The College of Science celebrated teaching and advising excellence at its annual Winter Awards Ceremony at the Memorial Union on February 3. Guided by the theme of mentorship, students and professors paid heartfelt tributes to cherished mentors who were instrumental in igniting their passion for science and influencing their careers.
“Impactful teaching and mentoring is what transforms good students into leaders of science,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science who presented the teaching and advising awards. “I cannot thank faculty and advisors enough for the incredible amount of time spent advising, teaching and mentoring. It does indeed take a village to build the next generation of leaders in science.”
The event was enriched by the presence of students who announced the awards for which they had enthusiastically nominated their teachers and advisors.
Statistics senior instructor Jeff Kollath won the Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching Science. His former student Juliann Moore praised him for guiding her career as a student, and, subsequently, as a teacher of statistics.
“Now I teach alongside my mentor. This instructor has shown me that teaching can be so rewarding,” said Moore, who is also a statistics instructor in the College.
Kollath described his own recipe for successfully teaching large undergraduate lecture classes. “You have to remember the audience you have and keep your expectations high as well as realistic.”
Physics Professor Henri Jansen, who won the Olaf Boedtker Undergraduate Advising Award, recalled the “invisible mentoring” he received from his postdoctoral advisor that continues to influence his own approach to student advising.
“The mentee has to be ready. Plant the seed, but don’t push,” said Jansen. “A good mentor should help you figure out what you should be doing, not what the mentor would have done.”
Mathematics Instructor David Wing, who won the Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, has a reputation for using Rubik’s Cube puzzles to break the ice with his students and make them fall in love with mathematics.
Biophysics and Biochemistry Professor Tory Hagen was awarded the Loyd Carter Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching.
“Professor Hagen’s inspiring mentorship and teaching reminds me of the famous saying by Plutarch. ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled,’” said Nick Thomas, his graduate student.
“The best way of teaching and mentoring is to give room and allow innately good students to achieve their best,” said Hagen while accepting his award.
Congratulations to the College of Science Winter 2015 Teaching and Advising Award Winners
Henri Jansen, Physics Department—Olaf Boedtker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising
David Wing, Mathematics Department—Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching, Undergraduate
Tory Hagen, Biochemistry & Biophysics Department—Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching, Graduate
Jeff Kollath, Statistics Department—Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching