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Beichner Wins UNC System Teaching Award

Dr. Robert J. Beichner, a innovator in physics education, received an Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

An educator from each campus wins the top teaching award, which comes with a prize of $7,500 and a bronze medallion.

Beichner focuses on increasing our understanding of student learning and improving physics education.  A faculty member since 1992, he is the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Physics and founding director of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative.

With support from the National Science Foundation and computer industry, Beichner developed the popular “video-based lab” approach for introductory physics laboratories. He launched a new approach to teaching called SCALE-UP, short for Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs. SCALE-UP, currently being adopted at more than 100 universities worldwide, is part of Beichner’s efforts to reform physics instruction.

Beichner earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a doctorate in science education from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Beichner was among eight nominees for the award. Nominees must be tenured professors who have spent at least seven years at the university and “demonstrated excellent or exceptional teaching ability over a sustained period of time.”

2009-10 College Nominees

  • Roger Clark, College of Design
  • David Hyman, College of Management
  • Hasan Jameel, College of Natural Resources
  • Jeffrey Joines, College of Textiles
  • Geraldine Luginbuhl, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Rupert Nacoste, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Philip Sannes, College of Veterinary Medicine