Pepperdine biology professor earns prestigious award

Dr. Stephen D. Davis, distinguished professor of biology at Pepperdine University, has been named by Baylor University as this year’s recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only national teaching award presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching.

The Cherry Award program at Baylor is designed to honor great teachers, stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Individuals nominated for the award have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring and long-lasting effect on students, along with a record of distinguished scholarship.

As the 2008 recipient, Davis will receive a $200,000 award, plus $25,000 for his home department at Pepperdine. He will teach in residence at Baylor during the fall. A renowned expert on plant adaptations to fire, freezing and drought, Davis visited the Baylor campus in October to present a Cherry finalist lecture on “Undergraduate Research, Celebrating the Spice of Science.”

“I am greatly honored and humbled to be a recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching,” Davis said. “This is a great tribute not only to me personally but also to the concept of promoting undergraduate research as a form of teaching. Teaching is an honorable and rewarding profession on its own account. An added benefit accrues when the students you teach exceed expectations, engage in the personal discovery of new knowledge through original research and reveal to you, the teacher, new insight into the subject being taught.”

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