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News from the Hilltop

Nov. 14, 2013

BSC professor named state's 2013 professor of the year

Professor of Chemistry Dr. Laura Stultz

Washington, D.C.—Birmingham-Southern College Professor of Chemistry Dr. Laura Stultz has been named the 2013 Alabama Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the organizations announced Thursday. She was selected from more than 350 top professors in the United States.

Stultz, who has taught at BSC since 1997, is admired by students and faculty for her teaching, research, and commitment to service. Her courses in introductory and advanced chemistry avoid the traditional lecture, instead using hands-on exploration in the lab and deep discussion to guide students through challenges and model how science is done professionally. This spring, she was also given Birmingham-Southern's Professor of the Year award; she will be the college's Commencement speaker in 2014.

BSC Provost Dr. Mark Schantz praised Stultz for her commitment to the college's three priorities—teaching, service, and interdisciplinary research—and her "levelheadedness and keen intelligence."

"Laura has made landmark contributions to her students, to chemistry, and to Birmingham-Southern," Schantz said. "Her influence on her own department's curriculum has been nothing short of revolutionary. Her innovations represent the kind of revision needed in all introductory science laboratories."

In addition to her teaching, Stultz has served on every elected campus committee, served as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics for four years, and is currently co-chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee, BSC's equivalent of a faculty senate. And she has long involved students in her own cutting-edge research on the potential uses of metals as anti-cancer drugs. She was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Grant along with Biology Department colleague Dr. Pamela Hanson to involve students in real science; just last month, Stultz and Hanson hosted a workshop on collaborative undergraduate research with two dozen educators from around the region.

"This is such an honor," said Stultz, who was attending the Professor of the Year awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. "The work and teaching we do here at Birmingham-Southern is typical of all of our efforts to engage students."

Stultz received her B.A. in chemistry from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then did postdoctoral research and taught at Indiana University. She was selected from faculty members nominated by colleges and universities around the country and judged by the Carnegie Foundation and CASE. Alabama is one of 36 states that had a Professor of the Year recognized this year. CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have offered the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981, with additional support from Phi Beta Kappa and other organizations.

About Birmingham-Southern College:
Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Ala., founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls about 1,200 students from more than 30 states and 16 foreign countries. Learn more online at www.bsc.edu.

About Carnegie and CASE:
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.