Distinguished Teacher

2000 - Karen Klyczek

Karen KlyczekA specialist in teaching biology and biotechnology has been named the Distinguished Teacher at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Professor Karen Klyczek becomes the 37th recipient of the most prestigious award presented by the University to recognize excellence in fulfilling the University's 125-year-old primary mission of undergraduate education.

Klyczek, who joined the faculty in 1989, presently serves as the chair of the biology department.

Selection for the award is through polling of graduating seniors and recent graduates. Klyczek will be invited to deliver the 2000 Fall Commencement address.

At UWRF, Klyczek teaches a wide range of courses, including cell biology, immunology, virology, molecular biology, microbiology, introduction to biology, and animal cell culture. She also is a member of the University's interdisciplinary biotechnology program that reaches scores of students across two colleges and numerous departments, as well as biotechnology teachers and agriculture instructors across Wisconsin and Minnesota.

That continuous contact with students earned Klyczek accolades from graduating seniors and recent graduates who nominated her for the award.

Among the many comments were:

"Dr. Klyczek takes great joy in teaching and I believe that it shows to all of her students."

"She is enthusiastic about teaching, gets the students involved, has a sense of humor, and creates a fun learning environment."

"Excellent teacher. Delivers information clearly and completely. Makes students think ... generates interest in the subject. Major part of why I went on to Grad School."

"She loves what she teaches and builds good bonds with students."

The nomination was greeted warmly by Dean Gorden Hedahl of the College of Arts & Sciences.

"I applaud the selection of Karen Klyczek as this year's Distinguished Teacher. I know her to be extremely committed to her students and to teaching and advising them. She is an articulate campus leader in the efforts to involve undergraduate students in research, scholarly and creative activities. Dr. Klyczek is a wonderful role model and an excellent representative of the many dedicated teachers at UW-River Falls."

Klyczek has been extraordinarily successful at attracting nine state and federal grants totaling $1.45 million from such agencies as the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health and the Eisenhower Math & Science Education Act to develop curricular materials for classes in biology and biotechnology. Often these funds are used to train returning K-12 teachers in the sciences and biotechnology, as well as for UWRF undergraduates.

In addition to her teaching and administrative responsibilities as department chair, Klyczek continues to be active in scholarly publishing and presentations, with more than three dozen to her credit.

She also is an active consultant locally and nationally. Among her many professional contributions have been to provide assistance as the regional coordinator for the University of Wisconsin System BioLink Project; as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant Program; adviser to the National FFA Agricultural Biotechnology Education Initiative, advisory board member of the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program in Biotechnology; consultant to the River Falls School District Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Course Development project; consultant to the Wisconsin CESA Districts 10 and 11 Biotechnology Curriculum Development Project; and adviser to the National Science Foundation Undergraduate Biotechnology Curriculum Development Project. She also has been an technical article reviewer for such publications as "Bioscene: the Journal of College Biology Teaching," "The American Biology Teacher," and "the Journal of Immunology."

At the University, she is active in institutional governance, having served on the Faculty Senate, the Academic Program and Policy Committee, Women in Science Committee and the institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Klyczek joined the faculty after completing a post-doctoral cancer research fellowship at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She holds a doctorate in biochemistry from UW-Madison and a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Augustana College.

She was previously honored at the University with the Outstanding Faculty Award in the science division of the College of Arts & Sciences.