Two Louisiana Tech assistant professors who used colorful analogies about their teaching and research claimed awards at the fall Faculty-Staff Club meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16.
Dr. Galen E. Turner III, from the department of mathematics and statistics, earned the University Senate Chair. Dr. David J. Szymanski, from the kinesiology department, won the Virgil Orr Undergraduate Junior Faculty award.
Turner spoke of his research and teaching in terms of light and heat. Szymanksi referred to both the old Dunkin’ Donuts commercial and Indiana Jones.
The University Senate Chair award, which includes a $2,000 stipend, is presented annually to a full-time tenured faculty member whose research, teaching and service contribute significantly to Tech’s mission and purpose.
In his application for the award, Turner wrote, ‘I have come to the conclusion that my research without my teaching is like having light with no heat; and my teaching without my research is heat without light. Both are necessary, and both produce outstanding learning that would otherwise be lessened without the presence of the other.’
In the past five years, Turner has served on more than 30 thesis and dissertation committees; in the past two years he has been either principal or co-principal investigator for at least $2.2 million in funded research; and in the past four years he has had more than 10 publications either printed or scheduled for publication in scholarly journals.
Turner has served as a leader in Tech’s Integrated Engineering Curriculum and has developed six courses – both graduate and undergraduate – that showcase how math lays a foundation for other disciplines.
In 2007 Turner received the Distinguished Teaching Award for the Louisiana/Mississippi section of the Mathematical Association of America. That year he was also named as program chair of cyberspace science and engineering at Tech.
The Orr award, presented to Szymanski and carrying a $1,500 stipend, recognizes a junior faculty member who has “made significant contributions to the mission and purpose of the university.” Szymanski’s application referenced, among other things, well-known TV commercials and movies.
‘I want students to take ownership of their education and get the most out of it so it will benefit them in their career,’ he wrote. ‘The more they know and experience about their area of expertise, the better they will do in their career. I say