UNC Wilmington Chemistry Professor Receives UNC Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award

Michael Messina, professor of chemistry and biochemistry

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Michael Messina, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, has been named a 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award recipient by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina System.

A UNCW faculty member since 1996, Messina has previously received the UNCW Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award and a Distinguished Professorship and the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a prestigious national chemistry teaching award that included an unrestricted research grant of $60,000. He received his undergraduate degree from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

UNCW Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Chair James Reeves said that Messina has excelled at combining undergraduate and graduate teaching with theoretical chemistry research, often  working with students directly on cutting-edge scientific research.

"Mike teaches courses at all levels and is equally successful engaging students in large undergraduate sections and one-on-one in the laboratory," said Chancellor Gary Miller.

Over the past 16 years, Messina has mentored 71 UNCW undergraduates in his lab. Of those students, 27 have been published in peer-reviewed journals, 42 have pursued graduate degrees and three have become professors of chemistry at other universities.

"Although he teaches a course that is among the most difficult in the curriculum, he consistently receives the highest student evaluations in the department, and is one of the key instructors who encourage talented undergraduates to become chemistry majors," said Reeves.

The selection committee noted they were impressed by Messina's inclusion of undergraduates in his research and his clear and helpful teaching methods.

The award will be presented to Messina at the UNCW spring commencement exercises.

Media contact:
Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, 910.508.3127 or fischettid@uncw.edu