Chemistry Prof Is Honored for Stirring Young Minds
NSM Awards Dieckmann Its Outstanding Teaching Award
Jun. 20, 2011
The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has honored Dr. Gregg Dieckmann with the 2010-2011 Outstanding Teaching Award for his efforts in encouraging students and creating a successful learning environment.
Dieckmann, associate professor of chemistry, said he appreciated the recognition from students and colleagues for something he loves doing. He has taught at UT Dallas for more than a decade.
“I enjoy the combination of teaching and research, and we have a wonderful group of colleagues who encourage each other and help each other,” Dieckmann said. “This is a fantastic honor.”
His desire to teach, he said, didn’t fully develop until his days in graduate school at the University of Michigan as a teaching assistant.
“When I started graduate school, I knew I did not want to teach,” Dieckmann said. “I knew I wanted to be a chemist, but didn’t think teaching was for me. But after a few semesters as an instructor, I never looked back.”
He said he loved elucidating sometimes-difficult concepts to students and seeing them light up when they understood how the proverbial pieces fit together.
“I was hooked at that point,” Dieckmann said. “I also found, through the years, that chemistry can be a dry subject to some students, and you have to connect it to everyday concepts so they can see its relevance to their lives.”
Dieckmann’s expertise is in biophysical chemistry, and he is affiliated with the NanoTech Institute. His research involves protein design and creating protein motifs that modulate the properties of nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes. In 2005, Dieckmann was one of the recipients of a $1.1 million Young Investigators Award from the Human Frontier Science Program, an organization based in Strasbourg, France.
The UT Dallas School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has bestowed the annual teaching award since 1999 based on student nominations of outstanding teachers. Winners are honored at a spring reception.
“Gregg Dieckmann is one of those inspirational teachers – bounding with energy, concerned that his students learn, anxious to infuse in them the same love of chemistry that he has,” said Dr. Myron Salamon, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “Outstanding teachers give them confidence that they can excel, and provide them with the help they need to do so. As we deal with the need for more graduates in STEM fields, teachers such as Gregg Dieckmann are keys to our success.”