University at Albany

Excellence in Teaching

Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Four faculty members received this tribute in 1998 for Excellence in Teaching.

Helen GhiradellaHelen GhiradellaBiological Sciences

Helen Ghiradella, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has been at the University since 1968. In these 30 years she has devoted her teaching to encouraging students in her laboratory, classrooms, office, seminar rooms, hallways and on the air (WAMC's "Science Forum") to pursue knowledge and learning.

During her teaching career she has taught 11 different undergraduate and eight different graduate courses, a record unequaled in her department, and perhaps in the University. Many of these courses she originated and designed. She was the co-initiator and for years the co-director of the human biology major. She has team-taught enthusiastically and effectively with other faculty on several occasions.

It is clear from her courses and their required readings that Ghiradella encourages her students to make a connection between biology in the classroom and biology in the greater world. As a performing musician as well as a scientist, she brings to her teaching the same kind of organization for balance and clarity that she herself utilizes in musical performance. She exposes students to new areas of study, and among her designed new courses are ones, such as "Biological Architecture," that integrate many different specialties.

Both students and colleagues are equally complimentary of her teaching methods and her ability to nurture in her students a fervent interest in the course material. She has utilized student journals of observations as one method to connect scholars to the world around them. In addition, she has been successful at recruiting outside speakers to guest lecture in courses such as "World Food Crisis."

Ghiradella is a widely published expert in several areas of biology, including morphology and biological architecture. She has authored more than 30 articles and given many lectures and presentations of research by invitation at many institutions and organizations.

Excellence in Teaching

Lee S. Bickmore Helen Ghiradella Richard F. Hamm Katherine Trent
Lee S.


Richard F.

Katherine Trent

Students participate in more than 200 student clubs and honor societies, and enjoy a busy calendar of campus events.