About the Award
The Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award recognizes excellence in contributing directly and indirectly to student learning through teaching, research, and creative activities; advising; academic program development; and educational leadership.
Margaret Titus received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 27, 2017.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Margaret Titus
- Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development
- College of Biological Sciences and Medical School, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Margaret Titus has been called the heart and soul of the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDBG) graduate program, but students in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics are also in her debt. She was instrumental in combining the two programs to coordinate recruitment, admissions, and the first-year curriculum.
First up is the Lake Itasca summer course. There, students in both programs learn the ropes in their sciences, bond with future friends and colleagues, and get to know faculty personally, in a relaxed atmosphere. Titus, who served as director of graduate studies and co-DGS in her department for more than five years, also directs two other required courses for MCDBG students.
“For Meg, engaging with students personally is key to helping them learn why they are pursuing science and what really motivates them,” says a former student.
With international faculty, Titus developed training courses in cell biology and biochemistry that introduce students in Latin America to research and to U.S. and European scientists. With colleagues, she designed a course in grant writing—the scientist’s lifeblood—for first-year students. She also coordinated an overhaul of the all-important Preliminary Examination to assess students’ potential for independent thinking during their thesis projects. “My own career … owes nearly everything to my time as a graduate student in Meg’s lab,” writes another former student.
“First-year students in particular are in transition from accepting what they learn as settled fact to being prepared to critically challenge ideas and results. My goal is to provide guidance for them during this journey.”
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