Amy Springer, lecturer and chief undergraduate advisor in biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB), has been named this year’s recipient of the Normanly Award for Outstanding Service, established in 2017 to recognize exemplary teaching and service by its faculty. She was recognized at the department’s annual awards ceremony on April 16.
Springer is being acknowledged for heroutstanding undergraduate advising and her leadership in developing, proposing and overseeing academic policies that are geared toward timely graduation from a rigorous undergraduate program that is accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).
She is active in curriculum reform at the national level, both in the ASBMB as an Education Fellow and with collaborators from several other universities to develop resources for a broad community of undergraduates to carry out protein-focused research. Springer has been instrumental in the conversion of all three biochemistry lab courses (introductory and advanced, for majors and non-majors)—which are taught by multiple faculty—to the course-based undergraduate research (CURE) format.
In congratulating Springer on this honor, Tricia Serio, dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), says, “Your energetic, creative, and thoughtful approach to overseeing the advising of BMB majors is most deserving of recognition, as are your efforts at the national level to develop high-impact practices in the teaching of biochemistry.”
Department head Jennifer Normanly adds: “BMB faculty have a long-standing commitment to including undergraduates in our research programs. Amy’s leadership in the implementation of the CURE format in our laboratory courses has allowed us to embed authentic research into our required majors curriculum.”
Springer’s other campus efforts include mentoring new faculty in the use of student-centered teaching pedagogies and leading an ADVANCE UMass Mentoring Group of CNS lecturers in biology, ecological conservation, and physics in the development of best practices to ensure that lecturers are engaged in departmental governance, decision-making and leadership opportunities.
This non-endowed annual award is supported by an anonymous gift in honor of current department head Jennifer Normanly. The BMB department head chooses the recipient with help from an advisory committee.
The Normanly award’s annual focus alternates between service and teaching, recognizing a pre-tenure or post-tenure faculty member in the department who exhibits exemplary undergraduate teaching to recognizing a pre-, post-, or non-tenure track faculty member who exhibits extraordinary efforts in service to the department.