Professor of Biology Karen Schmeichel has been awarded the Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Chair at Oglethorpe University, President Nick Ladany and Provost Kathryn McClymond announced on Jan. 24.
The Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Trust was established in 1968 by the Callaway Foundation, Inc. to encourage the enrichment of academic programs at designated Georgia colleges. The Callaway Professorial Chair aims to help these institutions retain and add exemplary faculty members.
“Dr. Schmeichel is a highly dedicated, passionate, and innovative educator and mentor, and a strong advocate for student success,” the announcement stated.
Dr. Schmeichel joined the Oglethorpe faculty in 2006 and was named full professor in 2020. She holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Utah and earned her B.A. in chemistry and biology at Middlebury College.
While at Oglethorpe, Dr. Schmeichel has contributed extensive academic and administrative leadership. She served as chair of the Division of Natural Sciences during the planning for the Cousins Center for Science and Innovation. She led curriculum changes in the introductory biology course, led the team that inaugurated the Public Health concentration, and has been a pioneer in service learning. She also originated the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Journal Club to provide a way for faculty to discuss developments in teaching and share ideas about their own approaches.
Additionally, Dr. Schmeichel has cultivated important initiatives with community partners. Under her leadership, Oglethorpe was granted funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to develop programs for inclusive excellence in STEM. She also established relationships with Mercer and Emory Universities, which continue to help Oglethorpe students find internships and access top scientific equipment.
Previously, Dr. Schmeichel received the Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award, and was named the Manning M. Pattillo, Jr. Professor of Liberal Arts and a PALM Fellow by the PALM (Promoting Active Learning & Mentoring) Network, a collaboration of the Genetics Society of America, American Society for Cell Biology, and American Society of Plant Biologists.
“Retaining top faculty is vital to Oglethorpe’s success,” the announcement stated. “Our students benefit most from faculty who are not only knowledgeable in their fields and effective in the classroom, but also intimately involved in university-wide curriculum development, initiating relationships with other academic and professional institutions, and connecting with students personally in informal, day-to-day campus interactions.
Oglethorpe is committed to pursuing support for highly effective student-focused faculty, like Dr. Schmeichel, who offer their energy and expertise to our students.”