Archer and Pepper Named Regents Professors

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday confirmed the appointments of six University of Arizona faculty members as Regents Professors, including CALS Steven Archer and Ian Pepper.

The designation of Regents Professor is an honored position reserved for faculty scholars of exceptional ability who have achieved national or international distinction. The Regents Professor title serves as recognition of the highest academic merit and is awarded to faculty members who have made a unique contribution to the quality of the university through distinguished accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, research or creative work.

"These outstanding members of our faculty exemplify everything we strive to achieve at this university," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We are so grateful to have such world-renowned scholars and teachers as part of the Wildcat family."

Steven Archer

Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Archer's research concentrates on interactions between grasses and woody plants in relation to soils, climate and land use through remote sensing, geographic information system mapping technology, dendrochronology and stable-isotope chemistry. The results have enabled him to reconstruct vegetation history and to quantify and predict the consequences on sustainability of grazing systems, ecosystem biogeochemistry and land surface-atmosphere interactions.

Archer is known for his unique ability to translate his research in rangeland management to university extension agents so that they can relay the information to ranchers, conservationists and the general public.

His research has advanced ecological understanding of grass-woody plant dynamics. In recognition of his contributions, he was presented with the W.R. Chapline Research Award from the International Society for Range Management in 2019 and was made a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Archer also served as the lead author of the Arid Lands Section of the U.S. National Climate Change Science Synthesis/Assessment Product 4.3.


Ian Pepper

Professor in the Department of Environmental Science
Director of the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center

Pepper is an internationally renowned environmental microbiologist who has worked at the interface of human health and soils, potable water and municipal waste. A faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science for more than 40 years, he is heralded for his basic and applied research, his exemplary efforts to train the next generation of scientists, and his public- and private-sector collaborations that further science-based decision making.

Pepper has focused on the fate and transport of pathogens in air, water, soils and municipal waste. He helped establish and has been connected to the National Science Foundation's Industry-University Cooperative Research Center for Water Quality for more than 30 years. The list of research centers he has led includes the NSF Water Quality Center, the Environmental Research Laboratory and, most recently, the Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center, an innovative partnership with Pima County and a unique laboratory for the study of treated wastewater.

Pepper's research addresses real-world problems. His successful efforts to identify and quantify the COVID-19 virus in waste flows from university dormitories have gained international media attention. His team's "wastewater-based epidemiology," which enabled the university to avoid a major campus outbreak, has been implemented in many other locations.

Pepper's collaborative research and educational contributions, including authorship of multiple textbooks, have been recognized by numerous societies. He has been inducted as a fellow by the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recent awards include the 2019 Extraordinary Faculty Award from the University of Arizona Alumni Association and the 2020 Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the University of Arizona Graduate College.

Read about the other newly appointed Regents Professors


Rosemary Brandt
Media Relations Manager, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences