Prof. Jim Colbert recipient of CLAS Cassling Family Faculty Award

August 1, 2012
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Colbert and Skunk River Navy volunteers
Prof. Colbert and Skunk River Navy volunteers

Jim Colbert, Associate Professor of Biology in EEOB and courtesy joint faculty in GDCB, is this year’s recipient of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Cassling Family Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching.  Prof. Colbert was formally recognized by the College at their Faculty and Staff Convocation on August 29, 2012.

Prof. Colbert’s primary focus is biology education.  He currently serves as the Undergraduate Biology Program Coordinator, a program which is co-administered by the EEOB and GDCB departments.  He teaches both large introductory classes and smaller upper-level classes in ways that engage students and promote deep learning about aspects of biology.

His other major impact on students has been as Admiral of the Skunk River Navy, a community service activity he founded in 1998 for the Freshmen Biology Learning Community. As a regular user of the rivers and streams of central Iowa, he became concerned by the increasing problems facing those waters.  Not only has it been a community service opportunity since its inception, but it is also an educational activity, as the students and volunteers learn about and experience issues like water quality, organismal diversity and land stewardship.  His original idea continues to educate our citizens and improve our environment to today.

The Cassling Family Faculty Awards recognize and reward two outstanding faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences each year – one for outstanding teaching performance over an extended period of time at Iowa State and one for early achievement in teaching.  The awards were established by Randal and Lori Cassling of Omaha, Nebraska, in honor of Randal’s parents, Robert and Rita Lenore Dunn Cassling of Omaha. Robert Cassling is a 1956 graduate of Iowa State while Rita attended Iowa State and was a Homecoming queen.

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