Biology Professor Honored With Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award

  • News Photo 4032
    (L to R) - Dr. Randall O'Brien, executive vice president and provost; Dr. Ann E. Rushing, professor of biology and recipient of the 2007 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award; and Dr. James Bennighof, vice provost for academic affairs and policy.
  • News Photo 4030
    Ann E. Rushing
April 11, 2007

by Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275

Baylor University honored Dr. Ann E. Rushing, professor and associate chair of biology, with the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award, presented during the annual Honors Convocation April 11 in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

"It's an honor, and it's very humbling," Rushing said. "I am honored to be recognized for my career and the things I've been able to accomplish."

The annual award is presented to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor. As this year's recipient, Rushing will receive $20,000 and will present a public lecture on an academic topic of her choosing during the coming fall semester. The criteria for the award includes:
teaching, which is judged to be of the highest order of intellectual acumen and pedagogical effectiveness,
research, which is recognized as outstanding by the national and international, as well as local, community of scholars,
service, which is regarded as exemplary in building the character of intellectual community at Baylor.

"All of those aspects of my career have been important to me, but the students are my No. 1 priority," Rushing said.

"I'm delighted that Dr. Rushing's colleagues have chosen her for this recognition," said Dr. James Bennighof, vice provost for academic affairs and policy. "Her contributions to learning at Baylor include not only teaching and mentoring students at all levels and pursuing her own independent research agenda, but also devising innovative ways of combining teaching and research that open exciting new opportunities to students."

Rushing earned her bachelor's degree in botany magna cum laude from Duke University in 1975, a master's degree in biology from the University of Cincinnati in 1978, and her doctorate in botany from Texas A&M University in 1982. She has taught at Baylor in the department of biology and Institute of Biomedical Studies since 1989.

Before joining Baylor, Rushing conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Illinois and was a research associate at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and at Auburn University, where she studied electron microscopy and taught for a year in the general biology program.

Currently, Rushing teaches several undergraduate courses, including general biology for majors and non-majors, an undergraduate biology seminar, electron microscopy and plant anatomy, and helped develop and teach the Natural World sequence of integrated, interdisciplinary science courses for the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). She also serves as director of the departmental electron microscope facility and supervises undergraduate and graduate research projects that use electron microscopy. She is active in research with interests that include the ultrastructure and development of plants, particularly bryophytes; comparative sporogenesis, spermatogenesis, and sperm morphology in bryophytes; and systematics of plants. Her research has been published in numerous scholarly publications and journals, and she has presented her findings at conferences and meetings around the country.

In addition to this latest award, Rushing has been named an outstanding professor by the Mortar Board Circle of Achievement (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001), and received the Baylor Young Investigator Award from the Graduate School in 1995, and a Faculty Research Award ($50,000+ Club) by the Graduate School in 1996. In 2004, the National Tropical Botanical Garden presented her with the prestigious Kenan Fellowship for College Professors.

At Baylor, Rushing directs the department of biology summer undergraduate research program; has served as a faculty sponsor for Beta Beta Beta Biological Sciences Honor Society; has been involved with the Central Texas Regional Science Fair since 1990 as a judge, fair display and safety coordinator, and board member; and has participated in the "Invitation to Leadership" for outstanding high school students. She has served as a member of the University Science Building Committee (1998), University Athletic Council from 2000-05, University Lectures Committee from 2002-04, and University National and International Scholarships Committee from 2002 to present. She also has served on the College of Arts and Sciences committee to select nominations for outstanding professors and on the biology department chair search committee.

Rushing is a member of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society, Botanical Society of America, Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, Texas Society for Microscopy (past president) and the Texas Academy of Science. In addition, she was selected to the Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, Phi Sigma biological sciences honor society, Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honor society and Sigma Xi scientific research society. She is active in the community with the Waco Phi Mu alumni Phi Mu Alum organization, China Spring United Methodist Church, Hidden Angels and Bosqueville 4-H Club.

A 1918 Baylor biology graduate, Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins. She was a Baylor professor of biology from 1940-67, chair of the biology department from 1943-67, and director of Strecker Museum from 1943-67. Smith retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith with an endowed chair known as the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professorship in Biology. She passed away Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr. D. Thomas Hanks Jr., professor of English and Master Teacher; Dr. Robert M. Baird, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher; and Dr. Kevin G. Pinney, professor of chemistry.

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