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MUW names top faculty


Special to the Dispatch



Dr. Bonnie Oppenheimer, professor of mathematics, was named Faculty Member of the Year at Mississippi University for Women on Saturday. 


"The Faculty Member of the Year Award, which includes a check in the amount of $1,000, is an honor bestowed upon the faculty member of MUW which, above all, values quality teaching," said Dr. Sandra Jordan, MUW provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The individual selected is truly a symbol of MUW''s highly regarded faculty." 


MUW''s Mortar Board Honor Society and Alumni Association co-sponsor the award. Nominations were accepted from students, and the faculty member with the most votes was selected for this honor.  


Oppenheimer has taught at MUW since 1998. In 2007, she was selected as the Woman of Achievement by the American Association of University Women in Mississippi. 


The AAUW Columbus branch nominated her for this honor based on her commitment to women''s equity, commitment to education, contributions to society and contributions to AAUW priorities. 


She has been concerned with women''s equity in education since 1979, when she did her master''s thesis at the University of Chicago on sex-role stereotyping in mathematics textbooks. 


Jordan added, "She is a talented teacher, widely published and has an excellent record of campus service." 




Kerzel receives Kossen Faculty Excellence Award 


Dr. Dorothy Kerzel, chair of the Department of Sciences and Mathematics at MUW, was given the Kossen Faculty Excellence Award at commencement on Saturday. 


The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the role of faculty as the heart of the university. It was established in 2004 by Connie Kossen, a 1964 alumna of MUW, and her husband Tom. 


Criterion for the award is based on three fundamentals: excellence in teaching, excellence in scholarly or artistic achievement and excellence in service, preferably both on campus and in communities throughout MUW''s service area. Further, to be considered for this award, a faculty member must exhibit a commitment to student success in each of these three areas of responsibility. 


Kerzel has been employed at MUW for 12 years. 


"Her leadership as a department chair has been exemplary. Not only does she provide careful mentorship for new faculty, but she leads by example. She also is active in the area of campus service and is the principal investigator for two congressionally-funded grants for science education programs," said Jordan. "Dr. Kerzel is not only active on our campus, she takes her passion for mathematics and the sciences to the community by volunteering her time to tutor high school students and by helping to organize MUW''s Sonia Kovalevsky High School Mathematics Day and the Mississippi Regional Science Bowl for high school science teams." 


Jordan added that Kerzel''s commitment to students is legendary. 


"She is an excellent teacher who consistently receives superb student course evaluations. Despite the fact that she has time-consuming administrative responsibilities, Dr. Kerzel always puts her students first through her work as a caring and inspirational teacher and as a dedicated student advisor and mentor." 


Kerzel also was praised for leading a team of mathematics faculty to consider alternative ways to reinforce the mastery of mathematics skills through greater student engagement in the classroom and more meaningful interactions between the faculty member and the student.  


"This willingness to re-imagine and redesign the delivery of the curriculum is representative of her dedication to student learning. It is the kind of passion that leads to greater opportunities for all our students to maximize their potential and reach their educational goals," Jordan said.




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