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LSU Entomology Professor Dr. James Ottea Receives Prestigious Professorship

Ottea Named 2019 Sternberg Professor
LSU Entomology Professor Dr. James Ottea Receives Prestigious Professorship

Jim Ottea teaching HNRS course

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College has selected Professor Jim Ottea of LSU’s Department of Entomology as the 2019-20 Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor. Established in 1996, the professorship is the highest award conferred to faculty by the Ogden Honors College. 

Dr. Ottea came to LSU in 1990, splitting his entomology appointment between research and teaching. He teaches both graduate- and undergraduate-level courses specifically focused on insect biology, insecticide toxicology and science literacy. Due to his excellent work, Dr. Ottea was awarded the “Alumni Teacher Award” as the Outstanding Teacher in the LSU College of Agriculture in 2012, and the “Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching" by the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America in 2017.

The Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professorship Award was made possible by the generosity of the late Mrs. Lea Sternberg, who was a longtime supporter of the Honors College. Mrs. Sternberg established the award to honor the memory of her husband, Erich Sternberg, and to highlight her respect and support for the mission of the Ogden Honors College and the professors making concrete differences on LSU’s campus.

“All of my teaching has been reinvigorated since I came to the Honors College,” said Dr. Ottea. “It’s the caliber of students and the intellectual energy they bring into the classroom, and what that’s meant for me is that I’ve had to up my game. I get surprised from the types of things that get brought up in discussions. I’ve really had to think more about how I’m teaching.

“I knew Dr. Ottea was a much-lauded entomologist when I recruited him to teach an honors course, but to my absolute delight he has become one of the Honors College’s leading advocates campus-wide,” said Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. “He teaches a popular honors course, ‘Science for Citizens;’ is a Faculty Fellow and takes a great interest in our students and their research. I am grateful the College of Agriculture has agreed to share him with the OHC.”

Recipients of the professorship are held to the highest standards in their professional career. These professors are required to have outstanding academic qualifications and credentials; a preeminent teaching record; and honorable moral and ethical character. These professors are expected to promote intellectual and social progress, trustworthiness, leadership, and patriotism. In addition, the Sternberg Professor participates in teaching and being involved in the general life of the Ogden Honors College during the tenure of their award, in addition to delivering a formal lecture during the term of the professorship. 

Dr. Ottea’s lecture topic will be “Science in the Post-truth Era.” He said he plans to discuss biological, political, and social factors underlying the apparent loss of credibility of scientists as sources of insight and reason regarding scientific issues affecting society.

“This is not my area of research, but it’s really something I’ve become interested in since I began teaching in the Honors College,” said Dr. Ottea. “It’s been a discovery of how I think.”

He will give his address on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. in the Hans and Donna Sternberg Salon.

To learn how you can contribute to a professorship, contact Ogden Honors College Director of Development Miles Garrett at .

The Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College
The Ogden Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Ogden Honors College provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders.