Monday, April 21, 2008
Amy Burkert and Paul Karol are this year’s winners of the Mellon College of Science’s awards for education
The 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.
Paul Karol, professor of chemistry, received The Richard Moore Award for his “substantial and sustained contributions to the educational mission of MCS.” Karol, who previously received the Julius Ashkin Award, has taught courses in physical, analytical and introductory chemistry, and he has developed and implemented several new courses in Chemistry as well as completely redesigning one of the department’s more traditional core courses, Introduction to Modern Chemistry. “Paul was probably one of the first faculty members on campus to fully convert to using the computer to present his lectures,” wrote Hyung Kim, head of Chemistry. Since that lecture more than 13 years ago, Karol has been at the forefront in exploring the most effective means to use technology to enhance learning, working closely with the Eberly Center to assess and improve the impact of technology on education, according to Kim. His leadership has extended far beyond the classroom to participating in the departmental curriculum review process, acting as associate dean for science and chair for the MCS curriculum committee. As Kim wrote, “Paul Karol has a passion for bringing students at all levels into the heart of chemistry and of science in general though innovative approaches and sustained dedication to education.” The Richard Moore Award recognizes faculty members who have made substantial and sustained contributions to the educational mission of the college, particularly faculty members whose educational contributions to the college have extended over a substantial portion of their academic careers.