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For immediate release
February 29, 2012

Contact: Lesley Fry at (419) 995-8671 or Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284

Ohio State Lima professor receives distinguished teaching award

Mark A. Kleffner, professor of Earth Sciences at The Ohio State University at Lima, is one of nine Ohio State professors receiving the 2012 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Alumni Association President Archie Griffin presented the award in a surprise visit to Dr. Kleffner’s classroom on Wed., Feb. 29, 2012.

The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honors faculty members for teaching excellence. Recipients are nominated by students, alumni and faculty and are chosen by a committee of students, previous recipients and alumni. Several hundred teaching faculty were nominated this year.

"Whether his audience is elementary school children, traditional-age college students, or those over 60 in our Lifelong Learning Institute, Mark has a wonderfully natural teaching ability to engage students," said Dr. John R. Snyder, dean and director of Ohio State Lima. "He successfully demonstrates the resources of a major university in such a way that we make a difference to the delight and enlightenment of many."

Dr. Kleffner is a paleontologist and paleoclimatologist whose specialty is Silurian conodonts. He has been awarded several National Science Foundation grants for his research on the Silurian period. During his 22 years on campus, Dr. Kleffner has taught Earth Science classes to everyone from pre-school children, to college students, to the Lifelong Learning Institute members. His youngest pupils like to call him the "Dinosaur Man." One of his most far-reaching contributions to the community is his Earth Materials course for K-4 science teachers and special education teachers. The classes are designed to help teachers make learning about science fun while fulfilling K-12 state standards.

One of his nominators wrote, "During his time at Ohio State Lima, Mark has touched one of the state’s most important resources – our teachers. Whether they are undergrads seeking their first licensures or returning teachers seeking advanced education, he finds a way to send them back to the classroom with the skills and materials necessary to bring science alive for the students of Ohio. He has sought grants to help equip teachers with supplies they and their classrooms would not have otherwise have received. Classroom experiences around Ohio State Lima’s home area are enriched because of his efforts."

Dr. Kleffner’s complete vita is available online at http://Lima.OSU.edu/academics/earthsciences/vita.htm.

Dr. Kleffner is Ohio State Lima’s tenth winner of this award. Former winners from Ohio State Lima include Dr. Javad Abdalkhani, associate professor of mathematics; Dr. William V. Ackerman, associate professor of geography; Dr. David S. Adams, associate professor emeritus of sociology; Dr. Joseph E. Brandesky, professor of theatre; Dr. Allison Gilmore, associate professor of history; Dr. Joseph P. Green, professor of psychology; Dr. J. Eric Juterbock, associate professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology; Ed Valentine, associate professor of art, and Dr. Mohamed Yousif, professor of mathematics.

Kleffner will be inducted into the Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State. In addition, he will receive a cash award, an increase in base salary and a plaque.

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Editors’ Note: Kleffner’s photo is attached.