Christine Pruis received CLAS Outstanding Lecturer Award
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences teaching awards have just been announced and our lecturer and organic chemistry lab coordinator Christine Pruis has received the Outstanding Lecturer Award.
The CLAS Quality of Instruction Committee considered many criteria including teachers who are regarded as inspiring academic excellence and those who stimulate students to become active participants in their own learning.
Pruis joined the department in 2004, fresh out of graduate school (Northwestern University, Illinois). Since then she has developed her own style and methodologies that have been very effective in teaching both courses in the general organic chemistry sequence, namely, CHM 233 (previously 331) and CHM 234 (previously 332). She has become expert in several technological innovations that engage the students while helping the instructor to monitor their progress. Overall, her students have been testing better (by between 8 to 12%) than the national average according to American Chemical Society benchmarks.
"Dr. Pruis has become a great asset to the department's organic chemistry instructional program. Her teaching has been exemplary and her coordination of the instructional organic chemistry labs has been outstanding. It is now hard to imagine what the program was like prior to her arrival," says Professor William Petuskey, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Christine is extremely passionate about organic chemistry and wants her students to feel the same way. " I try to do this by throwing in interesting examples, asking them challenging clicker questions, giving demonstrations, bringing in models, and using other multimedia. The lecture is never just me talking "at them" for 50 minutes," explains Pruis. "I have taught here for seven years (17 semesters including the summer) and yet NONE of my classes have ever been a "carbon copy" of a previous semester. This keeps my classes (and me) fresh and always improving!"
A past student, Eric Anderson, who is currently on a Fulbright Scholarship in The Netherlands and will enter Stanford Medical School this summer, says, "Dr. Pruis excelled in her teaching of my general organic chemistry lecture and laboratory courses in my freshman year, helping me, as well as many other students, to establish a strong work ethic and thorough understanding of basic chemical principles, which in many ways set me on track for a successful college career. I am very grateful for the superb education that Dr. Pruis provided to me, and I truly believe her support has played a significant role in my success."
Sidney Hecht received 2011 Faculty Achievement Award
Sidney Hecht, chemistry professor and director of the Center for BioEnergetics in the Biodesign Institute has been honored with a 2011 Faculty Achievement Award.
Hecht is a leader in drug design and development, and his current work has the potential of alleviating the suffering of people with mitochondrial dysfunction. People with this rare group of diseases number only in the tens of thousands worldwide, but their conditions are often debilitating and progressive. Currently patients with these afflictions are treated with huge doses of vitamins and antioxidants, but with little beneficial effect. One of the drugs Hecht developed for these diseases has recently completed Phase II clinical trials, and he is doing work on other products such as an antitumor agent.
"The drugs he currently has under development represent great strides in providing relief to patients," says Edward Skibo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "Professor Hecht is innovative and highly productive, with 394 published papers and 19 patents. He also has received numerous honors for his work, including an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship."
Nine outstanding ASU faculty members were honored with 2011 Faculty Achievement Awards. Seven were recognized for their defining edge research and creative activities, and two for their excellence in classroom performance.
The nine individuals, representing a wide range of disciplines, were honored at a reception April 13 at the ASU Art Museum. The awards were presented by President Michael Crow, with an introduction by Elizabeth D. Capaldi, executive vice president and provost, and the deans.
The awards are made for a specific contribution appearing in the last 10 years that meets the highest standards of the discipline or profession. The contributions significantly change their professions in research, creative activities and undergraduate instruction, placing the achievements among the highest at the university.
George Wolf rewarded for teaching excellence
The Associated Students of ASU have just announced their Centennial Professorship Awards for 2010 - 2011. Associate Professor George Wolf has received one of two awards which recognize and encourage exceptional faculty.
George has been a faculty member in the department of chemistry and biochemistry since 1986. He has routinely taught the most difficult courses an undergraduate or graduate student is likely to encounter: quantum mechanics and thermodynamics. "These courses require a working knowledge of chemistry, physics, and advanced calculus. They also require a professor who is highly knowledgeable of these fields and who also has near infinite patience and compassion for his students," says Edward Skibo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. "George is definitely that kind of professor." In addition to his outstanding performance in the classroom, George has recently been serving as a student mentor of a quite unusual, almost unique, variety. As a result of a sports (hang gliding) accident that he miraculously survived,George had for many years been tolerating a severe lower leg trauma which had become increasingly debilitating. He finally made the decision to have his leg amputated just below the knee. This was three years ago and it has proved a life-changing, positive, experience. However he had to learn first-hand how to master the challenges faced by injured soldiers, diabetics and other amputees.
Since then, he has been an active advocate for handicapped students. He can, at the same time, be an outstanding tutor and counsellor for students with academic concerns and a role model for students striving to overcome a major disability. Few ASU faculty can perform each of these roles.
When George learned that an ASU colleague, Professor Thomas Sugar, was working on a new prosthetic device known as SPARKy (Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics), he volunteered to help develop the device. An article in the State Press summed up George's intentions: " The work has a real possibility of advancing the field of prosthetics and helping amputees, like myself, live a fully normal and active lifestyle," Wolf said, adding that he decided to join the research so he can help others and give specialized information. "As a scientist and an amputee guinea pig I feel that I can give a unique perspective on what works and what doesn't," he said.