Annual faculty awards were announced at the Austin College Honors Convocation this spring. Peter Schulze received the 2018 Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award, and Randi Tanglen was announced as the Austin College nominee for the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor award.
Peter Schulze is a professor of biology and environmental science and the director of the Center for Environmental Studies. The Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award recognizes the fundamental importance of the quality of teaching in the educational process and seeks to honor the person who has made a distinct difference in the teaching climate in areas such as classroom teaching, campus leadership, pioneering pedagogy, and instructional support.
In fall 2017, Schulze was a featured speaker at the Austin College TEDx event, where he encouraged listeners to take care of Earth in lieu of making plans to live on Mars. “Forget about moving to another planet,” he said. “If we can’t keep this one suitable for life we won’t be able to make another one suitable. Besides, NASA pays $70 million for one seat on a round-trip flight to the International Space Station – less than 300 miles and six hours away.”
He teaches courses in evolution, environmental fundamentals and policy, restoration and conservation, and emerging controversies related to the environment. He is the author of several books and papers, and his research centers around both experimental prairie restoration and the effects of suspended sediments on aquatic ecosystems. Schulze holds a Ph.D. in biology from Dartmouth College and was the 2012 Austin College nominee for the CASE Professors of the Year program.
Randi Tanglen is an associate professor of English, director of the Gender Studies program, and director of the Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching. The Minnie Steven Piper award recognizes outstanding professors in Texas colleges and universities. Nomination for the award is considered an Austin College teaching award.
Her recent courses include early American literature, captivity narratives, and novels that represent the marginalized voices of women and minorities. She says, “I’m interested in the intersections of gender, race, and religion in how this literature represents the social and political anxieties of its day.”
Tanglen was included in the 2012 Princeton Review list of Top 300 Professors, and she received the Texoma American Association of University Women of Achievement Award in 2014. She is a member of the Needlework Guild of America and on the Grayson Crisis Center board of directors.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.