WestConn educator receives CSU System teaching award
DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University senior Galina Filipova is a high-achieving student who will graduate this month with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a minor in chemistry. And while much of her academic success obviously can be attributed to her own hard work and ambition, there‟s no disputing the fact that some of her impressive accomplishments come as a result of the professors who both taught and mentored her.
Recognizing the impact of outstanding educators, the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) recently honored one of Filipova‟s instructors, Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Ruth A. Gyure, with both a university-level Trustees Teaching Award as a WestConn faculty member, and a system-wide Trustees Teaching Award for which she was selected from a field that included university-level winners from Central, Eastern and Southern Connecticut state universities. It is the first year this award has been conferred by the CSUS Board of Trustees.
In announcing the recipients, CSUS Board of Trustees Chairman Lawrence D. McHugh said, “The quality of teaching and level of research throughout the university system is truly remarkable, and the scholarship by these faculty members is both inspiring and significant.”
Filipova was not surprised to hear of the honors her teacher and mentor has received.
“I have had the pleasure of working very closely with Dr. Ruth Gyure over the past two years,” Filipova said. “During a Student Independent Study, I worked with two other students on Dr. Gyure‟s project „Identification of Most Probable Culturable Heterotrophs from Mercury-Contaminated Soil.‟ This was my first experience in the research lab and knowing that, Dr. Gyure made sure to introduce me to all aspects of the process — from
keeping up a detailed lab book to explaining in detail the complex experimental procedures.
“Dr. Gyure was very efficient in planning around our busy schedules, in order to work one-on-one with each student as much as possible,” Filipova added. “She ensured that we felt a part of her team, explaining how valuable our contributions were and how they fit in the larger aspect of her whole project. This was an invaluable experience for me, because it set me off very well-prepared to start my own research project where I continually find use for the techniques and important lessons I acquired in Dr. Gyure‟s lab. Dr. Gyure‟s dedication to her work has set a standard I strive to follow in my own
research. It is great that she is being recognized for her hard work. She is a truly dedicated professor and a great mentor to whom I often turn for advice.”
Eligibility criteria for the Trustees Teaching Award included the need for faculty to have “distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of two years track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments.”
Gyure was nominated by CSU and WestConn Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. C. Thomas Philbrick.
“Dr. Gyure, a microbial ecologist, is a leader in the science and art of modern teaching,” Philbrick said. “Her approach to teaching relies on a sound pedagogical framework. She utilizes inquiry-based learning, innovative instructional technologies, and computer-assisted learning networks to achieve success in her classroom. Dr. Gyure also is a leader in the use of tools of assessment to measure student learning at the course and programmatic levels.
“Dr. Gyure is equally effective outside the formal classroom setting,” Philbrick continued. “She provides diverse opportunities for student independent research in her laboratory, thereby expanding her role as an educator. Students she has mentored have won local and regional awards for their independent research.”
Gyure‟s work has yielded its share of notoriety as well. She was named a Scholar-in-
Residence for 2006-07 by the American Society for Microbiology Program for Research and Advancement in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and has been a presenter at numerous scientific conferences and meetings worldwide. She has received grants from the CSUS, the American Association of University Professors/CSU Research Awards and a City of Danbury/
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) award.
She has been published in several microbiology journals, as well as having authored or coauthored a number of EPA reports about her research. She is a member of the New England Educational Assessment Network, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Society for Microbiology, the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences, the Sigma Xi Research Society and Northeast Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology, Taxonomy.
Gyure received a Bachelor of Science in Bionucleonics/Environmental Health from the School of Pharmacy at Purdue University and a doctorate in Microbiology/Microbial Ecology from the department of biological sciences, also at Purdue.
She joined the faculty at WestConn as an assistant professor in 2000 and teaches Microbiology; General Microbiology; Microbial Ecology; The Microbial World; Environment and Health; Microbes, Disease and Society; Introduction to Medical Technology; Graduate Seminar; Senior Research and Student Independent Study.
Upon receiving the Trustees Teaching Award, Gyure said, “I teach in a system with many other gifted and dedicated teachers, so to receive this award makes me feel extremely appreciated. This is really gratifying and a highlight of my career. I continually strive to integrate the science of discovery with the science of teaching; a very progressive „marriage‟ in our department and one that I hope continues to benefit my peers, our
university, and most importantly — the students. I am very glad the Trustees have
decided to institute a teaching award.”
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.