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Cyr Honored with 2012 Undergraduate Program Leadership Award

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16 April 2012

Richard Cyr, a professor in the Department of Biology at Penn State University, has been honored with the Undergraduate Program Leadership Award for 2012. The Undergraduate Program Leadership Award is meant to recognize a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership benefiting an existing Penn State undergraduate degree program. The goal of the award is to recognize those individuals who have major responsibilities for the delivery of undergraduate education within a unit and who are providing leadership that has transformed or revitalized the undergraduate program within the unit.

Cyr's previous honors include a Penn State Faculty Hall of Fame Award in 2001, an Outstanding Support Award, which he received from NASA in 2000, a Penn State Atherton University-Wide Teaching Award in 1996, and a Penn State Provost Award for Collaborative Teaching, which he received in both 1996 and 1995. In addition to teaching and performing research, Cyr serves as associate head of undergraduate education for the Department of Biology at Penn State. In previous years, he served as a program director for the National Science Foundation's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, as an assistant head for Penn State's Department of Biology, and as director of the Sperling Center for Science Education, which is part of Penn State's Eberly College of Science.

Cyr, who is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Society of Plant Biology, has served on numerous external review boards and panels, including NASA's Cell Culture Unit Design Team for the International Space Station. He has published numerous scientific papers and invited review articles in journals such as Cytoskeleton, Molecular Plant, and Plant Cell. A paper he published in Molecular Biology of the Cell was nominated by the American Society for Cell Biology as a "Best Paper of the Year."

In addition to publishing many scientific papers, Cyr also has published numerous articles and essays about the best approaches for teaching biology students. These articles have appeared in Advances in Physiology Education, Great Ideas in Teaching Biology, and many other journals. Cyr has taught 16,688 students, and he has mentored 30 undergraduate student researchers. He has served as an honor's research thesis supervisor for 13 undergraduate students and he has advised and/or served on graduate committees for over 50 graduate students. He also has reviewed many textbooks, including Life, Biology, and Plant Growth and Development. In 2001, he led a team that authored "Concepts and Biodiversity," a Web-based, interactive course with reporting features for students and instructors in Penn State's Biology 110 course.

Prior to arriving at Penn State in 1989, Cyr was a research associate at the University of Georgia, a research assistant at the University of California in Irvine, and a lecturer at California State University in San Francisco. In 1986, Cyr earned a doctoral degree at the University of California in Irvine. In 1982 and 1978, he received master's and bachelor's degrees from San Francisco State University and the University of California, respectively.

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