Colorado State University Microbiology Professor Suchman Named Distinguished Teaching Scholar

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Erica Suchman, an associate professor of microbiology, has been named a Colorado State University Distinguished Teaching Scholar. Suchman is known for being a tough and innovative teacher on campus and for her involvement in professional organization and on-campus programs that enhance learning for students.

The designation as a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar remains with the recipient until he or she leaves the university. Scholars are chosen in an open process that begins with the selection of nominees by departments throughout campus. Suchman joined the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in 1995.

“The Distinguished Teaching Scholars are exemplary faculty members who balance scholarship and research with a strong commitment to advancing student learning,” said CSU President Tony Frank. “Their collective expertise helps elevate the overall quality of teaching on our campus. Dr. Suchman exemplifies how an outstanding researcher can also be an outstanding educator. Her students benefit from her vast knowledge of microbiology and her innovative use of active learning strategies that reinforce traditional academic instruction.”

Suchman’s research focuses on a virus that shortens the lifespan of mosquitoes that transmit Dengue fever. The average lifespan of a female mosquito that transmits this disease is 16 days, although some may die of old age at 30 days. By finding a way to infect these mosquitoes with Densonucleosis viruses, which makes the mosquitoes ill, their lifespan may be shortened to about eight days. This shortened lifespan dramatically decreases the mosquitoes’ ability to transmit Dengue fever to people and animals. Dengue fever, which is caused by a different virus, is endemic in more than 100 countries.

“Dr. Suchman brings a tremendous amount of enthusiasm into the classroom,” said Rick Miranda, provost. “She strives to make tough topics such as microbiology exciting to learn, while expecting her students to be critical thinkers in the classroom. She’s an outstanding scientist and scholar, and is a wonderfully engaging professor with her students.”

Suchman has been active in professional groups that focus on education such as the American Society for Microbiology, including its education board, international board, and committees on international education and technology. She also lectures on science education internationally and organizes education conferences and sessions at professional meetings.

In addition, Suchman is a major contributor to the American Society for Microbiology’s education publication, the MicrobeLibrary, and is editor-in-chief and chair of its editorial oversight committee. She has also published widely on education issues in journals such as Focus on Microbiology Education, Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, BioScene and Journal of Microbiology Education.

Suchman has previously been recognized many times for teaching, including receiving CSU’s Provost’s N. Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation and the Best Teacher Award from the Colorado State University Alumni Association.She was also inductee into the George H. Glover Distinguished Contemporary Faculty Gallery for her contributions to undergraduate instruction.