GGC biologist receives USG teaching excellence award

Dr. Candace Timpte, associate professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), is one of four University System of Georgia (USG) faculty members to be honored with the Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award on March 20.

Dr. Candace Timpte, associate professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC), is one of four University System of Georgia (USG) faculty members to be honored with the Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award on March 20.

Timpte is the first GGC faculty member to receive the award, which recognizes outstanding teaching by individual faculty members or a single academic program or department. The award honors exemplary teaching that significantly improves student success, as well as research demonstrating innovative teaching techniques that enhance student learning. Each year, recipients are selected from nominations submitted by USG institution presidents. Award winners receive $5,000 and a certificate of achievement.

“These awards allow us to recognize outstanding faculty who are making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students,” said Dr. Susan Herbst, USG executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “We are proud to spotlight these exceptional faculty and programs and their commitment to student learning and success.”

According to Timpte’s colleagues, her dedication to students guides everything she does, from working with beginning students in her First Year Seminar to seniors in a Biology Capstone Course. She uses case studies and other teaching techniques to actively engage students in the learning process, and has even developed cell phone “flashcards” to reach today’s technology-savvy students.

“Dr. Timpte is one of the most active, vibrant, engaged, and dedicated members of the GGC faculty,” said Dr. Tom Mundie, dean of the college’s School of Science and Technology. “I have watched with admiration as she has begun to establish her reputation as one of our most gifted and valuable faculty members.”

Timpte’s academic interests include plant molecular biology and hormones, viral genomes, biochemistry and nutrition, as well as the science of teaching. She strives to provide students with an enthusiastic and engaging atmosphere in which to learn biology, and to cultivate scientific curiosity and amazement at the wonders of biology. As a contributor in the Partners in Active Learning (PALs) project, she connects biology to other disciplines and helps students understand the interdisciplinary nature of the world.

Based on comments from her students, her efforts are successful.

Minh “Andy” Mai said that Timpte describes how it is important to relate biology to political, economic, social and technological aspects of society, a key focus of one of her courses.

“I honestly never thought about how biology would interact with these four aspects, but Dr. Timpte has definitely opened my eyes to the ‘bigger picture’ of my discipline,” said Mai, who will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Mai also said that Dr. Timpte’s devotion to her students has made a personal difference.

“Georgia Gwinnett is like my second family and Dr. Timpte is like my academic mother,” Mai said. “She treats me as if I am one of her own, and she has helped nourish my mind while I have been at GGC.”

Luke Cooper, a biology major also graduating in May, expressed his thoughts about Timpte’s impact on his education.

“I've heard it said that a good science education will humble you because in learning everything that science has discovered, you learn about far more that it hasn't,” Cooper said. “Troubled by not knowing and desiring to put all the 'puzzle pieces together' I went to Dr. Timpte. Her response was very characteristic of her nature as an excellent professor – she inspired me to explore the issues for myself.”

According to Cooper, Timpte’s gift lies not merely in communicating knowledge, but instead in inspiring students to challenge themselves to plunge the depths of current knowledge and then go deeper.

“In her classroom, the lesson is merely the beginning point of an endless inquiry that is fueled by the passion of the student's interest,” said Cooper.

Kiteria Finlayson said she has found Timpte to be encouraging, supportive and approachable, all traits that have made her GGC experience as a non-traditional student memorable. Finlayson is a new mother in her early 30s and hopes to attend medical school after graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

“Dr. Timpte’s open-door policy always makes me feel welcome to sit and discuss my concerns,” Finlayson said. “Her sense of humor keeps the class engaged and makes learning fun. She is truly deserving of this award.”

Timpte earned a B.S. from University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from Duke University, both in biochemistry. The collegial atmosphere and emphasis on quality teaching attracted Timpte to join the Georgia Gwinnett faculty. She has taught a variety of courses including introductory biology for majors and non-majors, genetics, biochemistry and interdisciplinary applications of biology. She has previously been honored with a GGC Teaching Excellence Award.

“I am thrilled to represent Georgia Gwinnett and the science disciplines through this award,” Timpte said. “There are so many great teachers here at GGC and I still have much to learn about teaching. I think this award provides those of us in higher education with outstanding recognition and motivation to continue doing our best for our students.”

Return to News and Events

View our News Archive by Year