Biological science teaching professor receives 2015 Distinguished Teacher Award

Patricia Spears Terebelski, a
teaching professor in the
Department of Biological

Patricia Spears Terebelski received Florida State University’s 2015 Distinguished Teacher Award during the annual Faculty Awards Dinner on April 27.

The Distinguished Teacher Award, which is the university’s top award for teaching, includes a $7,500 stipend.

Terebelski, a teaching professor in the Department of Biological Science within the College of Arts and Sciences, works to help students master necessary concepts and become better learners.

“My desire, however, is not for students to simply grasp concepts, but for them to cultivate a heightened sense of personal responsibility and engagement — even enjoyment — with respect to their learning,” Terebelski said.

“If I am successful, then my students leave with much more than objective knowledge,” she said. “Hopefully they also leave with enhanced critical-thinking skills and a mindset that will serve them well in their future studies and careers.”

Don Levitan, chair of the Department of Biological Science, praised Terebelski for her long history of excellent service to the department as a researcher and dedicated teacher.

“Trish puts remarkable effort and energy into her classroom instruction, and the students overwhelmingly comment on her dedication to teaching excellence and concern for student welfare,” Levitan said. “In addition to her role in teaching, Trish has developed new courses and contributed greatly to our curriculum. We are proud of her accomplishments and she is most deserving of this distinguished award.”

Terebelski joined Florida State’s faculty in 1990 as an associate scholar/scientist in the Department of Biological Science. She was promoted to associate in biological science in 2007 and to research associate in biological science in 2012, serving as an instructor and coordinator of introductory biology lecture courses. In 2013, she was promoted to the department’s teaching faculty, level 3.

Terebelski received an Undergraduate Teaching Award from Florida State in 2014. In 2013, she received the Service Excellence Award from Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. In 2012, she was named among the Princeton Review’s “300 Best Professors.”

A two-time alumna of Florida State, Terebelski earned a doctorate in biological sciences in 1998 and a Master of Science degree in biological sciences in 1989. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the State University of New York, College at Brockport, in 1980.

Other outstanding FSU faculty members were recognized in other categories during the Faculty Awards Dinner.

ROBERT O. LAWTON DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AWARD : This award is the highest faculty honor at Florida State. The 2015-2016 recipient is Max Gunzburger, a computational scientist, mathematician and the university’s Francis Eppes Professor of Mathematics.

RALPH STAIR PRIZE FOR INNOVATION IN EDUCATION: This prize, awarded biennially, honors an individual or collaborative team at Florida State that has developed innovative educational approaches with the potential of having the greatest impact around the world. The prize was awarded to Machelle Denine Madsen Thompson (Social Work).

DISTINGUISHED RESEARCH PROFESSOR AWARD : A select panel of current Distinguished Research Professors vets the nominations, submitted by faculty peers, for presentation to the university president. Each recipient will receive a one-time award of $10,000, along with a framed certificate. The award was presented to David Gilbert (Biological Science) and Alan Spector (Psychology).

DISTINGUISHED UNIVERSITY SCHOLAR AWARD : Recognizes outstanding performance by Florida State employees who are non-tenured or non-tenure-seeking, have longstanding track records of research and/or creative activity at the university, and occupy more senior levels in their respective positions. Examples of such positions include the titles of curator, scholar/scientist or research associate. This year’s recipient will receive a one-time award of $10,000 and a framed certificate. The award was presented to Ke Han (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory).

DEVELOPING SCHOLAR AWARD : Recognizes mid-career associate professors who have been singled out by their peers. Each receives $10,000 to be used in their research program, following specific guidelines, along with a framed certificate. The award was presented to Jeanne Wanzek (Florida Center for Reading Research), Kenneth Knappenberger (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Michael Roper (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Marcia Mardis (School of Information) and Yiyuan She (Statistics).

GRADUATE FACULTY MENTOR AWARD : Recognizes faculty mentors whose dedication to graduate students and mentoring have made a significant contribution to the quality of life and professional development of graduate students. The honor comes with $3,000. The award was presented to Anne Barrett (Sociology), John Geringer (Music Education), Michael Shatruk (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Valerie Shute (Educational Psychology and Learning Systems) and Anuj Srivastava (Statistics).

HONORS THESIS MENTOR AWARD : Recognizes faculty members whose direction and advisement of honors thesis research or creative activity has significantly contributed to the enhancement and quality of education of undergraduate students. Faculty members are nominated by students in the Honors in the Major program for this award. It comes with a $2,000 stipend. The award was presented to Richard L. Hyson (Psychology and Neuroscience) and Brian P. Chadwick (Biological Science).

GRADUATE TEACHING AWARD : Recognizes faculty for excellence in graduate teaching. Recipients must make outstanding contributions to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. The award was presented to Shawn Bayern (Law), Henry Fuelberg (Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences), Wayne Logan (Law), Thomas Miller (Biological Science), Deana Rohlinger (Sociology), Nat Stern (Law), Miles Taylor (Sociology) and Kaifeng Yang (Askew School of Public Administration and Policy).

UNDERGRADUATE ADVISING AWARD : Recognizes employees who have dedicated their time to ensuring that students receive the best possible advice related to courses and career choices. Recipients, who were nominated by the students who benefitted from their services, receive $2,000. The award was presented to Samantha Spiers (Social Work).

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH MENTOR AWARD: The Undergraduate Research Mentor Award recognizes faculty commitment to undergraduate research. Recipients, nominated by students, demonstrate a substantive and long-term involvement in undergraduate research. One award is reserved for faculty participating in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). Winners receive a $2,000 stipend funded by the FSU Student Foundation. The award was presented to Charles Upchurch (History).

UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING AWARD : Recognizes faculty members for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Recipients must be outstanding in the many aspects of teaching that contribute to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. The award was presented to Billy Close (Criminology and Criminal Justice), Jonathan Dennis (Biological Science), Emily DuVal (Biological Science), Leigh Edwards (English), Xujun Feng (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Kenan Fishburne (Interior Design), Jonathan Grant (History), Lydia Hanks (Dedman School of Hospitality Administration), Robinson Herrera (History), Orenda Johnson (Psychology), Aline Kalbian (Religion), Raphael Kampmann (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Kaitlin Lansford (School of Communication Science and Disorders), Irene Padavic (Sociology), Jeff Paterson (Accounting), Steven Ramsier (Statistics) and Kathryn Tillman (Sociology).