GREENVILLE, S.C.—Furman University Associate Professor of Biology Victoria L. Turgeon has been awarded a 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award from the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) organization.
Dr. Victoria Turgeon
The SCICU annually recognizes one faculty member at each of its 20 member schools. Previous winners from Furman are Scott Henderson (Education), Lloyd Benson (History), Brannon Andersen (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Gil Einstein (Psychology) and Elizabeth Smith (Political Science).
Turgeon, who joined the Furman faculty in 1998, was praised as a superb teacher and mentor who regularly goes beyond the call of duty to support her students and the university as a whole.
“Her passion to use her own research as a teaching instrument excites the students and draws them into a deeper understanding of biology,” said John Beckford, Dean of the Faculty at Furman.
Turgeon is a former Chair of the Women and Genders Studies Concentration at Furman and a member of the Neuroscience Major Advisory Committee. While her primary research focus is spinal cord development, her studies are applicable to developing treatments for spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
During Turgeon’s 13 years at Furman, she has been supported by NIH and the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund among other state grants including SCICU. This funding has allowed her to mentor more than 45 undergraduate researchers. She has also mentored numerous high school students and teachers from local public schools as well as students from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.
In addition to mentoring students to critically think through their research projects, Turgeon empowers students to believe in their abilities despite their gender, economic situations or past academic pitfalls. Furman president Rodney Smolla cites her “unwavering commitment to student achievement and sensitivity to their circumstances.”
Turgeon was the recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Distinguished Mentor Award for 2010-11 and the Alester G. Furman, Jr. and Janie Earle Furman Meritorious Teaching Award in 2010.
For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.