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April 19, 2001

CAS teaching award winners announced

Four College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) faculty members were named winners of the 2001 Tina and David Bellet CAS Teaching Excellence Awards.

The annual teaching awards were established with a $200,000 donation from the Bellet family to recognize outstanding and innovative teaching in CAS.

This year's winners are: George C. Bandik, Department of Chemistry; Paul Kameen, Department of English; John C. Ramirez, Department of Computer Science, and Edward M. Stricker, Department of Neuroscience.

Each award recipient will receive a one-time cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 in support of his teaching.

The recipients will be honored at an awards dinner on April 21 at 6 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom.

Bandik has been a member of the Pitt faculty since 1988. His teaching responsibilities include undergraduate courses in chemistry for the health related professions. He also teaches Organic Chemistry I and II, Honors Organic Chemistry Laboratory and Writing in the Chemical Sciences.

A 1993 winner of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, Bandik frequently has been recognized for his contributions to the University's teaching and service missions, including his receipt of the 1998 Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence (post-secondary category).

In the chemistry department, Bandik serves as undergraduate coordinator and chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee, as well as faculty adviser to the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates group. Since 1996, he has been assistant dean and academic integrity officer in CAS.

Bandik also has been involved with pre-collegiate chemistry education through his work as organic chemistry coordinator for Pitt's College in High School Program and the Saturday Science Academy.

Kameen's undergraduate teaching responsibilities include a wide range of English composition courses, ranging from Basic Reading and Writing to Written Professional Communication, several creative writing courses, such as Introduction to Creative Writing and Introduction to Poetry, and a number of writing-designated literature courses and senior seminars.

As director of composition and as a co-instructor of the English department's Writing Seminar, Kameen has been a mentor both to graduate teaching assistants and non-tenure stream and part-time faculty members. In that capacity, he supervises and trains these colleagues to develop instructional expertise.

At the undergraduate level, he has served several terms as the director of the College Writing Board.

Kameen, who joined the Pitt faculty in 1981, is one of only two faculty members in the English department to have taught courses in three separate undergraduate programs.

Ramirez, who joined the Pitt faculty in 1992, teaches undergraduate computer science courses across a broad range, from introductory (Introduction to Computer Science), to intermediate (Introduction to Information Structures), to upper-level (Data Structures and Algorithms).

The computer science department has consistently recognized Ramirez for high-quality instruction by 12 times presenting him the departmental award for "the highest rating of overall teaching effectiveness," which is based on student evaluations.

In addition to classroom teaching, Ramirez contributes to the department as director of the undergraduate program, coordinator of undergraduate advising and faculty adviser to the student chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery.

In the area of community service, Ramirez serves as the computer science liaison to the College in High School Program and project associate and instructor for the Link-to-Learn Project funded by the State of Pennsylvania.

A 1992 recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, Stricker has been a member of the Pitt faculty since 1971. His undergraduate responsibilities include teaching Introduction to Neuroscience, Honors Introduction to Neuroscience, Homeostasis and Independent Study for departmental honors students.

Stricker who serves as department chair, is credited with the development of the neuroscience major at Pitt, one of the first in the country.

Stricker also has contributed to undergraduate education through his role in developing the NIMH-sponsored Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship in Mental Health Research and serving as a consultant to universities considering establishing an undergraduate neuroscience curriculum.

Despite his considerable research and administrative obligations, Stricker regularly teaches additional courses in his discipline.

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