FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: October 3, 2002
Contact: Donna McCracken, 206-6716
SPRINGFIELD -- Michael Lemke, assistant professor of Biology at the University of Illinois at Springfield, has been named University Scholar for 2002-2003. He is one of 14 faculty members, and the only one from UIS, chosen for this award honoring and rewarding outstanding teachers and scholars on the three U of I campuses.
Lemke will receive a stipend of $10,000 a year for three years to support his scholarly activities.
Lemke joined the UIS Biology program in 1999; his special areas of interest include aquatic ecology and microbiology. His professional activities connect him to Nobel Prize winners and other distinguished scientists and he has attracted national and international attention through his work on the editorial board of Microbial Ecology, a major journal in the discipline, and as a reviewer for Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He also serves as senior science adviser and co-academic director of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s Leadership Program on Biodiversity. In December 2001, he was an invited participant in an international project to initiate scientific study of the Paraná River in conjunction with the University of Maringa, Brazil.
In three years at UIS, Lemke has published six articles in professional journals and has eight others pending. Materials recommending Lemke for the University Scholar award note that this productivity is “impressive in a discipline that requires extensive field and lab work for most
publications,” and is all the more impressive because he is a “scholar with an inordinately heavy teaching load.”
Recognized as a “conscientious and gifted teacher and a dedicated, energetic, and insightful scientist,” Lemke consistently receives high evaluations from his students, and his classes maintain solid enrollments even though they are considered “tough.” He currently teaches classroom and online courses, as well as courses in UIS’ Capital Scholars program, and supervises a number of undergraduate and graduate student research projects, theses, and applied study placements.
He and colleague David Jenkins (a 1998-99 University Scholar) were instrumental in obtaining a grant from the National Science Foundation to outfit a state-of-the-art micro-imaging laboratory for UIS, as well as a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the study of the LaGrange wetlands.
Lemke previously taught at Pace University, the University of West Alabama, Kent State University, Michigan Technological University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has also served as a visiting scientist with the American Museum of Natural History, an invited member of the Emiquon Science Advisory Council (working with the Nature Conservancy), and a biological technician with the National Park Service in Alaska.
He earned the B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the M.S. at the University of British Columbia, the Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University, and has been a postdoctoral research associate at Kent State and the University of Alabama.
The University Scholars program was inaugurated in 1985 when the U of I Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary. The program’s purpose, then and now, is to strengthen the University in meeting today’s challenges and tomorrow’s promise. Faculty do not apply for this award; they are nominated by their peers. A committee of senior faculty make the final selection.