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Wesley College Professor Wins 2012 Reid Award for Outstanding Teaching in Chemistry


05.04.2012

Dr. Malcolm J. D’Souza, professor of chemistry at Wesley College, in Dover, Delaware, has won the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) 2012 E. Emmett Reid Award, which recognizes high-quality teaching in chemistry at small colleges in the ACS Mid-Atlantic region. 

D’Souza has published 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and mentored more than 100 undergraduate students since 1992. Forty-seven undergraduate co-authors appear on his list of peer-reviewed publications. Forty-one of D’Souza’s students have received national awards.

But his work is bigger even than these impressive achievements. Patricia Dwyer, Wesley’s vice president for academic affairs, said, “Dr. D’Souza has done nothing short of transforming this institution” through his unflagging enthusiasm and vision for undergraduate student research.

D’Souza currently serves as co-director for undergraduate research on a $17.4-million National Institutes of Health grant to the State of Delaware, a collaboration with the University of Delaware and other partners around the state. When the university first began working with Wesley on this project in 2002, Wesley had never participated in federally-funded research.

Through the collaboration and the dedicated leadership of Dr. D’Souza over the past decade, Wesley has revamped its undergraduate science programs to foster a directed student research component.  There have been more than 175 student poster presentations at regional or national scientific conferences, and more are expected this year.

D’Souza also serves as the college’s sponsored research officer, helping other departments develop grant proposals and pursuing grant funding for cross-campus projects. With D’Souza’s oversight, Wesley recently received its first federal grant as a lead institution to update facilities in the science building.

But despite these larger impacts, the mark of a great teacher shines brightest in his or her students. More than 80 percent of the students D’Souza has mentored at Wesley have moved on to graduate school or professional programs, all with sponsorship of some kind.

Stefan Hailey, a 2009 Wesley graduate with a minor in chemistry, said D’Souza was instrumental in his decision to become a science major, to pursue a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, and to his current employment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a flow cytometry specialist.

Three times in the last four years, Wesley student posters have been selected for the Posters on the Hill event sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Members of both congressional houses attend the event, for which just 60 students are selected nationwide each year.

Kathleen Curran, chair of Wesley’s science department, summed it up: “Dr. D’Souza’s enthusiasm and work ethic inspire his students and peers alike. Through his efforts and guidance our students have been provided with new opportunities.”

Wesley College, a fully accredited college with undergraduate and graduate programs, provides an exceptional student-centered learning community in the liberal arts tradition. For more information about Wesley College, visit www.wesley.edu.