Baylor University Welcomes Second Cherry Award Finalist for Lecture

Oct. 21, 2011

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Dr. Heather Macdonald, Chancellor Professor of Geology at the College of William and Mary, will present "Behind the Scenes: From Strong Geoscience Courses to an Energized Community" at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in Room D109 of the Baylor Sciences Building on the Baylor University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Macdonald is one of three finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The program is designed to recognize exceptional teachers and emphasize the value of teaching. Each finalist receives $15,000, as well as $10,000 for their home department, and is invited to present a lecture at Baylor and their home campus. The winner of the award, announced in the spring, will receive $250,000 and the opportunity to teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2012 or spring 2013. The winner's home department will receive an additional $25,000 to foster the development of teaching skills.

After receiving her bachelor's degree from Carleton College in North Field, Minn., in 1976, Macdonald earned her master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin. Since 1983, she has been on the geology faculty at William and Mary. Her research interests include geoscience education, carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy.

In 2002, Macdonald co-founded On the Cutting Edge, a professional development program for geoscience faculty. She also works with Building Strong Geoscience Departments, a project focused on helping geoscience departments adapt to changing times, as well as Geoscience in Two-Year Colleges, the Noyce Scholars Program and the Teaching for a Competitive Tomorrow Teaching Fellows Program.

She has been honored a number of times for teaching, including the 2009 Neil Miner Award, presented by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers each year for exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences. She also has received the 2003 State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Award, the 1992 Biggs Earth Science Teaching Award, the 1990 Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award from William and Mary, the 1989 William and Mary Alumni Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching and the 1979 Stanley A. Tyler Ward for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Wisconsin.

MacDonald is the second of the 2012 Cherry Award finalists to speak at Baylor this fall. Other finalists include Dr. Allen Matusow, W.G. Twyman Professor of History at Rice University, and Dr. Brian Coppola, The Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of chemistry at the University of Michigan. Matusow presented his lecture "Did Reagan Win the Cold War?" on Oct. 3.

Coppola will present "The Liberal Art of Chemistry: Stories about Human Nature" at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Room D109 of the Baylor Sciences Building.

About Robert Foster Cherry

The Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his bachelor's degree from Baylor University in 1929. He enrolled at the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Exam the following year. With an appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor University students. The first Robert Foster Cherry Award was awarded in 1991.

Recipients of the award are chosen by the Cherry Award Committee, composed of leading academics from across the Baylor campus. Their intent is to continue to build the prominence of the Cherry Award as the most significant honor for an individual who has a proven record for extraordinary teaching.

For more information, contact the Robert Foster Cherry Award Committee at (254) 710-2923.

by Katy McDowall, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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