Wormuth recognized by Dean for outstanding teaching
John Wormuth has been with the Department of Oceanography since 1972, and despite health setbacks last year he still managed to make it to every single one of his classes and even filled in for other professors when needed. That dedication is just one reason College of Geosciences Dean Kate Miller honored him at this year's college awards ceremony.
Although he has taught many different biological oceanography classes, most recently Wormuth has focused his attention on the undergraduate introductory oceanography lecture and lab. These two classes can have an enrollment of up to 900 students a semester.
"Despite the large workload that organizing these classes entails, John has also continued to teach regular oceanography 251 classes, almost always picking one of the large sections," Chapman said. "He is one of the best teachers within the department, well able to mix video and other presentations with lecturing."
Oceanographer Shari Yvon-Lewis said that Wormuth "essentially wrote the lab manual when there was none available that addressed the needs of our students."
"He tries to keep the content and the access as up-to-date as possible to keep the new generations of students engaged," Yvon-Lewis said. "This is difficult in a non-majors lab class."
She added that it was "quite a feat" to manage the logistics of so many labs while maintaining fresh and engaging course content, which reflects his dedication to the college of geosciences.
Oceanography Regents' Professor Mary Jo Richardson called Wormuth "a stellar teacher, a devoted departmental citizen, and a mentor for graduate students."
"Dr. Wormuth frequently steps in to help with the teaching needs of the department when other faculty are ill, injured, or on cruises," Richardson said. "His dedication to his students is remarkable, both his undergraduate and his graduate students."
Wormuth received his doctorate in biological oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1971. Although he currently focuses more on teaching, his current research interests include the annual changes in small aquatic creatures like krill in the Antarctic; the geographic distribution and variation of animals such as octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish; and the animals that inhabit sperm whale feeding areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Katie Cowart