Dr. John Stiller

ECU Biology Professor Receives UNC Board of Governors Teaching Award

GREENVILLE, N.C. (4/10/13) – The most rewarding thing about teaching biology for East Carolina University professor Dr. John Stiller is also the most difficult: Helping students reach those "light bulb" moments in which they obviously have grasped the material.

After years of helping students do just that, Stiller has been named one of the recipients of the 2012–13 UNC Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award is given annually to one educator from each of the 17 UNC-system schools to honor outstanding contributions in the classroom.

For Stiller, the most important characteristic of a good teacher is that the educator must genuinely care about his or her students and help them reach their intellectual goals.

"Not everyone who becomes an instructor is a gifted speaker, can make beautiful, artistic slides, or brings a natural sense of humor into the classroom," Stiller said. "Students will forgive many sins in classroom delivery, or in research mentorship, as long as they believe the teacher is genuinely on their side and supportive of their efforts and aspirations.

"In addition to his academic accomplishments, Stiller has served as the president of the Phycological Society of America, received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and published 31 scholarly articles. As a winner of the Award for Excellence in Teaching, Stiller will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $7,500 cash prize.

To view the other 2013 winners, visit www.northcarolina.edu/bog/teaching_awards/2013/index.html.

More information about the award and the nomination process is available online at http://provost.unc.edu/teaching-awards/board-of-governors-award-for-excellence-in-teaching/.