UNCG Campus Weekly

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Dr. Joseph Starobin will receive UNC Board of Governors Teaching Award

Photo of Dr. Joseph Starobin talking with studentsIt’s the highest teaching honor given in the UNC system each year, one faculty member from each university.

Dr. Joseph Starobin will receive this year’s UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. He will be recognized at Friday’s excellence awards ceremony in the EUC Auditorium and he will receive the award at UNCG Commencement.

UNCG associate professor of nanoscience at The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, Starobin career has been devoted to the application of methods of theoretical, mathematical and computational physics to cardiovascular research.

He has organized and led interdisciplinary clinical and experimental biomedical studies in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic, Duke Medical Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Moses Cone Health System  and UNCG Department of Exercise and Sport Science.

His teaching is a priority. He and his students work in an interdisciplinary field, he explains, and he wants to prepare his students for their future careers.

Photo Dr. Joseph StarobinParticularly noteworthy is his ability to make mathematical concepts real, useful and applicable and to prepare students for further studies in the interdisciplinary field of nanoscience by strengthening their fluency in math. One of Starobin’s colleagues explains that the exciting opportunities in the field of nanoscience are also its challenges. Nanoscience resides at the intersection of many sciences, yet few students come prepared with strong backgrounds in both mathematics and physics. Professor Starobin, originally slated to teach Nanophysics, saw students struggling and volunteered to tailor and teach the Nanomath course – with astonishing results. Students are ever more prepared to engage with the innovative field of nanoscience. Colleagues and students alike praise the challenging curricular innovations that Starobin patiently implemented in order to meet the students’ needs.

Starobin is also a leader in the K-12 outreach program that JSNN maintains. He has trained, advised and assisted many middle school students for various science projects. His most outstanding accomplishment in this respect to date was the victory of his team from Mendenhall Middle School whose project was one of only 16 to be executed on board the space shuttle Endeavor in April, 2011, as part of the NASA Student Spaceflight Experiment Program. (See articles here and here.)

His accomplishments as a teacher and mentor have been recognized on and off campus. He received the JSNN Teaching Excellence Award twice (2012 and 2014). Numerous letters written by colleagues in support of his nomination clearly indicate that Starobin is a leader in his field both nationally and internationally. In evaluations, students consistently praise him for his passion for teaching. Graduate students writing in support of his nomination attribute their own academic and professional success to his willingness to mentor them beyond the classroom and to include them in his research. They emphasize the care with which Starobin mentors their work and appreciate the opportunities to publish with him.

Starobin received his master’s degree in Mathematical Physics from the Moscow Physico-Technical Institute in Moscow in 1975 and his doctoral degree in Mechanics of Fluids from the same institution in 1982. He joined UNCG in 1997 and has served as an associate professor in the Department of Nanoscience at JSNN since 2010.

Much of this announcement courtesy UNC System web site.