Deptford Twp. – Dr. Brenden Rickards loves science and teaching, and he is well versed in both. So it comes as no surprise to those who know him that Gloucester County College’s Associate Professor of Biology received one of the College’s highest honors being named this year’s recipient of the 2013 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.
The award, funded by grants from the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation in Philadelphia, recognizes outstanding teachers at 52 colleges and universities within the Abbotts Dairies service area throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Full-time faculty, who “demonstrate excellence in teaching,” are selected by a nominating committee comprised of the four most recent GCC Lindback recipients as well as the vice president of academic services.
Rickards, of Medford, has been teaching at the College for six years and brought with him an impressive resume from West Virginia University, Princeton University and The University of Pennsylvania. He has authored two grants which have been funded by Pfizer, Inc. and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research, in addition to co-authoring five peer-reviewed articles.
“Gloucester County College has a long history of teaching excellence with strong faculty leadership. It is quite an honor to be recognized by your peers and included in a prestigious group such as the Lindback Award,” said Rickards.
Rickards’ affinity for biology is evident when viewing his resume. As an undergraduate at West Virginia University he worked in a toxicology laboratory investigating commercial pesticides and herbicides known to cause cancer in humans and was honored as the most outstanding organic chemistry student by the faculty. While at Princeton, Rickards studied molecular mechanisms that lead to cells becoming transformed into cancer cells and ascribed new functions to three proteins— nucleolin, Brd2 and Brd3 — to illustrate how these proteins all contribute to ensure that genes are expressed appropriately in a cell.
In July, Rickards assumed the responsibility as GCC’s dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.), a position that while limiting his time in the classroom provides exciting challenges to expand course curriculum and programs. With future initiatives to “Go Green” and integrate environmental science with engineering, Rickards is enthusiastic about his vision to offer students and faculty a variety of educational options and career choices.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to work with the faculty and staff of the STEM division and lead them into new and exciting directions,” said Rickards. “The recent expansion of the Scott Hall classroom labs demonstrates the dedication of the College and of the County Freeholders in helping students to achieve their goals of pursuing in-demand STEM careers.”
“Brenden was an excellent choice by the search committee for both the Lindback Award and as the next dean of our STEM division,” stated former STEM Dean Barbara Turner. “He reflects the many competencies of a college leader including communication, collaboration, and student advocacy. He will continue moving the STEM division forward.”
“The fact that Dr. Rickards was chosen to be the recipient of the 2013 Lindback Award for distinguished teaching is a reflection of the respect that his peers have for him and the quality of his work at Gloucester County College,” said College President Frederick Keating. “As the new dean of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics division, his exceptional background in science and enthusiasm to promote innovative STEM initiatives in the classroom encourages our students to select important occupations offering the richest sources of employment and economic growth.”
Gloucester County College’s 250-acre campus is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, right off Exit 56 of Route 55.