|2010 Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award to Associate Professor of Chemistry Durwin Striplin
May 17, 2010
Since arriving on campus, this teacher has inspired majors and non-majors alike. In addition, his signature inspiration has reached beyond campus boundaries through the professor's presentations to community members of all ages. The educator we honor today has a well-known zeal for life that is shared with the world through a nearly permanent smile.
One nominator captured how contagious this zest is by stating, "My professor instills in students a passion for the material taught, and inspiration to live a lifestyle of joy, respect, and compassion." This professor's holistic teaching, "is a wonderful model of how we should treat people with care, respect and love."
An alumnus with a Ph.D. in the same field wrote, "My professor is, without a doubt, the best I had in either my undergraduate or graduate school career. He teaches by offering himself as a guide to learning, leading you to find the answer yourself so that you feel a great sense of achievement in the product. Now I use his teaching methods in my own teaching."
A student wrote, "Stop by his office almost any day of the week and you will see the line of students outside waiting to get help long after office hours are over. Once inside his office though, you never feel rushed, and he patiently asks you, ‘Does that make sense?' until suddenly the light bulb comes on and you see the material from a new point of view. With him, I learned more than I ever had in such a small amount of time . . . and however hard I was working, I knew he was working harder."
"In my junior year," wrote one alumna, "he taught a class that is seen by majors as a rite-of-passage, an extremely difficult, merciless class that majors are required to take. I have never heard of any student on any campus who enjoyed this course, but this professor made it not only bearable, but also enjoyable while maintaining the rigor Davidson students expect."
A former student said, "I first met him in an English course where he told a story. He spoke of the people involved, and when he came to the ‘mathy part,' he spoke in analogy. He explained the uncertainty principle as visiting an elf tea party - by the time you squeezed yourself inside the elf-house and knocked over all the lamps, stepped on feet, and scalded guests with their own tea, you don't have a good picture of what an elf tea party actually looks like."
A former research protégée recalled, "He gave me a lot of independence in my research and at the same time offered me a nurturing environment in which to grow as a scientist." Another student wrote from graduate school, "I was unprepared for his class but he recognized my ability, buried under layers of shyness and insecurity, and spurred me to ‘work my tail off.' When I failed to find a study-buddy for his class, he said,
‘Well then, I'm your study-buddy!' My experience with him completely altered my personal definition of the word ‘teacher'."
This 2010 recipient of the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award "encourages his students to cultivate their creativity and embrace their individuality, as he gives them support for their endeavors in all facets of life." As one student exclaimed, "Who else could make me blab excitedly to my mother about how much I enjoyed quantum mechanics?"
For your unselfish dedication to your students and to chemistry, and for your love of teaching, we congratulate you, Professor Durwin Striplin.