Home > News and Events > 2001 News > Charles Fisher Honored With C.I. Noll Award for Teaching

Charles Fisher Honored With C.I. Noll Award for Teaching

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18 December 2001 -- Charles Fisher, professor of biology, has been selected as the winner of the C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Sponsored by the Eberly College of Science Student Council and Alumni Society, the award represents the highest honor for undergraduate teaching in the college. The winner is chosen by a committee of students and faculty from nominees suggested by students, faculty, and alumni. The award includes a monetary grant and the inscription of recipient's name on a plaque alongside previous winners.

"It is very gratifying to receive this recognition from my colleagues and students," said Fisher, who has taught a broad range of biology and ecology courses at Penn State since he joined the Penn State faculty in 1990. In addition to his teaching in the classroom, Fisher also offers students the opportunity of participating in research as a member of his research team. Approximately fifty-four undergraduate students have worked in Fisher's laboratory in just the past five years, and every undergraduate student who has been a co-author on one of his research papers has gone on to either medical school or graduate school.

Fisher's research interests include the ecology of hydrothermal-vent and cold-seep organisms living on the ocean floor, including the wide range of symbiotic and chemical processes on which their life depends. In the past 19 years, he has made 75 deep-sea dives in research submersibles and has spent another 54 days at sea working with deep-diving remotely operated vehicles.

He recently was elected to chair the steering committee of the National Science Foundation RIDGE 2000 Program, which is designed to study the mid-ocean ridge system and to enhance the understanding of the relationship between the geological processes that lead to planetary renewal in the deep ocean and the life forms that thrive there in the absence of sunlight. The program is designed to foster an interdisciplinary research community involving geoscientists and biologists from universities and research institutions around the country. As a result of Fisher's election, the program office for the RIDGE program has been located on the Penn State University Park campus.

Fisher also participates in the Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration, and Life (REVEL) program designed to provide research experiences for middle-school and high-school teachers. In addition, he serves as assistant department head for graduate education in the Department of Biology.

In addition to the Penn State C. I Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001, Fisher has received numerous honors for his research and teaching, including recognition among "The Year's Best" from Popular Science in 1997 for making one of the top 100 discoveries in science and technology. He earned the the Penn State Faculty Associates Award in 1997, a Collaborative Instructional and Curricular Innovation Award from Penn State in 1996, and a Presidential Young Investigator award from the National Science Foundation in 1991.

Fisher joined the Penn State faculty in 1990 as an assistant professor and was named associate professor in 1995 and professor in 1999. He earned his doctoral degree in biological sciences at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1985 and his bachelor's degree in biology at Michigan State University in 1976.

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