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Engineering professor awarded university’s highest academic rank

Jim Keller, ECE and CS, teaches "ECE 8820 Pattern Recognition." Photo by Mel Sheffler

Jim Keller, professor of electrical and computer engineering with a joint appointment in Computer Science, is one of the newest University of Missouri Curators’ Professors. The system–wide Professorship is the highest academic rank the University can bestow. Keller received the award for his ongoing excellence in research, service and teaching.

The accolade is awarded to the UM system’s most successful and prominent scholars, as identified by their departments, campuses and international peers. Colleagues continue to call his early paper on the use of fuzzy logic in neural network training “clearly ahead of its time” and the basis for current research in that field.

When I started working to become a tenured professor, I never dreamed I’d be a Curator’s Professor. It’s a huge honor,” Keller said.

Keller will be a resource at the university–wide level as part of the award, contributing through lectures on each of the MU campuses and through teaching and research across divisional lines. Along with his own lectures, Keller plans to use his accompanying research stipend to bring other speakers and researchers to Mizzou.

I want to help fund lectures, a series of seminars or possibly a seminar class,” said Keller.

Lex Akers, chair of electrical and computer engineering, nominated Keller for the appointment.  Akers said “he’s one of the smartest faculty members I know. It is a great honor both for him, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the College of Engineering.”