When Professor Reed Scherer talks about his role at NIU and in the field of polar research he puts it in a past-present-future context.
The past, as he points out, relates to the university’s six decades of studying Antarctica’s geology firsthand. The present involves an ever-increasing awareness among today’s students about the realities of climate change. And, he’s already seeing a future filled with important work among his students who have embarked on their professional careers since he arrived at NIU in 2000.
“Our department, it’s a small department, but we’ve always been cutting edge,” Scherer said, adding. “I’m proud of the legacy that’s being built by former students.”
Internationally recognized for his polar research, Scherer has published dozens of widely cited papers and obtained millions of dollars in external grant funding to study Antarctica where he said the global impact of human activities can be observed. He’s also represented NIU as a frequent media contributor on the issue of climate change.
Scherer’s impact at NIU and beyond recently earned him a Board of Trustees Professorship, the second time he’s been awarded the distinction.
“Reed continues to demonstrate the highest level of research quality and success, and, as such, is a model for other university faculty to emulate,” Professor Mark Fischer, chair of Geology and Environmental Geosciences Assistant Chair, said. “His dedication to the institution is highlighted in his unwavering willingness to serve on administrative committees and myriad positions across the department, college and university.”
Scherer said his accomplishments didn’t happen by his actions alone, mentioning how scientific research is a collaborative effort. He believes it’s imperative to get students, especially undergrads, involved in the field because “that’s where the real education happens.”
Others show support and express appreciation for Scherer’s approach with students.
“Professor Scherer is an excellent teacher and mentor. He is engaged with, and demands excellence from, both graduate and undergraduate students that work in his research group,” Geology and Environmental Geosciences Assistant Chair and Graduate Director Mark R. Frank said in nominating Scherer for the BOT Professorship. “He has been able to simultaneously motivate and challenge students.”