The recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award came to Towson University about 7 years ago and in that time has proven to be an excellent teacher. However, her excellence in the classroom is complemented by her dedicated work to almost single-handedly develop both a new undergraduate program AND a new graduate program. The fact that both programs are currently thriving is a testament to her hard work.
In the first five years that she was here she developed eight new courses (three for the undergraduate program and five for the graduate program). In addition to teaching many of these courses herself, she was initially responsible for finding qualified adjunct faculty to teach the rest.
The awardee also is heavily involved with mentoring graduate students through semester-long research experiences required for the MS degree. In one academic year this can mean mentoring 15–20 graduate students working on independent research projects so they meet the requirements for graduation as dictated in part by the accreditation board.
Our recipient’s excellence in the classroom is supported by other measures as well. Student evaluations are very high as are the expectations for learning in her classroom. Quantitatively she averages around a 4.5 in her class evaluations, teaching classes ranging from lower level courses for non-majors up through upper level undergraduate electives and graduate courses. Qualitative comments from students indicate that the awardee “was the best teacher and she wanted everyone to do well; she is an Amazing teacher-always there to help; willing to put in the extra time to make sure everyone understands; and finally - she is so helpful, but so hard.”
The peer evaluations are superb and include comments such as from a colleague who indicated that she “fosters an open, interactive classroom and has an approach that is both rigorous and nurturing.” Her curriculum development was instrumental in the program obtaining accreditation for both the undergraduate and graduate programs—the only such accredited programs in the state of Maryland.
The awardee received her B.A. degree from Hood College with a double major in Biology and Chemistry and then her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy.
Please join me in offering congratulations to Dr. Cindy Zeller from the Department of Chemistry.
(As presented by Associate Dean Gail Gasparich at the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Forum on November 2, 2012.)
The Jess and Mildred Fisher
College of Science and Mathematics
Smith Hall, Room 312 (campus map)