Chemistry Professor David Bowers Earns Outstanding Teaching Award

Chemistry Professor David Bowers truly believes in his students and wants to see them succeed, whether it be the nervous freshman in his First-Year Experience course or the junior pre-medicine major in his General Chemistry II course.

It is his passion for student success and willingness to do what it takes to help his students that led him to win one of the 2019 Outstanding Teaching Awards.

The Outstanding Teaching Award honors three full-time, non-tenure track and part-time faculty members every year for being highly motivated, dedicated and successful educators. The Outstanding Teaching Award is sponsored by the University Teaching Council, but in order to win the award professors must first be nominated by students or alumni.

“The fact that I was nominated by several students, that’s what really mattered. It wasn’t as important if I won or not.”

According to Bowers, the best part of being recognized through this award is that his students took the time to nominate him, although he said that winning was certainly the icing on the cake.

“The most important thing is that I care about their success, and I show that to them. When they see that, it goes a long way,” Bowers said in recognition of the award.

Bowers has been teaching chemistry at Kent State for seven years and currently teaches General Chemistry I and II, a First-Year Experience section and Chemistry in Our World, an online course.

Bowers’ students appreciate his ability to go above and beyond in the classroom. In order to achieve the Outstanding Teaching Award, students must nominate faculty before a committee reviews the nominees and selects winners.

Casey Edwards, ‘19, biology alumna, said she owes much of her college success to Bowers.

“It is quite obvious that Dr. Bowers is passionate about the material. He always came to class extremely animated and would become visibly excited when we demonstrated our understanding of the subject,” Edwards said. “He found new and innovative ways to share the content so that no class was ever the same. His enthusiasm ensures that no student finds his chemistry classes boring and even inspires them to observe and ask questions about chemistry we encounter in our everyday lives.”

In Edwards’ nomination of Bowers, she also mentioned that he always encouraged students to attend office hours with any questions they may have on the material.

“Dr. Bowers was also one of the very few professors that I had during my time at Kent State that I felt comfortable enough to attend his office hours. There were often large crowds at his office hours but Dr. Bowers always made a point to ensure everyone was helped before leaving,” Edwards said.

Bowers credited his desire to teach much to those who educated him, both in his undergraduate studies at Gannon University and his experience in graduate school at the University of Akron.

“I remember being a junior and senior in undergrad. I watched my instructors. And they really did love their job, and it was obvious,” Bowers said.

It was professors like these who inspired Bowers to teach and continue to inspire him to be the best educator he can be for students.

Bowers went on to say that he believes teaching is one of the most rewarding careers. He said some of the most fulfilling things have been watching students who didn’t think they could even pass the class succeed past their hopes, and also seeing students who were not interested in a science degree change their major after taking his courses.

“There are experiences in your teaching career that humble you, this was definitely the most humbling experience I’ve had,” Bowers said.

Bowers was celebrated at the University Teaching Council’s Celebrating College Teaching conference luncheon and awards ceremony on Oct. 25, 2019. For more information on the Outstanding Teaching Award, visit www.kent.edu/utc/ota-recipients.

Learn more about Kent State’s chemistry department

Photo names: From left to right: Yaorong Zheng, Sanjaya Abeysirigunawardena, Ruth Leslie, David Bowers, Melissa Dyer, Chris Fenk, Mike Tubergen.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 9:45am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 8:24am
WRITTEN BY:
Katie Null