Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching Presented to M. Patricia Warunek

Teaneck, NJ (September 28, 2006)—Fairleigh Dickinson University honored M. Patricia Warunek, professor of biological sciences and director of the University honors program at FDU’s Metropolitan campus, with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching on September 27, 2006.

“In the words of the great poet William Butler Yeats, ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’ For countless students, you have sparked the fires of inspiration, while also serving as a beacon of excellence to your peers.” began Dr. Willard Gingerich, University provost and senior vice president, when presenting the award. “A powerful beam of light shines through the entire campus. That beam of light is you,” He continued. “You’ve shined your light on FDU since 1970, and, with wisdom, fortitude and, most of all, heart, you have reached the summit of your calling.”

Through the years, Warunek has taught such courses as cell biology, molecular genetics and over-the-counter drugs. From chromosomes to cold medications, she presents complex subjects in easily understood and compelling presentations.

Warunek has prided herself on tailoring her teaching to the changing needs of her students. She has developed new undergraduate and graduate courses, and kept pace with the revolutionary findings in her field. She took clinical courses to better connect with her many nursing students and gained her BS in nursing from FDU in four years, all the while teaching full time.

Warunek’s teaching talents are no secret, and her courses are regularly filled to the brim. “That so many want to enroll is ample tribute indeed, however what students say when the course is over is even more impressive,” said Gingerich when presenting the award. “They commonly call you the best teacher they have ever had, and they talk about your patience and professionalism. They cite your thorough knowledge of the topics at hand, and praise your preparation and your willingness to always be there for them. But, perhaps above all, they simply say that learning with Dr. Warunek is fun.”

Warunek’s love of learning has led her into another valuable role. Since 1984, she has been a director of the University Honors Program. She served as tri-campus coordinator for nearly a decade and, since 1992, she has guided the program on the Metropolitan Campus. Under her dynamic leadership, the program has soared to tremendous heights, with more than 150 students from around the world. From the creation of an Honors House to the incorporation of exciting on- and off-campus programs, this program has become a model for preparing world citizens.

“In everything you do, your students see in you all that is great and noble about this profession, and they carry with them lessons to last a lifetime. For so brilliantly lighting the fires that fuel our students’ dreams we salute you with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching,” said Gingerich.

M. Patricia Warunek

Gretchen Johnson

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