William Brown Receives the 2004 Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, April 12, 2004

William Brown Receives the 2004 Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education

William Brown, Professor of Biological Sciences, has received the 2004 Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education, the University’s highest education award. The award was presented on April 13.

“Education, in all of its forms, is not a job or a duty for Bill Brown, it is a passion – a passion he has instilled in many and his work is a model for us all to aspire toward,” wrote Amy Burkert, associate head for undergraduate affairs for the Department of Biological Sciences, in a letter supporting Brown’s nomination.

“As I tried to think of all of the students, teachers, individuals and institutions Bill’s work has impacted, even an estimated number is staggering and impressive,” added Burkert, one of Brown’s former graduate students who continues to work closely with him to enhance the student experience in the courses she oversees. “None of us could ever measure the true impact of all that Bill has done.”

Brown joined the MCS faculty in 1973 and has taught numerous courses, developed curricular programs and fostered community outreach in science education. Among his many innovative curricular contributions, Brown conceived the Bachelor of Science and Arts degree program and was instrumental in creating the unified, interdisciplinary major in Biological Sciences and Psychology. He serves on the executive board of the Science and Humanities Scholars program and currently is on the committee developing an M.S. degree program in Biotechnology Management that will be launched jointly by MCS, the Tepper School and the Heinz School in fall of 2004.

Brown, who earned MCS’ Julius Ashkin Award for Teaching Excellence in 1986 and the Richard Moore Education Award in 2002, is also a leader in science education outreach. In 1980, Brown helped to establish the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences. He also has worked with area secondary school teachers and is an active supporter of the Science Education Partnership Award, a teacher training program for which he helped raise more than $1 million in resources. He has regularly judged science fairs, led discussions with high school students, served as a public school science and technology advisor and invited students into his lab to conduct research projects.

"He is a wonderful teacher, deeply concerned with the learning and development of students. From the beginning of his teaching career, he has been committed to conveying his enthusiasm for science to them," according to a nomination letter submitted by Professors Elizabeth Jones, Charles Ettensohn and John Woolford. “He is deserving of this award ten times over.”

The Robert E. Doherty Award is given annually to a member of the university community in recognition of contributions to the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs at all levels, and to the creation and maintenance of an environment that fosters excellence in education.

By: Amy Pavlak