Biological sciences professor receives faculty award

Mushrooms used primarily in cooking have been focus of study for one biological sciences professor.

Collecting mushrooms as well as other fungi and molds, Andrew Methven, who is retiring at the end of this semester, has now collected something entirely different.

At a faculty senate meeting, Methven was awarded this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

Economic professor Mingh Dao, who was on the awards committee deciding who would win the award, said the award is one of the highest accolades faculty can receive. Despite having six nominations for the award, Dao said it was an almost unanimous decision fairly early on in the discussion of who deserved the award.

Methven said he was pleasantly surprised when he found out he won.

“From working on committee on campus I know we have a lot of excellent committees on campus,” Methven said. “The other five people could have easily gotten the award as I did.”

Dao said he was easy choice for multiple reasons. The committee looked at three criteria for the award including what they have done in teaching, in research and in service the community. He added Methven had exceeded each of these criteria “going above and beyond the call of duty.”

Methven has worked on various projects revolving around mushrooms. Over the years, he has collected and studied legion of fungi samples. With the help of graduate and undergraduate students, he has also studied the various and frequent molds that have grown throughout the biological sciences building and Blair Hall. He still keeps many of these in buckets filled to the brim with molds.

Methven said he has always been fascinated with fungi and molds, which is why he chose the study mycology.

His interest in the field has also given him a scientific funny bone, which has seeped into his teaching.

“I have all the standard mushroom jokes like ‘I must be a mushroom because they keep me in the dark,’” Methven said.

Dao said Methven had been changing his teaching methods consistently throughout his career, starting in 1987. He added Methven’s student evaluations also showed how positively responsive his previous students have been.

Despite originally planning to move on to something better, Methven, in his first years as an Eastern professor, was unsure on whether he would stay at the university, thinking there was something better on. He said he quickly realized this university would be his home where he would come to join several Eastern councils and committees to improve the campus.

Retiring in May, Methven will move on to be an adjunct professor at Eastern and then move to Savannah Georgia to be with his wife.

Methven said he is extremely excited for the future, as it has been a while since he was unsure of what he would be doing, since he has taught much of his life.

Methven added it has been a tremendous honor receiving the award and it is a good send off to have.

Jarad Jarmon can

be reached at 581-2812

or [email protected]