Dr. Jose D’Arruda, a 32-year member of the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, was named recipient of the 2007 UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence.
A physics professor, Dr. Jose D’Arruda vigorously promoted 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.
In a recent interview, Dr. D’Arruda said he is thrilled to win the award.
“This is an awesome award for teachers and teaching,” he said. “Nothing is more fulfilling than teaching. It’s an unbelievable career for anyone to be in.”
Established by the UNC Board of Governors in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to reward good teaching, the awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member from each UNC campus.
The award will be made in a May meeting of the Board of Governors in Chapel Hill, N.C. It carries a $7,500 prize, and the Pembroke winner serves as grand marshal for University events and as keynote speaker at Winter Commencement 2007.
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Charles Harrington said Dr. D’Arruda is very deserving of the honor.
“Jose D’Arruda has distinguished himself in the classroom, the laboratory and the community,” Dr. Harrington said. “His teaching, scholarship and service have been exemplary.
“Among Dr. D’Arruda’s most notable contributions has been his tireless efforts to promote science education,” the provost continued. “His successes in grant writing, conference development and workshop presentations have made a significant and lasting impact on the quality of science education in Southeastern North Carolina.
“It is more than fitting that Dr. D’Arruda’s peers have nominated him for this award,” he concluded. “It is indeed well deserved.”
“Dr. D’Arruda has been a leader in the field of science education for over a quarter-century,” said Dr. Thomas Leach, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who has been a colleague of Dr. D’Arruda’s for 32 years.
“His teaching and research in several areas of science have had a positive impact and served to inspire students throughout the region,” Dean Leach concluded.
After 32 years at the lectern, Dr. D’Arruda said he has no plans to retire.
“Teaching is a time reversal to aging; it makes me feel young and energetic,” he said. “It’s been a great 32 years at UNCP, and I hope there are more to come.”
Promoting science inside the classroom and out is Dr. D’Arruda’s passion.
“Science plays such a large role in the lives of people, I want them to be informed about science,” he said. “I teach because I am eager to share with others my delight in the world we live in.
“I enjoy the challenge to present material in such a way that the students not only understand it, but enjoy the fact that they are learning,” Dr. D’Arruda continued. “I want my students to do well, and I want them to be confident in their ability to do science through research
This spring, D’Arruda’s mission went global by establishing the First International Physics Olympiad with students from UNCP and Tomsk State University in Russia.
Dr. D’Arruda was also active in faculty governance, serving as chair of the Faculty Senate for three years and on the Chancellor’s Search Committee in 1979.
He also built a legacy of philanthropy at the University as the first faculty member to join the Chancellor’s Club and, with his wife, Dottie, established an endowed scholarship to promote the study of physics in 2006.
Dr. D’Arruda received a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware.