Al Ruesink’s family, friends, colleagues, and former students who wish to honor his passion for quality teaching can make 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.
2021 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Katie Beidler
Katie Beidler is a Ph.D. candidate working in the lab of Professor Rich Phillips. In her Ph.D. research, Katie is exploring how the “hidden half” (i.e., roots and mycorrhizae) contribute to soil carbon and nutrient cycling. When she is not digging holes, Katie enjoys interacting with students in the lab and classroom. Her time spent teaching sustains her love of science and invigorates her research. Katie noted that she has found invaluable teaching mentors at IU—especially Dr. Tara Darcy, Dr. Karen Whitworth, and Dr. Susan Hengeveld.
2021 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Zoe Dinges
Zoe Dinges is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in Distinguished Professor Curt Lively's lab. She studies the Red Queen hypothesis, which explains the maintenance of sexual reproduction despite costs relative to asexual reproduction. In addition to research, Zoe also enjoys volunteering as a mentor in programs for underrepresented students and bringing science to local schools and the general public. Zoe has served as an associate instructor for several undergraduate biology courses, notably S318 Honors Evolution. Her favorite classroom activity is leading the Red Queen game, in which students use playing cards to simulate parasite-mediated, frequency-dependent selection required by the Red Queen hypothesis.
2021 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Blake D. Petersen
Blake D. Petersen is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Assistant Professor Julia van Kessel's lab at Indiana University Bloomington. His research explores the regulation of flagellar genes to control swimming motility in marine bacteria. Blake has been committed to teaching throughout his time at IU and has served as an assistant instructor for both L113 Biology Laboratory and M250 Microbiology. He has also engaged in teaching in areas outside of the classroom by planning outreach activities with local schools as the outreach coordinator for MGSA, mentoring several undergraduates in his lab, and serving as an instructor for IU’s summer FSM program. Blake strives to engage everyone in science—no matter what their interests or backgrounds are—so that anyone can feel empowered to pursue scientific inquiry.
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 annual award shall be a minimum of $1,500 per year, and 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.