Four Virginia Tech faculty with the College of Science and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences have received the 2016 Dr. Carroll B. Shannon Excellence in Teaching Award.
The awards were presented to: Anne Ryan Driscoll, an assistant professor of practice in the Department of Statistics; Michel Pleimling, a professor with the Department of Physics and director of the Academy of Integrated Science; and Gordon Yee, an associate professor with the Department of Chemistry, all in the College of Science; and Marian Mollin, an associate professor in the Department of History, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
The award is made possible by an endowment established by Peter and Carroll Shannon, of Wilmington, Delaware, and is given annually to College of Science and College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences faculty members who demonstrate outstanding teaching skills, innovative methods, and dedication to learning. The colleges once formed the College of Arts and Sciences, which split in 2002.
“Virginia Tech gave me the opportunity to become someone who I would never have become if it had not been for the university,” said Peter Shannon, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 1969 with a general science degree and who named the award in honor of his wife, Carroll, an educator for her entire career.
“Outstanding teachers have the opportunity to be change agents in the lives of students. They inspire a love of learning, encourage students to reach their potential and discover their career path,” said Carroll Shannon, who worked in education for the state of Delaware. “Most importantly, they guide students in becoming contributing members of society who will impact positively the lives of others.”
Since joining Virginia Tech’s faculty in 2011, Driscoll has taught eight courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the Department of Statistics. She also has collaborated on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense and with NASA, and she chairs the department’s corporate partners program, which is a cooperative outreach venture that links the department with 11 different companies.
Of Driscoll’s nomination, the college committee said, “The committee was particularly impressed with the strength of your teaching’s impact on your students and their careers.” Her research focuses on statistical process control, health care surveillance, and industrial statistics.
She earned dual bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from Emory & Henry College in 2006, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees in statistics from Virginia Tech in, respectively, 2007 and 2011. Her awards won at Virginia Tech include the Jesse C. Arnold Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2010-2011, and the Rose Costain Award for Outstanding Departmental Citizenship, 2010.
A recipient of the university’s 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, Mollin is known for versatility in teaching. Guiding her approach is an instinct for engagement – and a highly tuned boredom barometer. “If I’m not interested in the material, why would my students be?” she asks.
A Department of History member faculty since 2000, Mollin is known for her dedication to fostering a sense of belonging among students and her encouragement of peer mentoring. Mollin’s students often win annual departmental awards and scholarships, secure research grants, and present papers at local and regional undergraduate research conferences.
In addition to three teaching awards this spring, Mollin is a past recipient of Virginia Tech’s Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award, the Edward S. Diggs Teaching Scholars Award, and the XCalber Award. She teaches courses in women’s history, gender history, and the history of sexuality, along with more general courses in 20th-century U.S. history. She has published widely on the U.S. suffrage, labor, civil rights, and antiwar movements. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
As Academy of Integrated Science director, Pleimling leads the development and integration of science-based, interdisciplinary degree programs, with responsibility for fostering and enhancing research opportunities and for strengthening the college’s inter-departmental collaboration in discovery, learning, and engagement. He recently was honored with the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech in 1996, Pleimling taught at the University of Erlangen’s Department of Physics. He earned his Ph.D. from the University Saarland (Germany) and worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Aachen in Germany and the University of Nancy in France.
He has published more than 110 papers covering statistical physics and condensed matter physics, edited two books, and authored a study on physical aging. He serves as vice-chairman for the southeastern section of the American Physical Society and is a vice-chairman for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowships of the European Union’s physics panel. Pleimling has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
Yee helped to develop Thinkwell Chemistry, an online video textbook on general chemistry that is widely used in high schools, the home-schooling community, and colleges across the country. He designed and taught the first semester of a new lecture course in honors general chemistry and designed an accompanying lab course for which he wrote or adapted 20 new experiments. He also has been teaching honors/majors general chemistry and is serving as the director of undergraduate programs in chemistry.
Yee has written three articles for the Journal of Chemical Education, served as a teaching mentor to assistant professors in the department, and received the Cook Teaching Award in 2008 and the Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award for 2010. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley, in 1983, and a doctoral degree, also in chemistry, from Stanford University in 1990.