Biology's Alix Darden named top S.C. professor
Citadel Biology Professor Alix Darden has been named South Carolina Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States.
Darden has been a member of The Citadel biology faculty since 1995. She also holds an adjunct position as associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Medical University of South Carolina. Darden earned a bachelor of science in biology from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She teaches general biology, genetics and immunology.
“Receiving the CASE South Carolina Professor of the Year award is truly a great honor. This award reflects The Citadel’s commitment to teaching and Citadel students’ commitment to learning,” Darden said.
CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering Professors of the Year since 1981. Support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including TIAA-CREF and Phi Beta Kappa.
Samuel M. Hines, Jr., dean and provost of the college, said Darden is “the best of the best” among Citadel faculty and richly deserves this recognition for her outstanding work with students and service to the college. Darden was The Citadel’s Governor’s Professor of the Year nominee as well.
“She has distinguished herself in every aspect of her work at The Citadel,” Hines said. “She epitomizes the ‘teacher-scholar’ faculty ideal.”
Darden credits her students and The Citadel for allowing her to combine her two passions in her professional career – genetics and quality science education. Both also happen to be her primary areas of research interest.
“The strong commitment to teaching and support for research at The Citadel has allowed me to follow both these passions but I could not have gotten here without Citadel students,” she said. “Every change and innovation in my classes has come about because a student or students have challenged me to teach them in ways that enhance their learning.”
Each semester she asks her students how she can be better. “Don’t ask if you don’t want to know, because they can be painfully honest, but this honesty has pushed me to reflect on the student learning in my classes and implement many innovations in my classes,” Darden said.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie “to do all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching.” The foundation is the only advanced-study center for teachers in the world and the third-oldest foundation in the nation. Its nonprofit research activities are conducted by a small group of distinguished scholars.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,400 universities, colleges, schools, and related organizations in 61 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information, and standards in the fields of educational fundraising, communications, marketing and alumni relations.