• Ben Pierce
    Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce, professor of biology at Southwestern University and holder of the Lillian Nelson Pratt Chair in Biology, has been selected to receive the 2012-2013 Exemplary Teaching Award from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Each year the Board allows Southwestern to designate one teacher to receive this award, which includes a $500 cash prize.

Criteria for receiving the award include excellence in teaching; civility and concern for students and colleagues; commitment to value-centered education; and service to students, the institution and the community.

Pierce joined the Southwestern faculty in 2005 after teaching at Baylor University for more than 20 years. He teaches courses on genetics, biodiversity and evolution. His research focuses on population genetics and amphibians, including the Georgetown salamander, which is currently being considered for listing as an endangered species.

Pierce has served as chair of the Natural Sciences Division at Southwestern and is the lead faculty member involved in the planning and fundraising for Southwestern’s new science center.

He also is the author of Genetics: A Conceptual Approach, a widely used college textbook that is now in its fourth edition. He is a fellow of the Texas Academy of Science and served as president of that organization in 2010-2011.

“Dr. Ben Pierce is an outstanding teacher and scholar who is deeply committed to working with his students both in and out of the classroom,” said Provost Jim Hunt. “He is the author of one of the most widely used college textbooks on genetics and is a well-respected leader on campus. His work on the planning for the new science building will ensure that the space is designed in a manner that will optimize student learning. He is very deserving of this recognition by the Board of Higher Education and Ministries and Southwestern University.”

Pierce earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Southern Methodist University and his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He started his teaching career at Connecticut College before joining the Baylor faculty in 1984.