Points of Pride

Faculty Excellence Honored with Excellence in Teaching Awards

Dr. William McKinney, VSU president, (left), and Dr. Karla Hull, acting vice president for Academic Affairs (right), stand with the 2012 Faculty Excellence Award winners, Gardner Rogers, English lecturer, and Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer, assistant professor of biology.

By Malynda Dorsey

Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award: Gardner Rogers

The 2012 Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Gardner Rogers of the Department of English who started teaching at VSU in the fall of 2007.  “The award meant the world to me,” said Rogers. “I'm thrilled to receive it because teaching means so much to me, honored because there are so many wonderful teachers here, and humbled because I know I'm only as good as my next class.” Rogers attended Williams College for three years and then went on to the University of Kentucky. In 1993, he obtained a B.A. at the University of Kentucky followed by a M.A. in English in 1996. He then went to the University of Illinois for additional graduate work in English. Staring his sixth year at VSU, Rogers has played a pivotal role in helping to pilot a new online hybrid format for the English Department World Literature courses. He has also used his talent to help colleagues and students in the Art Department with writing and research skills.  “I’ve loved VSU,” said Rogers. “It's a very friendly campus. Its students are very responsive. The English department faculty has been remarkably supportive and accepting.”  Although there is not much time during the academic year outside the classroom, Rogers says he plays a lot of golf in the summer, poorly but passionately he adds. He also enjoys reading books about higher education.  This year’s Faculty Excellence Awards recipients were recommended by a faculty committee representing all the colleges and divisions at VSU. These recipients were chosen from a field of candidates who had already received top honors in their respective colleges and divisions.

Faculty Excellence in Professional Activity Award: Gretchen Bielmyer

Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer was honored with the 2012 Faculty Excellence in Professional Activity Award. The associate professor of biology has been at VSU for four years.  “It was very nice to be recognized for the work I have been doing and the efforts I have made,” said Bielmyer. “I am very honored to have received the award and very appreciative to VSU for giving me the support necessary to further my professional development.”  Bielmyer earned her B.S. in biology from the University of North Florida and her M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental toxicology from Clemson University. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Miami. While at VSU, Bielmyer has been active in pursuing research, educating students and participating in community and university organizations. She says the faculty in the biology department has been very collaborative and supportive, and she has met many amazing students while at VSU. 

Bielmyer’s research interests are in the field of aquatic toxicology. The main focus of her research is the effects of metal contaminants on aquatic organisms when exposed through the water or diet. Her written work since 2008 includes eight refereed journal articles, several book chapters, two journal articles in review and two more in preparation. Bielmyer also chaired the Undergraduate Research Council in the College of Arts and Sciences and currently serves as the biology representative on the university-wide council. Her devotion to her students is evident, as she has mentored 18 undergraduates in her research lab and co-authored publications with six undergraduate students.  Outside of the classroom, Bielmyer enjoys many outdoor activities, namely running, cycling, swimming and triathlons. 
  This year’s Faculty Excellence Awards recipients were recommended by a faculty committee representing all the colleges and divisions at VSU. These recipients were chosen from a field of candidates who had already received top honors in their respective colleges and divisions.