Dr. Thomas Turner appointed Regent's Professor of College


Posted: Jun 14, 2024 - 12:00pm

Dr. Thomas Turner of the Department of Biology was appointed one as of the Regent's Professors of 2025-2027 in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Regents’ Professor is a special title bestowed on selected full professors who, in the judgment of the dean and on the advice of a faculty selection committee, merit recognition of their accomplishments as teachers, scholars, and leaders both in University affairs and in their national/international professional communities.

Thomas Turner is a professor of Biology and Curator of Fishes in the Museum of Southwestern Biology. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Florida International University in 1996, completed post-doctoral research at Texas A&M University, and joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1998 as an assistant professor and curator. Turner's research, teaching, and curatorial programs focus on ecology, evolution, and conservation of aquatic life in arid regions of the world, with emphasis on the southwestern US. His research program has received continuous extramural support totaling over $14 million and produced over 120 papers and technical reports in journals like Conservation Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2001, he received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for integrating teaching, research, and curation. He mentored 13 post-doctoral scholars, 26 graduate students, and 55 undergraduate students to professional careers in environmental science and conservation. He teaches courses in Ecology & Evolution, Vertebrate Biology, Ichthyology, and Interdisciplinary Museum Science. He was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, hosted the national meeting of that society in 2013, and won the National Meritorious Teaching Award in Ichthyology in 2019.

He served as director of the Museum of Southwestern Biology from 2007-2011, associate chair in the Department of Biology from 2012-2014, and as a program director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation from 2017-2018. He served as associate dean for Research in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2014 to 2021, and as interim associate vice president for Research from 2022-2023. Turner currently directs the Museum Research Traineeship, an NSF-funded graduate research and education program centered in the science museums at the university.

Congratulations, Tom!

Read the full story including profiles on the other awardees at UNM Newsroom