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Columbia College professor earns Trustees Teaching Award

Dr. Nathan Means, associate professor of biology, has been awarded the 2012 Columbia College Trustees Award for Teaching Excellence. This annual award honors a full-time faculty member who has demonstrated consistent excellence in the classroom and teaches rigorous classes with high academic expectations.

“True to the spirit of the award, Dr. Means is known for his high expectations of his students,” said Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs. “He is well regarded by the students and works hard to ensure his lessons are engaging and applicable to the real world.”

Each spring, the Student Government Association nominates three faculty members who they consider to be outstanding teachers. President Gerald Brouder, Smith and the president of the faculty association make the final selection. The winner is announced at the annual Honors and Awards Convocation in April and receives a $1,000 cash award.

“I feel like what I do matters, and I am honored the trustees feel the same,” said Means. “A good grasp of science is increasingly essential to solve the world’s problems, and I try to convey that to my students.”

Means earned a bachelor’s degree in science from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University) in Springfield, Mo., and a master’s degree in science and horticulture and a doctorate in soil, environmental and atmospheric science from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. He was hired as a visiting instructor at Columbia College in 2004 and currently teaches botany, microbiology, environmental science and other biology classes. He’s a member of the college’s Sustainability Committee, which devises ways for the college to increase the college’s sustainability efforts. He also has taught classes at the college’s Guantanamo Bay campus as part of the Visiting Scholars program.

This is not the first time Means’ teaching ability has been recognized. He was named Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in 2008 by Campus Life.

Means resides in Columbia.