Chemistry professor Michael Crimmins selected for 2016 BOG Teaching Excellence Award

Michael Crimmins (photo by Lars Sahl)
Michael Crimmins (photo by Lars Sahl)

The Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina has selected University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Distinguished Professor Michael T. Crimmins, Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, for a 2016 Award for Excellence in Teaching. Crimmins is one of 17 recipients, nominated by special committees on their home campuses and selected by the Board of Governors’ Committee on Personnel and Tenure.

Crimmins earned his B.A. from Hendrix College, Ph.D. at Duke University and completed his postdoctoral studies at the California Institute of Technology. A UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Chemistry faculty member for 34 years, he is also the Director of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program, which aims to increase diversity among future science leaders and provides a pathway to success for students who aspire to become leading scientists in an increasingly interdisciplinary world.

Crimmins is being recognized for his passion, commitment to students, innovation and consistently high standards, which he couples with a dedication to help students achieve those standards.

“Michael Crimmins has made exceptional contributions to teaching throughout his career,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “He continues to provide extraordinary leadership in the implementation of innovative educational methods and is a beloved mentor who motivates students to achieve. I am especially grateful to him for the important work he is doing to build our Chancellor’s Science Scholars program and develop the scientists and innovators of tomorrow. Carolina is fortunate to call Michael our own and we are incredibly proud of him for earning this prestigious and well-deserved honor.”

Students attest to the learning environment that Crimmins creates, especially for courses, like organic chemistry, that cause fear and anxiety in many students. He challenges his students, but also provides them with the tools and support to achieve mastery levels beyond their expectations. When observing one of his classes – with more than 200 students actively discussing organic chemistry – Crimmins engaging teaching style and creative use of innovative educational techniques is evident. One student noted, “This previously intimidating course made me shake in my boots, but I would retake this class with this teacher 100 times over.”

Crimmins will receive his award during UNC-Chapel Hill’s spring graduation ceremony.

Award citations and photos for all 17 recipients can be found on the University of North Carolina website: