Cynthia P. Tidwell of University of Montevallo is the recipient of the 2017 COPLAC Charles Dunn Award. This award recognizes a faculty member whose commitment to student success goes “above and beyond” the classroom and office, the traditional roles of teacher, academic advisor, and mentor. She/he will have demonstrated, over the course of many years, extraordinary attention to students as individuals who sometimes face unique challenges, both on and off campus, that may compromise their academic performance.
Examples of student-centered service “above and beyond” are myriad and include: hosting an undergraduate who would otherwise be alone for the holidays, stepping in to assist with transportation to the airport or for a medical appointment, or extending a gesture of friendship when a loved one has been lost. The review committee seeks to recognize a COPLAC faculty colleague who consistently practices the vision of a public liberal arts campus as a community dedicated to learning on a human scale.
To learn more about Charles Dunn and the award, please visit coplac.org/awards.
A member of the faculty at the University of Montevallo since 2000, Cynthia P. Tidwell is a Professor of Chemistry and Coordinator of the Undergraduate Research Program. Prior to becoming a faculty member at UM, she completed her doctoral work in physical chemistry at The University of Alabama. Dr. Tidwell is rigorously active in the areas of teaching, research and service. The University of Montevallo National Alumni Association named her the recipient of the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award for 2012.
In addition to excellence in the classroom, Dr. Tidwell has dedicated a large portion of her time to carrying out undergraduate research projects with chemistry students. She believes that undergraduate research is the pinnacle in undergraduate education, an opportunity to draw on knowledge obtained from many different courses and venture into the unknown. Seeing students transformed as a result of the undergraduate research experience is very rewarding and it is this that she cherishes as a teacher and researcher.
In 2009, the University of Montevallo Committee on Undergraduate Research recognized her outstanding commitment to undergraduate research and named her the Undergraduate Research Distinguished Faculty Mentor. More recently, she has devoted her time to Coordinating the Undergraduate Research Program on campus in such a way as to facilitate opportunities for students and faculty across campus to have meaningful research experiences.
In the area of service, Dr. Tidwell is active on campus on numerous committees and spends a large amount of time serving as a chemistry ambassador providing opportunities for students at local schools to have the opportunity to participate in hands on activities that help them to understand chemistry and the possibilities of a career in chemistry. She is also active in the Montevallo Civitan Club which focuses on helping people with developmental disabilities and serves in her local church.