Faculty Senate presents Leadership as a Chair/School Director Recognition Award to John Laird

john-laird
John Laird

As a professor in Bowling Green State University’s physics and astronomy department, and as chair for four, four-year terms, Dr. John Laird has supported the needs and goals of both BGSU students and regional high school students for more than 30 years.

In recognition of this dedication, Laird was presented with the Faculty Senate Leadership as a Chair/School Director Recognition Award at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards held April 9. The award is given to recognize a department chair or school director whose leadership has contributed significantly to the University. Laird received a $1,000 cash award as part of the recognition.

In his nomination, Dr. Andrew Layden, professor, highlighted Laird’s attention to curricular innovation, improved student-faculty relations and outreach to the community as reasons he deserved this award.

“In addition to bringing many elements of modern physics pedagogy into his own classes, he has consistently encouraged other faculty to try new teaching practices,” Layden wrote.

This includes the creation of smaller sections of PHYS 1010, allowing studio physics approaches to meld lecture, lab and problem-solving experiences into a single, well-equipped classroom; the development of a new BG Perspective lab course, which will include the studio model; and the development of a Bachelor of Arts degree program for industry-bound students to complement the Bachelor of Science degree program.

Laird’s work with Dr. Tracy Huziak-Clark in the College of Education and Human Development has resulted in the externally funded STAMPS program, which has for seven years led to vital outreach to the community. Together, they have written grants totaling nearly $1 million to fund the program and have organized annual summer sources to introduce in-service, middle- and high-school STEM teachers to a student-centered, inquiry-based modeling instruction method.

In his nomination, Dr. Lewis Fulcher, professor, highlighted the role Laird has played in faculty development, the growth of the department’s research and teaching missions, and Laird’s commitment to student-faculty relations and community outreach.

“Most of my direct contact with John has been through my service as Graduate Coordinator,” Fulcher wrote. “During the past 10-12 years, the number of graduate students available to participate in the department’s research and teaching missions has grown substantially. John has an unusual talent to see the opportunities for obtaining additional resources to support graduate students.”

In addition to his teaching and chair duties, Laird has served as faculty mentor to BGSU’s chapter of Feed My Starving Children, a group that provides meals to more than 700,000 hungry children around the world.

Dr. Raymond Craig, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also supported Laird for this award, writing, “As chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Laird has performed exceptionally well as both a manager and leader of the unit. He demonstrates strong leadership across both levels: to the department and also to the college.”