2021 Teaching and Advising Awards

Sept. 13, 2021

Every year the College of Science recognizes outstanding faculty and advisors for their noteworthy participation in representing and contributing to the teaching and advising mission of the University. There are seven award categories to recognize these outstanding individuals. This year we are happy to announce that we have six winners for these distinguished awards.

Martha Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Neuroscience

Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award

Martha Bhattacharya

Martha Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Neuroscience, is the recipient of the Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award.  This award is given in recognition of outstanding classroom teaching, for less than 10 years, at the undergraduate or graduate levels. “Dr. Bhattacharya designed two new courses for the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NSCS) undergraduate program, entitled ‘How to Build a Brain’ (NSCS 440) and ‘Brain Communication VIP/CURE’ (NSCS 392). NSCS 440 is specifically designed to develop critical thinking skills. Right away, the course received teaching effectiveness ratings equal to the most experienced educators in our department and the College of Science. Students regard the course as “the one” that taught them to critically evaluate the scientific literature. NSCS 392 is the first vertically integrated project (VIP) course in the College Science and uses a transformative approach engaging undergraduate and graduate students in ambitious, long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams. I believe that Martha is an exceptional educator and exemplifies the absolute best of what an academician should be. Her passion educating scientifically literate graduates is unrivaled and most inspiring to her students. Without a doubt, Martha is a rising star in undergraduate science education. Obtaining the Distinguished Early-Career Teaching Award will be a well-deserved honor for Martha, who is an inspiration to students and faculty alike.” (Konrad Zinsmaier, PhD, Professor and Interim Department Head, Neuroscience)

Hamish Christie, Associate Professor of Practice, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Distinguished Career Teaching Award

Hamish Christie

The Distinguished Career Teaching Award is given in recognition of a long career as an outstanding classroom teacher and mentor of students at different levels and in diverse settings. The 2021 award goes to Hamish Christie, Associate Professor of Practice, Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Perhaps Dr. Christie’s crowning achievement in curricular development has been his design of CHEM 545, a highly innovative laboratory course for graduate students, and possibly the most unique in the country. The graduate students’ experience in this course is so highly valued, that they seek out Dr. Christie’s advice on experimental set-up and laboratory techniques throughout their graduate careers, long after their time in CHEM 545 has ended. Hamish is an extraordinary educator with enormous impact on our teaching mission, and his activities truly represent a sustained and distinguished career in teaching.” (Craig Aspinwall, PhD, Professor and Department, Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Christine Gronowski, Academic Advisor II

Distinguished Academic Advising Award

Christine Gronowski

The Distinguished Academic Advising Award goes to Christine Gronowski, Academic Advisor II, Chemistry and Biochemistry. This award is given by the College of Science to recognize one advisor from the college who demonstrates outstanding, extensive, and continuous involvement in undergraduate advising.  “She singlehandedly reached out and connected with chemists and biochemists in industry and academia to invite them to talk to students about their career paths and experiences working in their field. These seminars are extremely beneficial as they provide information on career options as well as create potential networking opportunities. She also helped several students who were unable to find research laboratories due to pandemic social distancing restrictions. Christine took the initiative to reach out to the biochemistry program faculty and the departmental leadership to identify a range of learning opportunities with clear research components, that could be used to substitute for the undergraduate research experience. Without her proactive and creative leadership in this area, it is highly likely that anywhere from a few to a few dozen students would have been unable to complete their theses and graduate on time. Christine is an extremely dedicated advisor who has significantly grown our student success initiatives and has directly impacted the lives of many students who look to her for guidance and support.” (Craig Aspinwall, PhD, Professor and Department, Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Tori Hidalgo, Assistant Professor of Practice, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Innovation in Teaching Award

Tori Hidalgo

Lani “Tori” Hidalgo, Assistant Professor of Practice, Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been chosen to receive the Innovation in Teaching Award. This award is in recognition of outstanding educational innovation developed and applied to course delivery whether in the classroom or in a virtual setting. “While many faculty members were struggling to convert classes to remote modalities and connect with their students, Dr. Hidalgo and Team Hidalgo were thriving, and her students were as well. Her multi-faceted approach to teaching considers evidence-based learning strategies, such as flipped classrooms, and brilliantly combines them with real-time formative assessments of the learning experience such that the teaching team collaborates with the instructor in delivering the most effective learning experience possible for the students currently in the classroom, not just an amorphous population of generic undergraduates. It is obvious to me, my colleagues, and her students, that Dr. Tori Hidalgo is an extraordinary educator with enormous impact on our teaching mission, and her activities represent an outstanding educational innovation for the classroom delivery of general chemistry.” (Craig Aspinwall, PhD, Professor and Department Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Stephen Kobourov, Professor, Computer Science

Distinguished Student Mentoring Award

Stephen Kobourov

This year, Dean Garzione established a new award category to recognize faculty who have excelled in mentoring students. We are proud to announce the first recipient of the Distinguished Student Mentoring Award, Professor Stephen Kobourov in the Department of Computer Science. “Probably the best attribute of Stephen’s advising is outcomes.  Stephen is regularly placing our undergraduates in top-10 Ph.D. programs. For example, Ben Jacbosen, this year’s recipient of the College of Science Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award, is attending Wisconsin’s Ph.D. program this Fall. Other students have attended Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Washington, and Cambridge. In addition, Stephen’s previous undergraduate who won the College-level award is Daniel Fried, who is graduating from Berkeley with his Ph.D. this summer and will be an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon. In summary, Stephen has an uncanny ability to take undergraduates and transform them from the classroom to the research lab in incredibly short order.” (David Lowenthal, PhD, Professor and Interim Department Head, Computer Science)

Roger Miesfeld, Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award

Roger Miesfeld

Roger Miesfeld, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been chosen to receive the 2021 Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award. This award is in recognition of outstanding contributions directed toward systematic improvement of science and mathematics education beyond the classroom. This includes scholarly works that contribute to improving teaching and learning. “Dr. Miesfeld has played a key role in broadening the educational footprint of the university through his role as the Associate Dean of UA Global, as well as his leadership in the Higher Learning Commission accreditation efforts. The development of [the first online biochemistry] courses significantly impacted CBC and COS by providing a model for the future of online course development and a partnership with AZ Online that continues to support and encourage innovation in online course development and delivery that is at the frontier of curricular advances and UArizona and nationally. Roger is an extraordinary educator with enormous impact on our teaching mission, and his authorship of “Biochemistry” and the widespread national adoption of this textbook and national and global impact of his online courses represents an outstanding achievement in science education that is the culmination of decades of dedicated efforts at UArizona. He is an immensely deserving nominee for the 2021 College of Science Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award.” (Craig Aspinwall, PhD, Professor and Department Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry)

The College of Science is proud of the accomplishments of the 2021 Teaching and Advising Award winners, Martha Bhattacharya, Hamish Christie, Christine Gronowski, Tori Hidalgo, Stephen Kobourov, and Roger Miesfeld. We celebrate their dedication to educating our students and perfecting their craft of teaching and advising. Congratulations!