Students at William Woods University recently selected Dr. Nicholas Pullen as this year’s distinguished professor.
Pullen, an assistant professor of biology, received the Louis D. Beaumont Dad’s Association Distinguished Professor Award for Excellence in Teaching at the university’s academic honors convocation April 22.
The award carries an honorarium and is given annually to a faculty member who has displayed dedication to teaching. Recipients of the award are nominated and chosen by students.
For the past two years, Pullen has served as the Cox Distinguished Professor in Science, a professorship established by the Clark Cox Trust in 2008 to encourage faculty to conduct research projects involving students.
The appointment requires a specific research activity involving students known as Cox Research Scholars, in a mentor-mentee relationship. The first year, Pullen and Amanda Marty studied “Nitric Oxide: The Aggressive Spirit of Cancer.” This past year, Joan M. Ryan assisted with the project, “Novel Detection of Specific Biomarkers in Variable Cancer Phenotypes.”
Before joining the WWU faculty in the fall of 2012, Pullen was a fellow in a National
Institutes of Health-funded IRACDA program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va. IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Center Development Award) is a national teaching and research grant program partnering research universities with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Pullen taught biology and biochemistry at VCU and chemistry at Elizabeth City State University, as part of his fellowship. He was also a participant fellow in the National Science Foundation-funded Faculty Institutes for Reforming Science Teaching (FIRST-IV), and he received the AAAS/Science Program Award for Excellence in Science.
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2005, Pullen went on to earn a Ph.D. in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology from VCU in 2010.
Pullen has published and continues scientific research in two areas: mast cell biology (crucial players in allergy and asthma) and cancers of the central nervous system; most recently his activities have included education research related to undergraduate science education.