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UNCP physics professor wins prestigious teaching award

April 1, 2009

Dr. Jose D’Arruda, veteran UNC Pembroke science professor and a longtime advocate for science education, will receive the Outstanding Educator Award from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Education Center in the Research Triangle, N.C.

16jose_darruda.jpgDr. D’Arruda will accept the award on April 18 at the annual Celebration of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education in Carey, N.C. He received notification of the honor in a letter dated March 11.

“This is a great honor at this stage in my career, and I am very excited about it,” Dr. D’Arruda said. “This brings recognition to my profession, my work and this great University.

“Nothing is more fulfilling than teaching,” he continued. “It’s an unbelievable career for anyone to be in.”
Dr. D’Arruda joined UNCP’s faculty in 1974 and teaches physics and astronomy. In 2007, he won the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr. Sam Houston Jr., SMT’s president and CEO, said the award committee was impressed with Dr. D’Arruda’s ability to engage students in the classroom.

“An observer of your class commented that, rather than giving a standard lecture on Kepler’s Law, you used multiple methods to illustrate the concept and checked in with your students to ensure they understood the concept,” Dr. Houston said. “Thank you for all you do for North Carolina students.”

Dr. D’Arruda vigorously promotes science education in the region, and while chairing the Department of Chemistry and Physics for 23 years, launched UNCP’s major in physics. He founded the Region IV Science Fair in 1980 and remains a co-chair. He was also instrumental in the construction of the University’s new observatory.

The mission of the SMT Center is to systematically improve performance in science, mathematics, and technology preK-12 education as a means of providing all children in North Carolina with the necessary knowledge and skills in science, mathematics, and technology to have successful careers, be good citizens, and advance the economy of the state.

Dr. Tom Ross, a longtime friend and member of the Geography and Geology Department, nominated Dr. D’Arruda. Each year, the recipient of the award receives a $1,000 prize and is honored at the celebration.