This year’s Frederick H. Horne Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching Science goes to Liz Gire, associate professor of physics.
This award honors Fred Horne, who served as Dean of Science at Oregon State from from 1986 to 1999. Fred passed away in 2021, a renowned researcher, scholar, teacher and leader.
Fred exemplified the values of our college, embracing a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in science. He was instrumental in establishing two programs that encourage students of color to pursue and continue their education in science, math and engineering: Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience (SMILE) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).
The purpose of this award is to recognize sustained excellence in teaching science by honoring a faculty member in the College of Science who has repeatedly demonstrated exceptional instructional qualities and has had a significant impact on students over a period of not less than five years.
Liz Gire has earned this award through her tireless dedication to support the holistic student experience. A plethora of students and colleagues wrote at length in support of Gire's nomination. One student nominator said, "Her level of dedication to the genuine support and inclusion of the students in her courses is something I’ve never seen in an educator before. She backs that up with her skill and experience in education and communication that makes difficult content still accessible and enjoyable to learn. She takes every opportunity to build others up, whether that be her students, her teaching team, her research partners or the many people in our department who aren’t any of those things, but still know they can come to her because she is the type of person who will help however and whenever she can."
Another student nominator said, "Liz is a wonderful professor because she is a master at reading the atmosphere of a classroom. Sure, part of this is an intuition that comes from experience, but more importantly, she takes time to ask questions. Each student is expected to grab a small white board and marker at the beginning class. Later when Liz looks out and says, 'write down something that you know about angular momentum' she can measure students’ level of confusion and use student responses to guide the classroom discussion. This makes everyone much more willing to participate in class because they know that she honestly cares for their well-being and success."
Congratulations to all the winners and all the nominees!