Dr. Perry Corbin is the recipient of Ashland University’s 2012 Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award. Ashland University Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew presented the award at Ashland University’s Academic Honors Convocation on Sunday, April 15, in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.
The award, first presented in 1997, was endowed by former Jeromesville residents the late Edward and Louaine Taylor as a way of supporting high quality teaching at Ashland University.
An associate professor of chemistry, Corbin joined the Ashland University faculty in 2001. He received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Kentucky Wesleyan College, a Ph.D. in chemistry with a specialization in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Virginia.
At Ashland University, Dr. Corbin teaches a variety of courses and works with undergraduate students on research projects. His research areas include organic and macromolecular synthesis as well as supramolecular chemistry. Corbin and his students currently are involved in the chemical synthesis and study of polymers that have potential use in biomedical applications.
Pettigrew praised the selection of Corbin as the 2012 Taylor Teaching Award recipient.
“Perry Corbin is someone who is indicative of the high quality of the faculty at Ashland University,” Pettigrew said. “He works with students not only in his classes but in individual research projects. The students have opportunities for publications and presentations. These projects go a long way toward getting them prepared for and accepted into graduate schools.”
Following the award presentation, Corbin presented an address titled “Good Chemistry.”
“What is the mechanism that leads faculty and students from day one of a class to success at the end of the class?” Corbin asked those in attendance. “Is there a specific mechanism? Or one might even wonder how success is defined?” he asked.
Corbin said he believes all would agree that there is not one specific mechanism for success, but there are multiple paths.
“But, despite these multiple paths, I think there are some key elements of teaching and learning that ultimately lead to ‘ good chemistry’ in the classroom,” he said. “First, I think that faculty members must never let their enthusiasm and passion for their subject matter wane. This enthusiasm and passion is the reason I teach.
“I can say with all honesty that I truly love chemistry, I love the logical nature of chemistry, I love the qualitative and quantitative aspects of chemistry, I also love the creative aspects of chemistry,” he said. “Beyond this, though, I truly enjoy sharing chemistry with my students.”
Corbin said he is not so naive as to think that every student will develop the same excitement that he has for chemistry.
“But I strongly believe that when instructors are noticeably and genuinely enthusiastic about their given subject matter, when they exhibit a passion for learning themselves, and when they truly care for the success of their students, that a student’s drive to achieve can be greatly expanded,” he said.
Corbin concluded his remarks by noting that, as a student, he was fortunate to have had many excellent teachers who, along with his mentors and colleagues, have shaped his views concerning education and his views concerning what leads to “good chemistry” in the classroom and beyond.
“Although these teachers and colleagues have had different personalities, teaching styles, and educational backgrounds, there were common threads among all of them,” he said. “ They were passionate about teaching, learning, and their given disciplines, they worked diligently to try to clearly convey information to their students; but perhaps, most importantly, they cared for each student as an individual, both academically and otherwise.
“To my colleagues, in the end, I hope that our students might say the same of us and if they do, there’s a good chance that we have been successful teachers.”
Corbin said he was honored by his selection as the Taylor Teaching Award recipient. “I was definitely surprised and very humbled to receive this award because so many of my colleagues are deserving of this recognition,” he said.
The Taylor Teaching Award Committee, whose purpose is to select the award recipient, reviews submitted materials of faculty members who are nominated by students, faculty or department chairs. The committee, comprised of former Taylor Award winners, also observed classroom sessions of those who were nominated.
All full-time faculty with a minimum of three years of teaching experience at Ashland University are eligible for the award. Recipients of the award cannot repeat for three years and no faculty member may win the award more than twice. The recipients receive a medal to be worn with academic regalia and a stipend of $5,000.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. 4/16/12