SEC's Auburn University Faculty Achievement Award presented to Hanqin Tian

Published: March 30, 2016
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Auburn University and the Southeastern Conference have announced that Professor Hanqin Tian of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences has been honored with the SEC's Auburn University Faculty Achievement Award for 2016.

Tian is director of the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research at Auburn University and he serves as the Solon and Martha Dixon Professor. He will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the SEC, and he becomes Auburn's nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year, who will be selected from 14 nominees representing SEC universities.

"We appreciate Dr. Tian's commitment to scholarly research and academic excellence on issues with broad economic, environmental and health implications," said Jay Gogue, president of Auburn University and past president of the Southeastern Conference.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards, created to recognize faculty accomplishments, scholarly contributions and discoveries, were established by the SEC presidents and chancellors and are administered by the SEC provosts. The awards were first presented in 2012.

"Dr. Tian is a very accomplished scientist conducting research and bringing awareness to issues involving climate change," said Timothy Boosinger, Auburn University provost and vice president for academic affairs. "His work is at the forefront around the world."

Each recipient of the SEC Faculty Achievement Award must be a full professor at an SEC university, have a performance history of extraordinary teaching and a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally or internationally.

"I am deeply honored, humbled and grateful to have been selected for the prestigious SEC's Auburn University Faculty Achievement Award and to join past recipients who I have long admired and respected," Tian said. "I am proud of Auburn University and its commitment and promotion of academic excellence. I could not have achieved this without the support of the Auburn Family."

Tian has published more than 200 research articles, many of them in the most prestigious journals in global change science, including four papers in Nature and Science. These publications have been widely cited and have become critical literature supporting national and international climate change assessments. His work has been frequently featured by national and international media.

One of his recent studies, published on March 10 in Nature, "The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," for the first time looked at the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide—for every region of the earth's landmasses. He says it revealed, surprisingly, that human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems overwhelmingly surpass the ability of the land to soak up carbon dioxide emissions.

"This finding has revised our understanding of human's role in global climate change," Tian said.

He has received more than $22 million in research grants from highly competitive national programs, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, EPA and USDA.

His list of honors and recognitions is extensive. He received Auburn University's 2011 Creative Research and Scholarship Award, which is one of the highest recognitions for Auburn scholars; was the first winner of the Harry Murphy Award for Excellence in Research from Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; and was the first recipient of the Global Change Science Prize from the Ye Duzheng Foundation and Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Tian and his team were recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 2012 for their outstanding contribution to U.S. National Climate Assessment.

As a testament of his effective teaching and mentoring, many of his graduate and postdoctoral fellows have received prestigious awards as well as faculty positions, including some who advanced to become department chairs or center directors.

Prior to joining Auburn University in 2003, he was an associate professor in Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, a staff scientist in the Marine Biological Laboratory's Ecosystems Center and a research affiliate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

He received his bachelor's degree in agronomy at Zhejiang University, China, in 1982; master's degree in agronomy from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1986; and doctorate in systems ecology from State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Syracuse University in 1996.