Furman Provost Wins Award

One of Three Winner Nationwide

Seth Stokes
February 13, 2018 - 10:08 am
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Furman University Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost George Shields is one of three professors from across the nation to be named a 2018 Cottrell Scholar TREE Award recipient.

The Transformational Research and Excellence in Education awards are presented by Research Corporation and recognize the “outstanding research and educational accomplishments” of the organization’s Cottrell Scholars. Shields, who is also a professor of chemistry at Furman, was named a Cottrell Scholar in 1994 and is the first professor from a primarily undergraduate institution to receive the TREE Award.

“This is an exceptional honor for George and for Furman,” said President Elizabeth Davis. “George is a notable scientist who has made highly significant, internationally regarded contributions to the field of computational chemistry for decades, even while serving as Furman’s provost. We’re exceptionally proud of this accomplishment and George’s continuing efforts to champion high-impact undergraduate research through The Furman Advantage and nationally.”

The other 2018 TREE Award winners are chemistry professors Martin Gruebele from the University of Illinois and Teri W. Odom from Northwestern University.

The TREE Award consists of an unrestricted $20,000 award sent to the awardee’s institution on behalf of the recipient’s educational and scholarly work. An additional $5,000 award is provided to the recipient to support lectures and travel to other institutions to help broadly communicate innovative research and educational accomplishments.

As Furman’s chief academic officer, Shields is responsible for the faculty and related administrative departments that support all undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs. He came to Furman in 2016 from Bucknell University, where he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was a professor in the chemistry department. He has also taught at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Hamilton College and Lake Forest College.

Shields has a national reputation in the field of undergraduate research, having collaborated with more than 110 undergraduate students in the fields of computational chemistry, structural biochemistry and science education. He is founder and director of the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate Computational Chemistry (MERCURY), a collaboration of 27 undergraduate research teams at 25 different institutions.

Shields received the 2015 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and he currently serves on the executive board of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

Shields received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and a doctorate in physical chemistry all from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His postdoctoral research on protein-DNA interactions at Yale University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was conducted in the laboratory of Professor Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Chemistry Nobel Laureate.

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