Advisory Council, the Arts and Sciences Central Committee and many other committees.

“Some of these leadership roles have involved very difficult personnel and serious organizational issues,” Reiners says. “Through his service contributions, Ken has been wise and patient, and a giant with respect to moral strength and dedication to this institution.”

Gerow also excels in connecting with off-campus constituencies, former UW President Tom Buchanan says.

“Having spent 16 years attending Board of Trustees meetings, I can state unequivocally that Professor Gerow is among a very small cadre of faculty able to communicate effectively with legislators, members of the Board of Trustees and other external constituents,” says Buchanan, also a professor emeritus. “Ken’s approach is quiet, confident, collegial, without ego and always delivered in a professional fashion.”

Gerow received his Ph.D. in biometry -- with a minor in history and philosophy of science and technology -- from Cornell University. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in statistics from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

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