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.
2020 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Savannah Bennett
Savannah Bennett is a Ph.D. candidate in Associate Professor Heather Reynold's lab. Her research focuses on tri-trophic interactions among herbivores (e.g., deer, small mammals), native and invasive plants, and soil microbial communities. Savannah is passionate about teaching and has served as an assistant instructor for L376 Biology of Birds, L111 Foundations of Biology: Diversity, Ecology, and Evolution, L113 Biology Laboratory, and the Student Academic Center’s PASS Program. She particularly enjoys going on birding field trips with L376 students. Savannah also works with service-learning students through the Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project and mentors undergraduate research students.
2020 Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor: Audrey Parish
Audrey Parish is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Associate Professor Irene Newton's lab at Indiana University Bloomington. Audrey studies mechanisms of host-microbe interactions in the honey bee, focusing on a novel nutritional mutualism between honey bee larvae and their symbiotic bacteria. Before graduate school Audrey served as a lab manager at the University of Houston, mentoring undergraduate researchers from a variety of backgrounds and academic trajectories. At IU, Audrey has enjoyed teaching both introductory and advanced-level biology courses and endeavors to employ an individualistic mentoring style, both in the lab and in the classroom. She strives to convey that anyone can participate in science and believes that one's unique background and perspective are essential components in making a great scientist.
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.