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UTSA biology professor Valerie Sponsel named Romo Endowed Professor

Valerie Sponsel

Valerie Sponsel

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(April 24, 2014) -- Valerie Sponsel, UTSA professor of biology in the College of Sciences, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Ricardo Romo Ph.D. Endowed Professorship. Sponsel is the second professor to be selected for the professorship since it was created in 2009.

The endowment, named for the president of the university, is awarded to professors in the Honors College who exemplify attributes of leadership, service and research.

"Besides her teaching, Dr. Sponsel has worked side-by-side with students on their research," said Richard Diem, dean of the Honors College. "She's an excellent mentor and epitomizes what the Romo professorship is all about."

The three-year professorship will allow for new programs to be created within the Honors College, which was established in 2002. The Honors College gives students with high academic achievements rich educational experiences, which Sponsel plans to develop even further.

"I want to do things to enhance students' experiences in science and engineering," Sponsel said, adding that she would like to add more service-learning opportunities to show students how they can solve real-world problems with science.

"Honors students are always open to learning, but sometimes they need to be exposed to new opportunities for excellence," she said.

Sponsel has taught honors students since 1998 and has been involved in several collaborative research projects with faculty in the College of Engineering. She is an expert in plant growth and development.

Sponsel earned her Bachelor of Science in Botany degree and Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Wales, and a Doctor of Science degree for her research on plant metabolism from Bristol University. She has been teaching at UTSA since 1995.

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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