Denver wins LSA Excellence in Education Award
Friday, June 01, 2012
Kudos to Professor Robert Denver who won the Excellence in Education Award from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The annual award recognizes outstanding teaching efforts and special contributions to undergraduate education by faculty. Denver is jointly appointed with the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
“Bob is not only one of the best classroom educators that we have in MCDB, but he has also played a leading role in developing and maintaining the biology curriculum,” wrote Pamela Raymond, Stephen S. Easter Collegiate Professor and chair, MCDB,and Matthew Chapman, associate professor and associate chair for undergraduate studies, MCDB, in their letter of nomination. “His influence can be felt at nearly every level of our educational mission.
“Bob is currently chair of the Neuroscience Steering Committee, which oversees one of the most rapidly growing and largest undergraduate concentrations in all of LSA, with over 450 concentrators. The neuroscience concentration is jointly offered by the Department of Psychology and MCDB. As leader of the steering committee, Bob has been instrumental in guiding a recent curricular revision and in developing improved administrative procedures to coordinate concentration advising between psychology and the Program in Biology. Bob has worked tirelessly and effectively over the past six months in consultation with faculty and staff in MCDB and psychology to accomplish these changes. In the short time he has been in charge, Bob’s guidance and inspiration have had a substantial and highly positive impact on the neuroscience concentration.
“At the present time, MCDB and the EEB have joint responsibility for educating over 600 biology concentrators per year, and Bob not only helped define the curriculum for these students, but he has also taught several of our most popular and rigorous biology classes.
“The guiding principles of Bob Denver’s teaching philosophy include a strong commitment to academic rigor and a dedication to help students achieve their educational goals. One class in particular is illustrative of his popularity and influence. Several years ago he developed an upper level specialty course that serves as an elective for several biology concentrations – MCDB 418 Endocrinology. Initially, this course was similar to other upper level courses in our curriculum, with a target enrollment of less than 50 students. However, because of its popularity, the enrollment in MCDB 418 has expanded significantly, and this course is now viewed as an essential component of the neuroscience curriculum. This is a testament to Bob’s ability to create a timely, dynamic, and highly popular class. He is very deserving of recognition for this and his many other exceptional educational achievements.”
“I am very pleased and honored to receive an Excellence in Education Award from the College of LSA,” said Denver. “My greatest pleasure as an academic has been the opportunity to interact with young people, and to make a difference in their lives. I think that the most important thing that a professor can give to his or her students is time, to listen, to explain, to inspire. It has been my great privilege to get to know and to teach our future scientists, physicians, leaders, and to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on their future.”
More than 300 faculty have been presented with the LSA Excellence in Education Award. Honorees receive $3,500. The award was instituted in 1991.
An advisory committee and the dean select the award recipients based on the following criteria: nominees should have made special contributions to the college’s educational mission. This award recognizes special efforts in the areas of classroom teaching, curricular innovation, and the supervision of student research, as well as other significant contributions to the quality of the college's teaching-learning environment.
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