Prof. Bagdassarian Recognized with Teaching Excellence Award| May 7, 2012
A measure of Professor Bagdassarian's excellence in teaching can be found in the high student enrollments that follow him from course to course. He developed the course Biophysical Chemistry to bridge the areas of physical chemistry with biology, and thereby improve the offerings to chemistry minors, with a resulting tremendous increase in the number of chemistry minors. Entrusted with the course Freshman Honors Chemistry, from which the department draws more than half of its majors, he again drew increased enrollments. And when he taught regular general chemistry for the first time last fall, his reputation among students who had yet to enter William & Mary drew a very large number of students, who rewarded his teaching with excellent student evaluations. Professor Bagdassarian has also worked creatively and collaboratively to add innovative courses to the curriculum. Included among these is the upper-level elective Self-Organization in Life and Chemical Sciences, taught at a high level of sophistication, which is cross-listed with the departments of Biology and Applied Science and taken by students in all three departments. His collaboration with Professor Elizabeth Mead, of the Department of Art and Art History, resulted in a new interdisciplinary course, Emergent Dialogues: The Intersection of Art and Science, that explores how art functions as a complex system. Professor Bagdassarian is also the only chemist who co-teaches in the interdisciplinary Environmental Science and Policy Program.
In 2003 Professor Bagdassarian was awarded the College's Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award, and he is currently completing the final year of a three-year appointment as a University Professor for Teaching Excellence. It is fitting that he now also be recognized with the Arts and Sciences 2012 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.