Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Students cast votes for DU’s best professor

Nominations are being accepted for the William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award — given annually to a faculty or staff member for excellence in teaching or mentoring.

The award is named after William Driscoll, who came to the University in 1944 to teach zoology. He was an associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the time of his death in 1983. He’s also the namesake for the Driscoll Student Center.

Correspondence in Penrose Library archives indicate that he spent a great deal of time with students and working on the academic standards committee.

“Driscoll was very popular, interested in his student’s lives and in their well-being,” says John Nichols, Driscoll Center director and award program organizer. “This award is given in his honor, and is designed to recognize faculty and staff who are as committed to students as Driscoll was.”

Anyone may nominate a faculty or staff member, but all nominations made by anyone other than a student must have letters of support from students. Nominees are chosen based on:
•    involvement in University activities
•    appreciation of student exploration of ideas and expression of opinions
•    commitment to diversity at DU
•    investment in the personal and professional development of students
•    ability to serve as an exceptional role model to students and the University community

Nominations forms are available from Nichols by calling 303-871-3864 and are due by April 23. A committee of faculty, staff and past winners will review nominations. The winner will be announced at the Pioneer Awards Ceremony on May 15.

Mike Kerwin, assistant professor and director of the environmental science program in the Department of Geography, won the award last year.

“Winning the award was amazing because it was a total and complete surprise,” says Kerwin. “The best part was that it was student nominated. That alone makes it best teaching award that you can get.”

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