2008 News Articles-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

The Julius Ashkin Award for Excellence in Teaching Awarded to Dr. Amy Burkert

April 16, 2008

Amy Pavlak

The Julius Ashkin Award for Excellence in Teaching Awarded to Dr. Amy BurkertThe Julius Ashkin Award for Excellence in Teaching has been awarded to Amy Burkert, associate department head for undergraduate affairs, Biological Sciences, and director of the Health Professions Program. Dozens of supporting letters from students, alumni, and faculty colleagues describe Burkert as dynamic, tireless, devoted and insightful. Burkert has taught numerous courses over the past 13 years, developed and co-taught EUREKA!, an MCS first-year seminar and an interdisciplinary laboratory, and recently created a new global science course entitled Biotechnology Impacting Ourselves, Society and Sphere. As a lecturer, she is “always prepared, enthusiastic and well-organized,” but, as many of Burkert’s students and colleagues noted, her work in the classroom is not the only way in which she teaches her students. As her colleagues pointed out in their nomination letter, “Amy’s role as an advisor is legendary. She uses advising as teaching and has had a profound impact on hundreds of students.” Her students couldn’t agree more. “Many times, Dr. Burkert performed roles beyond those of a professor or academic advisor: she was my surrogate mother, sincere teacher, and a role model for women in science,” wrote a former student. As director of the Health Professions Program, Burkert “devotes incredible energy to fathoming each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and then provides both guidance and opportunities for growth to each student so that their potential can be realized,” wrote Chemical Engineering Professor Michael Domach.

The Julius Ashkin Award is presented to a faculty member who has shown unusual devotion and effectiveness in teaching undergraduate students.