Three UW-Green Bay faculty bestowed named professorships

Green Bay, Wis. — Three members of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty were bestowed named professorships today (August 21, 2019) at the University’s 2019 Fall Faculty and Staff Convocation. Named professorships are created through private gifts that support the study and research of a faculty member who has an outstanding record of scholarly accomplishment. The annual stipend associated with these professorships is for five years, but the recipient retains the title for life. Stipends are typically applied to research expenses or special projects benefiting students or service to the community.

Luis Fernandez

Luis Fernandez

Announced earlier this summer, new faculty member, Assistant Prof. Luis Fernandez, will receive the inaugural Robert and Joanne Bauer Endowed Professorship in Strings. While Fernandez has performed with symphonies from Venezuela to the Fox Valley, teaching remains at the heart of his mission as a musician, having earned a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Miami.

“I will be teaching individual applied strings (violin and viola), string techniques for Music Education majors, directing the string orchestra and supervising student teachers.”

Fernandez is known for his work outside the college campus environment, often leading youth, who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity, to a love for music. His passion for teaching springs from his childhood in Caracas, Venezuela, where he began violin studies through the El Sistema, a free music-education program for youth from impoverished backgrounds.

“The program’s mission was not just to create professional musicians,” Fernandez recalls, “but also to help children and young people reach their full potential- learning values and skills through music, that in turn improve their growth and life.”

As for an encore, his performing talents will take center stage as Director of Orchestras and principal violin with the recently established Weidner Philharmonic Orchestra. Fernandez concurs that the prospect for artists and audiences looks bright.

“I’m relatively new to the region and I’ve been very impressed by the high level of enthusiasm and support for the arts. I think in this kind of environment, it’s possible to build a thriving and successful program.”

The Bauer Endowed Professorship is made possible by a million-dollar gift announced in January 2019, from UW-Green Bay’s founding Band Director Robert J. Bauer and his wife Joanne, a UW-Green Bay alumna.

Pao Lor

Pao Lor

Professor Pao Lor has been named to the Patricia Wood Baer Professorship in Education.
Patricia and Frederick Baer established the Patricia Wood Baer Professorship in Education in 2005. Patricia, daughter of L.G. Wood, founder of Paper Converting Machine Corporation of Green Bay, and her husband Fred, were presented the UW-Green Bay Chancellor’s Award in 1991.

The award recognizes and supports a tenured faculty member who demonstrates a productive commitment to scholarship and/or outreach and whose work exemplifies the spirit and mission of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The Patricia Wood Baer Professorship is specified to faculty who work directly with K-12 schools, K-12 teachers, or UW-Green Bay students who later enter the teaching professor. Eligibility is not restricted to faculty in the professional program of Education.

As one of the few Hmong scholars in the world, Lor’s research and scholarly activities inform and advance the ever-changing dynamics of school culture, diversity, achievement gap, culturally responsive teachings, school curriculum and globalization. He is extensively published and his work has advanced new knowledge to the Hmong American diaspora. His expertise is often sought-after on challenges involving Hmong American communities.

He describes his teaching philosophy as an enriching, transformative process. “I have gone from face-to-face and direct-instruction to hybrid, online, independent studies, project-based learning, personalized-learning, self-discovery learning, mentoring graduate students outside of the institution, studying abroad, among other learning formats. I encourage a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error, stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.”

Lor’s teaching philosophy is rooted in two deeply-held beliefs:

  1. As engaged learners, we must take responsibility for our independent and cooperative learning.
  2. As professionals and future educators in teaching and learning organizations, we must learn to reflect critically upon our own strengths and limitations.
Michael Draney

Michael Draney

Prof. Michael Draney has been named the Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin Professorship of Natural Sciences, established in 1985 by Dr. David and Mary Ann Cofrin of Gainesville, Florida, in memory of David’s sister-in-law. Barbara Hauxhurst Cofrin was a devoted mother of six, an active participant in her community and an accomplished sportswoman. Her service included the local school board and PEO sisterhood.

The award recognizes and gives support for a full professor who has demonstrated a productive commitment to scholarship and/or outreach and whose work exemplifies the spirit and mission of UW-Green Bay. The Cofrin Professorship is specified for a professor in the natural sciences.

Draney’s research interests center on a diverse but often misunderstood group, spiders. He is interested in the ecology and distribution of the thousands of species that live in North and Central America, and often collaborates with ecologists by identifying spider species that they are studying. His students often study communities of spider species in order to learn how natural or human-caused changes effect the ecosystem, because spiders are highly mobile and reproduce quickly, so the spider communities respond to environmental changes quickly. Draney is also interested in discovering and describing new spider diversity both here and in poorly-studied tropical ecosystems, and has described over two dozen new species of spiders.

He is an expert on one family of spiders, the sheet-web spiders, which is the second largest family of spiders worldwide, and the most diverse group of spiders in Wisconsin. He also identifies insects and spiders free for the public, does entomological consultation for local and statewide media, and does entomological outreach presentations for both adults and children.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to nearly 8,000 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit

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Convocation Named Professorships

Photos by Dan Moore, Office of Marketing and University Communication



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