COLUMBUS, Miss. – Dr. Bonnie Oppenheimer, associate chair of the Department of Sciences and Mathematics at Mississippi University for Women and professor of mathematics, was honored with the 2016 Kossen Faculty Excellence Award at the university’s commencement activities Saturday.

The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the role of faculty as the heart of the university. It was established in 2004 by Connie Kossen, a 1964 alumna of MUW, and her husband Tom.

The award is based on three fundamentals: excellence in teaching, excellence in scholarly or artistic achievement and excellence in service, preferably both on campus and in communities throughout MUW’s service area.

Further, to be considered for this award, a faculty member must exhibit a commitment to student success in each of these three areas of responsibility.

Oppenheimer joined The W 18 years ago. “Since that time, she has become an important member of the department, who excels in teaching, research and service, and I am pleased to recommend her for this award,” said Dr. Dionne Fortenberry, chair of the Department of Sciences and Mathematics at The W, in her nomination letter.

As associate chair of the department, Oppenheimer is responsible for faculty evaluations and organization of search committees and works with department grants. She also visits community colleges in an effort to help recruit students to The W. Oppenheimer also gives her time to campus organizations, including Faculty Senate, the HEADWAE awards committee, faculty adviser to the Lantern Honor Society and the College Democrats.

She has taught many courses, including classes for non-mathematics majors, as well as courses for mathematics majors. “Bonnie has the ability to effectively present material to a wide variety of students.

“Her course evaluations across the wide range of courses are consistently excellent, and she has become one of the most popular faculty members in the department for many years, so much that she was named Faculty Member of the Year in 2009,” Fortenberry added.

In addition to teaching mathematics, Oppenheimer has excelled in her courses and advising for education majors, where she consistently advises five to seven students. “She tirelessly goes to observe her teacher interns in the field and builds relationships with the mentor teachers,” said Fortenberry.

Professionally she is involved in both the Starkville and MUW branches of the American Association of University for Women, Teacher Education Council, Teacher Education Faculty and played an instrumental role in several National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education accreditation visits. She also played an important part in drafting a proposal for new courses leading to the Institutionally Approved Supplemental Secondary Mathematics Educator Licensure.

In addition, she has served as treasurer of the Mississippi Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators and belongs to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators and the LA/MA Section of the Mathematics Association of America.

Oppenheimer also is actively involved in her community. She shares her musical talent as an oboist and saxophonist as a member of the Starkville Symphony and with the Starkville Community Theater and thesynagogue and church services. She teaches oboe as an adjunct at Mississippi State University.

“Bonnie is an excellent teacher and researcher who works tirelessly in service to the university and the community,” Fortenberry said. “She is an asset to our department, the university and the community. She deserves to be well-rewarded for the great job that she has done.”

May 17, 2016
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
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