Provost Award Recognizes Faculty Who Inspire Future Researchers
Dr. Sven Kroener Was Honored for His Work with Students Who Say They Learned to Love Science in His Lab
Dr. Sven Kroener
For Dr. Sven Kroener, assistant professor at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, teaching science is more than showing a student how to use a microscope or defining a GABAergic neuron.
“Science is not just data acquisition,” Kroener said. “It’s analysis and asking, ‘Did it do something to my bar graphs? Did it alter my group averages?,’ and then communicating it. If you can put together figures and then make a paper, only then is it science.”
Kroener recently received the first-ever Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring during the Spring 2013 Honors Convocation Ceremony. Created by the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Office of the Provost, the award honors faculty for excelling in the development of UT Dallas undergraduates into future researchers.
“Involvement in research opportunities is an important part of the educational experience and part of what makes UT Dallas graduates successful,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Hobson Wildenthal. “The faculty who provide these opportunities and take time to ensure our students get the full-research experience deserve recognition for their outstanding support and commitment.”
“The ones that are intrinsically motivated are the most fun to teach. I pride myself that I give opportunities to people who want to learn a lot.”
In the three years since he came to UT Dallas from the Medical University of South Carolina, Kroener has worked with 60 undergraduate students in his Cellular and Synaptic Physiology Lab. Together, they study the brain mechanisms behind addiction and schizophrenia. Kroener tries to teach the students more than just laboratory methods by including them in the planning, analysis and reporting phases of the experiment. Students are encouraged to present at conferences and to co-author journal articles with Kroener on the research conducted.
Several students nominated Kroener for the award, saying they learned to view science as not just a subject, but as a career and an enjoyment.
“The ones that are intrinsically motivated are the most fun to teach,” Kroener said. “I pride myself that I give opportunities to people who want to learn a lot.”
Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor, says the in-lab experience with faculty is a distinctive part of the UT Dallas experience.
“This involvement contributes to the great success of our students in gaining admission to graduate school,” Moore said. “We are very proud that Dr. Kroener is the first recipient of the Provost's Mentoring Award, exemplifying excellence in this critical part of our educational mission."
The time spent with the students has benefits beyond the generated research, Kroener added.
“It makes me happy that they work hard in my lab and still have something nice to say,” Kroener said. “They make a significant contribution to the work and are still happy.”
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