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UK Faculty Member Wins Statewide Teaching Award

By Sarah Geegan & Tess Perica

University of Kentucky Biology professor Robin Cooper recently won an award from the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS), commending his excellence in teaching.

The KAS Outstanding College/University Teacher award is not awarded every year, but rather only when the organization sees fit to recognize a particularly excellent professor.

To qualify for the award, recipients must have made some significant contribution primarily to science teaching, but also to research at the university level in Kentucky.

These contributions are interpreted broadly to mean contribution directly to the Commonwealth, or the intellectual growth in the Commonwealth. Recipients also must be KAS members.

"This was, in part, an award due to my strong dedication to outreaching efforts in K-12 schools, which involves students and teachers as well as undergraduate and graduate students I teach within my research program at the University of Kentucky," Cooper said.

Cooper joined the UK Department of Biology in 1996. Having himself published over 100 peer reviewed publications, Cooper has also demonstrated a firm commitment to undergraduate research. At the award announcement it was noted that Cooper's undergraduate students were primary or co-authors on 18 peer reviewed publications and 140 abstracts and meeting presentations.

Cooper says he believes the award has come out of his efforts to help students succeed at all levels with research.

"We have mentored over 100 undergraduates in our research program at the University of Kentucky," Cooper said.

A former student of Cooper's was one of the people who nominated him for the award.

"The time working with Dr. Cooper and seeing his dedication to teaching and working with people outside university community in education and health care has taught me valuable lessons," the student said. "I can only hope I am able emulate him in aspects of my own life."  

The objectives of the Kentucky Academy of Science are to encourage scientific research, to promote the diffusion of scientific knowledge, and to unify the scientific interests of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The Kentucky Academy of Science serves its members and the citizens of Kentucky through activities in harmony with objectives.

For more information on the Kentucky Academy of Science and their awards please visit their website,