Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Bill Retzlaff, PhD, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has joined a prestigious group of tenured faculty members, earning the University’s highest academic rank of Distinguished Research Professor.
The distinction is awarded in recognition of significant contributions to research and creative activities. Retzlaff is an active and committed teacher-scholar. He has made outstanding and sustained contributions to green infrastructure and sustainability in the areas of green roof and wall research, including storm water runoff retention and quality, thermal performance, plant survival, and maintenance techniques.
“Dr. Retzlaff’s research has not only advanced our understanding of green infrastructure and sustainability, but also has influenced industry practices in the U.S. and Canada,” said Jerry Weinberg, associate provost for research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “His significant findings have been recognized by fellow scholars and industry leaders alike. As one of SIUE’s outstanding teacher-scholars, Dr. Retzlaff includes both undergraduate and graduate students into his research work, providing them an exceptional educational opportunity.”
“I am humbled by this academic honor,” Retzlaff said. “Working on sustainable practices and green infrastructure is exciting, because it is a rapidly emerging field that is focused on environmental improvement.”
Retzlaff’s work on green roofs began in 2004. Since then, his research has generated 10 externally funded projects, 114 oral/poster presentations, 11 peer-reviewed publications, 12 peer-reviewed conference proceedings papers and seven other publications – many of them including students. Retzlaff’s students have also completed 24 master of science theses on living architecture topics.
He received the Sustainability Leadership Award from the SIUE Center for Sustainability and Spirituality in 2014. In 2015, the distinguished researcher earned the Green Roof and Wall Research Award of Excellence from CitiesAlive.
“The importance of Bill’s research and his diligent advocacy for our network’s research in the community of living architecture cannot be overstated,” a colleague noted. “His work has influenced industry leaders to reconcile our expectations for performance in North America with their European techniques and materials. Bill’s research is also a substantial presence in the development of policy and incentive programs in North America.”