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Celebrating excellence: 2018 teaching and advising awards

The College of Science celebrated its 2018 Winter Teaching and Advising Awards with faculty, advisors and students on February 22 to recognize exceptional teaching and advising, both areas of distinction in the College. Committed and effective teaching, advising and mentorship are at the very heart of the College of Science’s identity as a robust and thriving community of students and scholars.

The awards ceremony included a highly engaging and special presentation by Team Math, a group of mathematics faculty who came together for four months to redesign the curricula of introductory math courses and effectively to transform college algebra. Since last spring, they have seen impressive results with solid improvements in student retention, performance and engagement. The project received funding from a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant through the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Watch this video to learn about the process and experience of redesigning Math 111 (college algebra).

At the awards ceremony, mathematics faculty Sara Clark, Lyn Riverstone, Dan Rockwell, and Katy Williams shared their experiences redesigning introductory math courses, particularly college algebra, with new technology, active learning approaches and student performance measures to improve student success.

Dean Roy Haggerty delivered opening welcome remarks and Associate Dean Matt Andrews served as an exuberant emcee for the event. Selected science students offered glowing tributes and presented the awards to the winners. Congratulations to these highly talented teachers and advisers for their dedication and tireless efforts to ensure student learning and success within and beyond the classroom.

2018 Award Winners

Olaf Boedtker Award for Excellence in Academic Advising

Biochemistry instructor Kari Van Zee with Dean Roy Haggerty (left) and biochemistry student Andrew Drake

For the second consecutive year, Kari van Zee, instructor and advisor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, won the Olaf Boedtker Award for her tireless support, efforts and advocacy on behalf of undergraduate students. The award, which encourages and recognizes exceptional and inspirational advising of undergraduate students, was presented to van Zee by Andrew Drake, a biochemistry and biophysics senior. She received a multitude of effusive nomination letters from her students.

“Kari’s dedication to her students never fails to impress me. Despite long days in which she is responsible for supplying large lab courses, lecturing, and advising, she still manages to make time for students when they need her. I have found her guidance to be practical and extremely valuable. OSU is a better place every day because of her efforts,” wrote one student.

Van Zee has also been heavily involved in outreach to Oregon high school students and teachers and is Program Coordinator of STEPs (Scientists and Teachers in Education Partnerships).

Nominees: Kevin Ahern, biochemistry and biophysics; Linda Bruslind, microbiology; Cody Duncan, integrative biology; Henri Jansen, physics; Barbara Kessel, microbiology; Brock McLeod, integrative biology; Jennifer Olarra, integrative biology.

Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching (Undergraduate)

Chemistry instructor Daniel Myles (center) with microbiology student Ranya Guennon and Dean Roy Haggerty.

Senior instructor of chemistry Daniel Myles received the Loyd Carter Undergraduate Teaching Award for his outstanding teaching of organic chemistry and other courses that exemplify his commitment to accommodating various learning styles to ensure student engagement and understanding. Microbiology student Ranya Guennon presented the award to Myles.

“I have been fortunate to have Dr. Myles for organic chemistry and was blown away by his enthusiasm and care in his teaching. Organic chemistry can be daunting for students. It is often the first really hard class science students take at OSU. Dr. Myles does a wonderful job, however, of making it accessible and interesting,” said Guennon.

Myles is a renowned teacher who has won many awards, including three “Professor of the Quarter” awards from the OSU Panhellenic Executive Council; the 2013 Fred Horne Award for Excellence in Teaching Science in the College of Science; the Phi Beta Kappa Best University Instructor Award as well as many other honors. Most recently, he was ranked the #3 professor at OSU in the Barometer.

Nominees: Lindsay Biga, integrative biology; Henri Jansen, physics; Malcolm Lowry, microbiology; Devon Quick, integrative biology; Neal Sleszynski, chemistry; Kari Van Zee, biochemistry and biophysics.

Loyd F. Carter Award for Outstanding and Inspirational Teaching (Graduate)

Chemistry Associate Professor David Ji (right) with Dean Roy Haggerty and chemistry graduate student Ismail Rodriguez Perez.

Associate Professor of chemistry David (Xiulei) Ji received the Loyd Carter award for his inspirational and superb mentorship and teaching of graduate students. He was nominated and presented the award by chemistry graduate student Ismail Rodriguez Perez.

“Dr. Ji is an outstanding professor. In my eyes, what makes him inspirational and outstanding is his true passion for the subject at hand, which makes me want to learn more. Dr. Ji also does a fantastic job relating his teachings to real-world applications, which is quite inspiring; he motivates and inspires students to continue to pursue chemistry as a career, which I think is a special trait not many professors have,” said Rodriguez Perez.

Ji leads a highly motivated team of graduate students and researchers from all over the world in his chemistry lab, which is focused on pushing the boundaries of ion storage chemistry in solids.

Nominees: David McIntyre, physics; Holly Swisher, mathematics; Sandra Loesgen, chemistry; Yuan Jiang, statistics.

Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching Science 

Zoology Professor Bob Mason (center) with Dean Roy Haggerty and biology instructor Adam Chouinnard.

Robert Mason, professor of integrative biology, won the Frederick Horne Award, for his exceptional qualities as a teacher and a mentor. Since joining OSU in 1991, Mason has distinguished himself as an outstanding educator and mentor who has inspired and guided many students to research careers in zoology and herpetology. He teaches the department’s highly popular course on vertebrate biology, bringing to it his distinctive gifts as an ace scientist.

Adam Chouinard, an instructor in the Department of Integrative Biology, presented the award to Mason. The eminent zoologist has garnered many top honors for both his research and teaching. Mason received the 2017 F.A. Gilfillan Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Science, the Mortar Board Society’s “Top Professor” Award at Oregon State and has been a five-time nominee for the Loyd Carter Award for Teaching Excellence in Science.

Photos from the College of Science Teaching and Advising Awards, February 22, 2018.


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