Campus News

Plant biologist wins Regents’ teaching, learning award

Marguerite (Peggy) Brickman  

Marguerite “Peggy” Brickman, an associate professor of plant biology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named winner of a 2007 Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Brickman is one of seven University System faculty members selected to receive the 2007 Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards and Scholarship of ­Teaching and Learning Awards.

“I’m so excited by the award because it is such a ringing endorsement for the type of position I have here at UGA as a tenure-track faculty member in a science department who is allowed to conduct research in the scholarship of teaching,” said Brickman. “I would never have done any of the research and outreach activities without the support of the college, the division and my department in accepting this type of position.”

The board of regents’ awards program recognizes and rewards both individual faculty members and academic programs. Recipients are selected from nominations submitted annually by the presidents of the University System. The awards honor outstanding teaching that significantly improves student achievement and shows a commitment to student-focused research and effective instruction. Each of the award winners will receive $5,000 and a certificate of achievement.

“Brickman is a driving force for the scholarship of teaching and learning at the University of Georgia, where her research and scholarship focus on new methods of teaching introductory biology,” said the regents in a news release. “Her published research on collaborative learning is nationally recognized and highly respected. She has received multiple teaching awards, among them the University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Teaching Award in 2006. Brickman also was named a National Academy of Sciences Education Fellow in 2004.”

Brickman earned her doctoral degree in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. After post-doctoral research positions at Agnes Scott College and UGA, she spent a year at Agnes Scott as a biology instructor before accepting a similar post at UGA in 1996. She became a lecturer at UGA in 1998, an assistant professor in 2001 and an associate professor this year.

“Teaching and research represent the key missions of the University System of Georgia,” said Lisa Rossbacher, the University System’s interim chief academic officer and executive vice chancellor. “These awards strengthen the commitment of USG faculty to student learning and achievement. We salute these outstanding faculty members and programs as models of excellence.”

This year, four USG faculty members and one program have been chosen to receive the Regents Award of Excellence in Teaching, while three faculty members have been tapped to receive the Regents Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

“Experiences such as collaborating with colleagues in the College of Education and attending meetings like the one sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute known as the National Academy Summer Institute for Biology Education lit a fire under me to make some serious changes in how I was teaching and to test these changes to see if they made a real difference in student learning,” said Brickman.

Other winners of the Awards for Excellence in Teaching are Marilyn Helm, Dalton State College; Mary Garner, Kennesaw State University; and Sharmistha Basu-Dutt of the University of West Georgia.

Winner of the program award for Excellence in Teaching is the professional sales degree program at Kennesaw State University.

Besides Brickman, other winners of the Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning are Deborah Vess of Georgia College and State University, and Laura Frost of Georgia Southern University.