The Council on Undergraduate Research presented the CUR Fellows awards to Dr. Mark Brodl, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Biology at Trinity University, as well as Dr. Mitchell Malachowsi, Professor of Chemistry at the University of San Diego, at the 2014 CUR Conference, in Washington, D.C.
The CUR Fellows Awards are presented to two CUR members who have developed nationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Each CUR Fellow is also awarded a CUR Student Research Fellowship that they will give to a deserving undergraduate at their respective institutions. CUR Fellows Award recipients have established outstanding records of obtaining funding for their collaborative research with their students, and have published research findings with undergraduate co-authors. They reach out to students of all backgrounds, incorporate research activities into the courses they teach, and lead efforts to institutionalize research on their campuses and across the nation. In sum, they are leaders and role models for countless faculty and students.
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Biology
Mark R. Brodl, the George W. Brackenridge Distinguished Professor of Biology at Trinity University, has established
a national reputation for his work in support of student-faculty research, particularly work with an interdisciplinary focus. One of Dr. Brodl’s former students noted, "In my long career in educational research institutions, I have met and interacted with many different professors, scientists and researchers, and Mark clearly distinguishes himself from all the others as a superlative educator, exceptional communicator, talented researcher, and as someone who is completely dedicated and devoted to his students."
Dr. Brodl’s own research, during his career at Knox College from 1987 through 2001 and since then at Trinity University, has focused on exploring cellular and molecular aspects of heat stress responses in plant secretory cells. He has received more than $5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from other government agencies and private funders. Yet over the past 25 years, he also has served as a research mentor for more than 200 students, including 37 who completed honors theses. At least 17 students have been co-authors with Dr. Brodl on peer-reviewed publications. More than 45 percent of his students have entered PhD, MD, or MD/PhD programs.
External funding for his work has directly supported students in his laboratory, equipped his lab with modern instrumentation, and led to curricular innovations incorporating original research experiences. In addition, many of Dr. Brodl’s funded projects have included faculty collaborations that have resulted in transformative experiences for faculty and students. His own education included a BA in biology from Knox College in 1981, an MS in plant biology from the University of Illinois, and PhD in plant biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1987.
Dr. Brodl’s service to Trinity has included co-chairing a capital campaign that secured support for interdisciplinary programs in the sciences and led to the building of a new $127 million science facility that embodies interdisciplinary science education. His service to the scientific community in support of undergraduate research has been similarly outstanding. He has served in many leadership roles in CUR, including from 1999 to 2008 coordinating biology department external reviews. He himself has completed 22 external reviews to date.
He is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists and is active in that organization, including serving as its treasurer from 2001 to 2009. In 1996 Dr. Brodl founded the Plant Biologists at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions networking group, a forum for promoting research.
A frequent speaker at meetings and institutions across the country, Dr. Brodl also has served on numerous grant-review panels for government and private funders. From 2009-11, he served as a program director for Integrative Organismal Systems in the Biology Directorate at NSF.
Professor of Chemistry
University of San Diego
Mitchell Malachowski’s career-long drive for excellence has been recognized many times during his career as a professor of chemistry at the University of San Diego, where he has won several distinguished service and teaching awards. According to a colleague, "Mitch is beloved by students here not just because he is an outstanding and dedicated teacher, but especially for his infectious enthusiasm for making molecules in the lab." Students engaged in research with Dr. Malachowski receive in-depth exposure to advanced, extramurally funded projects focused on preparing functional materials that mimic biological systems and compounds, leading to an impressive 21 publications with 40 student co-authors. Indeed, his passion for undergraduate research is evident from his ongoing efforts to integrate teaching, scholarship, and student mentoring. He has mentored more than 100 undergraduate researchers since arriving at USD in 1983 after a year teaching at Gettysburg College. Earlier he received his PhD in
organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in chemistry from Rhode Island College.
Dr. Malachowski’s impact as a teacher/mentor/researcher is equaled by his advocacy and devotion to the undergraduate research community. His role as a nationally recognized voice for undergraduate research spans more than two decades. He has been active in CUR since the early 1990’s, holding several leadership positions and serving as President in 2002-2003. He is a regular CUR Quarterly contributor, served as the Coordinator
of CUR institutes from 1997 to 2003, and was instrumental in moving CUR to develop divisions that embrace faculty from all disciplines. He has also prepared and coordinated more than 40 CUR-sponsored (NSF-funded) weekend workshops on undergraduate research issues, attended by more than 2,000 faculty and administrators from 400 institutions. Accurately described as "a provocateur," Dr. Malachowski is fondly known for asking penetrating questions that stimulate deeper thought and discussion about the enterprise of undergraduate research.
His other high-impact activities include a key role in shaping the research culture of six state systems and consortia (affecting 80 institutions) through an NSF- funded initiative. He has also served on numerous on-site chemistry department reviews and has given more than 100 invited talks at institutions and national meetings on issues related to undergraduate research.
While his widespread contributions provide a tangible model of the effective teacher-scholar, arguably his lasting legacy rests with his undergraduate researchers, whose letters of support for his nomination as a CUR Fellow all remarked on his warmth, generosity, and enormous continuing influence on their careers. As one former student commented, "... he continues to be the compassionate mentor and leader I came to
know during my years in undergraduate research." That neatly describes Dr. Malachowski’s devotion to developing lasting connections with his students that go well beyond the confines of the classroom and research laboratory.