College Honors 2020-21 LeRoy and Elva Martin Award Recipients
Michael Taveirne, teaching assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Eric Chi, assistant professor in the Department of Statistics, have been honored by the College of Sciences with the 2020-21 LeRoy and Elva Martin Award for Teaching Excellence.
The Martin Award recognizes professors’ outstanding contributions to the College of Sciences’ teaching mission. The award was created in 2001 by the late LeRoy Martin Jr., a longtime mathematics professor at NC State, to honor his parents, Elva and LeRoy Martin.
Both Taveirne and Chi have demonstrated a commitment to teaching, effective communication skills, an ability to engage students, and a positive and lasting impact on students and alumni. Edited excerpts from their nominations are below.
Michael Taveirne has taught over 2,600 undergraduate students in 37 courses since joining the NC State faculty in 2015. In collaboration with his colleague Alice Lee, his groundbreaking work to completely overhaul the general microbiology laboratory courses to replace traditional laboratory experiments with novel research questions has allowed students to receive authentic research experiences. In addition, his efforts to provide summer students with hands-on at-home versions of the general microbiology laboratory course following the switch to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed students to have similar experiences to those who took the course during regular semesters.
Eric Chi, who joined the NC State faculty in 2015, was instrumental in developing and redesigning the Department of Statistics’ core statistics computational curriculum. He aims to develop strong foundations and systematic thinking in all his students, which helps them employ flexible strategies outside the classroom. To reinforce the connection between theory and practice, he designs homework, labs and projects around real-world issues and coaches students on how to use the thinking practiced in class to attack these issues. His efforts have helped him earn consistently high marks in student evaluations.