UNCG Campus Weekly

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Dr. Olav Rueppell will be Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Professor of Science

Photo of Dr. Olav Rueppel Provost Dana L. Dunn and Dean John Z. Kiss (College of Arts & Sciences) have announced that Dr. Olav Rueppell will be appointed as the Florence Schaeffer Distinguished Professor of Science beginning January 1. In making the announcement, they noted that Rueppell is an exceptional scholar and researcher, teacher, and mentor to students.

This professorship is named for Dr. Florence Schaeffer who joined the Chemistry Department in 1922.  She became head of the department in 1934 and held this position for 30 years.

In making this appointment Dean Kiss stated that “Dr. Rueppell is the consummate teacher-scholar. We are very proud of his accomplishments and believe that he is a strong role model for our faculty.”

As a researcher, he uses honey bees to study the genetics of complex traits, genomics, social behavior, and aging. In addition, he has been addressing the urgent problem of honey bee health, which has been in national headlines. He also is interested in how the complex division of labor among bee colony members evolves, how behavioral specialization is determined, and what consequences at the individual and colony level can be measured.

In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Rueppell has won the UNCG Research Excellence Award in 2009. Since then, he has had 76 peer-reviewed publications in prominent journals. He has successfully acquired many external grants from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, among others.

Regarding this strong research record, Provost Dana Dunn stated that “Professor Rueppell’s impactful research is a great example of how UNC Greensboro’s faculty make a difference by tackling issues and problems of significance.”

Rueppell started at UNCG in 2003 and has made the mentoring and training of students the highest priority in his research program. Each student that he mentors receives a high quality and intensive research experience, the announcement noted.

Five of his mentees have won UNCG Excellence Awards and a sixth won a national award, the White Research Award, for their undergraduate research. Four students have earned their Honor’s Theses under his direction. Nearly all of his mentees have gone on to successful professional careers in the sciences or medicine.

In recognition of his dedication to undergraduate education, Rueppell received the 2016 UNCG Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award and in 2015 the prestigious Mid-Career Mentoring Award from Division of Biology of the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR). He is equally dedicated to graduate mentoring, and he has graduated eight M.S. students and one Ph.D. student.

In addition, he is a superb classroom teacher, consistently receiving excellent student-based evaluations and very strong reviews from his peer faculty members. He has also been active in developing both the undergraduate and graduate curricula in biology, and he also has greatly contributed to service activities at UNCG and beyond.