Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt, senior lecturer in chemistry, has been selected as one of two 2009 recipients of the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award at Texas A&M University.

The presidential professor designation, which is retained by recipients for the duration of their teaching careers, is the highest honor bestowed by the university for teaching excellence. It includes a $25,000 after-tax cash stipend that is believed to be the highest-valued awards in the nation presented annually by a single institution to honor its faculty.

Keeney-Kennicutt ranks as the first non-tenured/tenure-track faculty member to receive the prestigious honor since the presidential professor award program was established in 2003 to underscore the importance of teaching at a major research university.

A member of the Texas A&M faculty since 1984, Keeney-Kennicutt is associate director of Texas A&M's First Year Chemistry Program and a longtime member of the Texas A&M's popular Chemistry Road Show, an educational outreach program that introduces an estimated 2,000 people -- predominantly Texas schoolchildren -- to the wonders of chemistry each year. For the past 10 years, she also has served as primary organizer of Texas A&M's Chemistry Open House and Science Exploration Gallery, hosted each fall by the Texas A&M Local Section of the American Chemical Society in conjunction with the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry as part of National Chemistry Week.

Although Keeney-Kennicutt has worked in a variety of science-related professions, from research scientist to laboratory supervisor, she cites teaching as her "most personally rewarding." Her teaching philosophy is summed up in simple but effective twist on the Golden Rule: "Teach your students in the same way as you would want to be taught -- with enthusiasm and with love for the subject, combined with respect and compassion for the student." She previously has been recognized by The Association of Former Students with the Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching at both the university (2001) and college (1991) levels, as well as by Gamma Sigma Delta (honor society for agriculture) with its Outstanding Teacher Award (1998).

Nominations for the presidential professorships are made annually by each of the university's 10 colleges, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Student Government and the Graduate Student Council, with each entity making one nomination. The Faculty Senate reviews and narrows the list, and the president then makes the final selections.

Keeney-Kennicutt is the fourth College of Science faculty member to merit the coveted honor since its inception in 2003, the same year in which Professor of Physics William H. Bassichis earned selection as one of the award's two inaugural recipients. Professors of Chemistry David E. Bergbreiter and John L. Hogg also received the honor in 2006 and 2007, respectively.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt, (979) 845-3256 or kennicutt@mail.chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt

    Keeney-Kennicutt is one of four Presidential Professors for Teaching Excellence in the College of Science and the first non-tenured/tenure-track recipient in the seven-year history of Texas A&M University's most prestigious award for teaching performance.

  • 8 AM Wakeup Call

    Texas A&M University President Dr. Elsa A. Murano (right), along with Texas A&M Provost and Vice President for Academics Dr. Jeffrey S. Vitter (far right) and Texas A&M College of Science Dean Dr. H. Joseph Newton (not pictured) surprised Dr. Keeney-Kennicutt in her Heldenfels Hall classroom Monday (Apr. 27) morning with her award announcement. (Photograph courtesy of Dr. H. Joseph Newton.)

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