College of Arts & Sciences

UNCW's Joseph Pawlik Receives the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professorship of Marine Biology

UNCW professor Joseph Pawlik is the recipient of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professorship of Marine Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. The professorship will begin in August 2017. Pawlik’s selection followed an international search.

Pawlik, a marine invertebrate zoologist, joined UNCW in 1991 as an assistant professor in what was then the Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on marine chemical and coral reef ecology, specifically Caribbean coral reef sponges. Pawlik oversees an ongoing research program studying the ecology of the giant barrel sponge in the Florida Keys at Aquarius Reef Base/FIU.

The Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professorship, established by the C.D. Spangler Foundation, recognizes international achievement in marine science and a commitment to outstanding research and student mentorship. The award further strengthens the Department of Biology and Marine Biology’s depth of expertise and ensures that UNCW remains at the forefront of marine science research and teaching by attracting and retaining the highest caliber faculty.

“I am truly honored by my faculty colleagues to receive this award. It is a treasured capstone to a wonderful 26-year career here at UNCW,” said Pawlik. “And it is a huge credit to our Department and College that a reward mechanism like this one exists for senior, research-active faculty.”

Pawlik has published more than 125 scientific articles. He is a recipient of the UNCW Award for Faculty Scholarship and is a member of the UNCW Office of Research Administration’s Five Million Dollar Club, which honors researchers that have received more than five million dollars in sponsored funding. Pawlik is one of a team of UNCW researchers that recently received more than $818,000 from the National Science Foundation to examine sponges on Caribbean coral reefs. Pawlik has been the primary mentor to over 30 graduate students in UNCW’s Marine Biology graduate program and has taught an undergraduate course in Invertebrate Zoology every year since joining UNCW, with the exception of a two-year hiatus during which he served as a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC.

--Gena Guthrie