We are grateful to Al Ruesink’s family, friends, colleagues, and former students who have contributed to this award. You, too, can honor Ruesink’s passion for quality teaching by making an online memorial gift to the Ruesink Outstanding Instructor Teaching Award in Biology by clicking the Give Now button which links to a secure IU Foundation website.
Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor Teaching Award
About Professor Al Ruesink
Professor Al Ruesink did his doctoral work in plant physiology at Harvard University. Upon graduation, he did postdoctoral work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for a year and then joined the Indiana University faculty in 1967.
Here at IU, Ruesink’s research addressed how plant cell walls grow and develop, but undergraduate teaching quickly became his first love. Prior to Ruesink’s official retirement in 2012, he taught more than 14,000 students and wrote over 2,700 letters of recommendation. Professor Ruesink chaired his departmental Curriculum and Courses Committee for 34 years, and for nearly two decades he supervised the department’s introduction to curriculum and teaching for graduate students preparing to be associate instructors.
Ruesink was heavily involved in university service work beyond his department and was a Faculty Council leader, including secretary, chair of subcommittees, and (longest-serving) member of the Budgetary Affairs Committee. From 1999 to 2005, he was Special Assistant to the President for Faculty Relations, working most closely with President Myles Brand. For his exceptional teaching, Dr. Ruesink received IU’s Amoco Teaching Award. The university also awarded him the W. George Pinnell Service Award for his service to the university. Students recognized him with the Senior Class Award for Teaching Excellence in Biology and Dedication to Undergraduates in 1999 and a Student Choice Award for Outstanding Faculty in 2010.
Ruesink and his wife, Kathleen, who was a popular University Division academic advisor before her retirement, sponsored the IU Folk Dancing Club for over 30 years. The couple was a familiar sight on the rural roads of Monroe County where they rode their semi-recumbent tandem bicycle, logging nearly 60,000 miles over the years.
2022 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Ben Koch
Ben Koch is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Distinguished Professor Roger Innes's lab studying connections between the plant immune system and autophagy, a cellular recycling program. Ben enjoys mentoring undergraduates in lab work, and this summer he will lead a group of undergraduates in a genetic screen to identify new genes involved in protein secretion for plant immunity. Ben is regularly involved in science outreach and has volunteered at Science Fest, elementary schools, and WonderLab (local museum of science, health, and technology)—helping students to understand the scientific process and appreciate nature. Ben's career goal is to work as a professor at a university where he can continue to interact with students. In his spare time, Ben most enjoys making music on piano and cello as well as giving music lessons.
2022 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Sarah Wolf
Sarah Wolf is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in Associate Professor Kim Rosvall's lab. In her Ph.D. research, Sarah studies how stress accelerates biological ageing in wild songbirds. Sarah has served as an associate instructor for several undergraduate courses, including BIOL-L 113 Biology Laboratory, BIOL-Z 406 Vertebrate Zoology, and most notably, BIOL-Z 460 Animal Behavior. In Z460, Sarah enjoys working closely with each student to incorporate their scientific curiosities into exciting research proposals about animal behavior. She has also given several guest lectures on how telomere dynamics interact with life-history trade-offs and behavior.
About the Albert Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor Teaching Award in Biology
This fund supports an annual award that promotes and recognizes excellent teaching by graduate students teaching in the IU Bloomington Department of Biology. Candidates must be Department of Biology majors or related majors who have been selected for the award because of their teaching within the Department of Biology. The number of recipients each year should never exceed three. Should sufficient income be available after the teaching award is granted, this fund could also be used to send departmental graduate students to conferences primarily related to teaching, with preference given to students presenting papers or posters at these conferences.
This award was established in 2013 by Albert and Kathy Ruesink. During their careers at Indiana University, the couple mentored thousands of students.