Copeland Honored with NSM Teaching Award

Copeland Honored with NSM Teaching Award
Award Recognizes Faculty for Engaging and Challenging their Students

Peter Copeland
Peter Copeland receives the John C. Butler Excellence in Teaching Award from Dean Mark Smith.
The 2012 winners of NSM’s John C. Butler Excellence in Teaching Award have a few things in common - patience, the ability to clarify complex topics, and a willingness to spend time outside class helping students.

Peter Copeland, associate professor of geology, is one of the 2012 recipients of the Butler Excellence in Teaching Award. Established in memory of former NSM Dean, John Butler, the award recognizes faculty members who best engage and challenge their students and who share their enthusiasm for the subject matter they teach. Rebecca Forrest, instructional and research assistant professor of physics, is the other Butler award recipient.

The Butler award is given each year to one tenure/tenure-track faculty member and one instructional faculty member and includes a $5,000 prize. Nominations may be made by NSM departments, student organizations, faculty, students, and staff. Copeland received letters of nomination and support from faculty members, current students, and former students.

Joining UH in 1990, Copeland’s teaching repertoire includes courses such as physical geology, historical geology, and petrography. New initiatives of his include a course called “Dinosaurs, Mars and the Age of the Earth” and a book on effective scientific communication, “Communicating Rocks: Writing, Speaking, and Thinking about Geology” (2011).

Letters in support of Copeland’s nomination described a “passion for his work, which comes through in his captivating lectures. This passion, combined with his wealth of knowledge, helps to make difficult conceptual ideas accessible to a wide cross-section of University of Houston undergraduates.” His style and enthusiasm for his subject matter resonates with students who are fulfilling their core scientific requirements as well as those who plan to make a career in Earth Science.

Copeland received his award at the NSM Tribute to Scholars, Leaders and Partners in Excellence Luncheon.

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics