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Eckerd Professors Laura Wetzel and Arthur Skinner Receive Special Faculty Awards

posted on 09/24/2013

On September 20, 2013, two members of the Eckerd College faculty were recognized at a special awards reception--Professor of Marine Science and Geosciences Laura R. Wetzel, Ph.D., was presented with the John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, and Professor of Visual Arts Arthur Skinner '72 received the Wrenn Award for Leadership and Service to General Education.

The following citations were presented to Professors Wetzel and Skinner:

The John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award
Established and endowed by Signe and Tom Oberhofer, the John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award is named in honor of the College's founding academic dean. The purpose of the award is to honor individual faculty members for nurturing a campus climate that fosters teaching at its best.

Eckerd Professor Laura Wetzel

For your leadership of the Natural Sciences Collegium, serving as the NAS Collegial Chair from 2008 to 2011, and for serving as model of the talented teacher–scholar throughout your tenure at the College;

For your leadership of the General Education Taskforce, whose work heavily informs the College's new general education curriculum;

For your leadership in developing the Geosciences major and serving as its first discipline coordinator;

For your pioneering leadership in creating the College's Science Symposium, to promote the public understanding of science and to engage faculty, students, and alumni in exciting presentations about science at Eckerd College;

For your role in the development of the College's Institutional Review Board, providing guidance to colleagues and students engaged in research involving human subjects;

For your role as a founding member of Eckerd's Phi Beta Kappa chapter and your service as the chapter's Secretary and Treasurer;

For your leadership in securing three important National Science Foundation grants for Eckerd College;

For your vision and leadership as building shepherd for the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences, helping the College reimagine and reinvigorate the teaching of science;

And for your ongoing creative and challenging teaching in the field of Marine Science,

Eckerd College presents The John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award to Laura Reiser Wetzel, Professor of Marine Science and Geosciences.

Laura R. Wetzel received a Ph.D. in Marine Geology and Geophysics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997. Professor Wetzel, whose primary research fields are earthquake seismology and educational assessment of quantitative literacy teaching materials, served as the "building shepherd" for Eckerd's new James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences which opened in January 2013. She received the Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award in 2007.

Wrenn Award for Leadership and Service to General Education
The Wrenn Award for Leadership and Service to General Education is named in honor of founding alumnus and longtime Trustee Grover C. Wrenn '64. The Wrenn Award is presented to a faculty member who appreciates the enduring works of civilization and the value of their study to the development of the whole person; perpetuates a strong interdisciplinary general education curriculum in the liberal arts tradition and focused on value questions; and espouses the principle of Founding Dean Jack Bevan who said the College's curriculum was designed and executed so as to provide for "the engenderment of a wholesome and critical enthusiasm for inquiry and reflection that will extend beyond the period of formal education."

EC Prof. Arthur Skinner with Bradley Ennis '10Photographer Bradley Ennis '10 and Professor of Visual Arts Arthur Skinner '72

For your leadership in placing the visual arts at the heart of the College's core courses for more than 25 years, inviting class after class of students to discover the pleasures of learning about art;

For sharing with your students and colleagues, year after year, the wonder of the Lascaux caves, the particular beauty of light in an Impressionist landscape, the passion of St. Theresa in sacred ecstasy, the astonishing engineering of the Cathedral at Chartres, the political force of Picasso's Guernica, and the shock of a crucifix in a glass;

For teaching us how to see the richness in works of art by encouraging us to linger over the details and explore the techniques, artistic effects, and social and historical contexts;

For teaching us how to discuss art with our students, enhancing our powers of appreciation and ways of seeing and giving us the language and the questions for fruitful contemplation;

For bringing to us, in St. Petersburg, Florida, artistic images that bridge time and cultures, thereby guiding us toward an appreciation for the practices, craftsmanship, and interests of artists from other times and places, and an awareness of the social, political, aesthetic and spiritual dimensions of artistic works and performances;

For your annual reminder of William Morris's sage advice, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,"

Eckerd College presents the Wrenn Award for Leadership and Service to General Education to Arthur Skinner, Professor of Visual Arts.

Arthur Skinner is a printmaker, discipline coordinator and gallery director. A 1972 graduate of Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd), he received a Master's degree in Visual Arts from Georgia State University. As Professor of Visual Arts, Professor Skinner has taught courses in printmaking, drawing and photography at Eckerd since 1976. He received the Robert A. Staub Distinguished Teacher Award in 1993 and the John M. Bevan Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in 2001. 

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