Biology's David Lemke named 25th Piper Professor at Texas State
David Lemke, a professor in the Department of Biology at Texas State University, has been named Piper Professor for 2022 by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.
Lemke was named Piper Professor on May 2 in honor of his dedication and service to teaching at the collegiate level. Piper Foundation honorees are chosen by committee members who look for well-rounded, outgoing teachers, devoted to their profession who have made a special impact on their students and the community.
"I am honored to have been nominated for this recognition by the University, where we have so many outstanding teachers, and humbled to have been selected by the Piper Foundation," Lemke said. "Working with, and learning alongside, our students has been the highlight of my professional career.
"I remember, as an undergraduate, one of my professors saying that if you can find a profession that you love, you will never have to work a day in your life, and I am fortunate to have found that in teaching," he said. "Even after 40 years of instructing at the university level, I have not lost my enthusiasm for interacting with students in the classroom, lab, and field and still learn something new from them almost every day."
Lemke's career has a record of strong student evaluations, departmental and university level awards, extensive teaching and curriculum development and grant support to enhance teaching effectiveness. He has developed lecture and/or lab components of 10 new courses and has taught at least 20 different courses. He is the only tenured faculty member in a department of at least 50 faculty who has taught at the freshman level, by choice, as a lecture instructor or lab coordinator for every semester of his career. He has spoken on teaching effectiveness at new faculty orientation and is often sought out by younger faculty for advice on dealing with students.
Lemke serves as associate chair in the Department of Biology, where he has developed an orientation program for 15 to 40 incoming graduate students and produced a guide that codifies policies and procedures relevant to all students and faculty involved in the graduate programs. As a graduate advisor, he advises and monitors the academic progress of more than 50 graduate students each semester. He also supervises three thesis students and coordinates the freshman non-majors lab program.
Since 2015 Lemke has served as faculty advisor to the Texas State Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society Plant Identification Team. From 2010-2019 he served as faculty advisor to the Bobcat Botany Club and remains active in the recently renamed Texas State Plant Biology Society. He has supervised numerous undergraduate and graduate students on projects that have resulted in students' scholarly presentations and publications.
He recently completed a three-year term as academic director on the Texas Academy of Science Board of Directors, advocating for student-based initiatives in the organization.
Lemke adds his Piper Professor designation to a list of prestigious accolades including the Texas State Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998, the Everette Swinney Faculty Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021 and 2022, the Alpha Chi National Honor Society Favorite Professor award, TriBeta National Biological Honor Society Award for Teaching Excellence, the Texas Organization for Endangered Species Service Award, elected fellow of the Texas Academy of Science and National Institutes of Health Genetics Training Grant fellow. He is a member of the Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honor Society, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Cactus and Succulent Society of America, International Asclepiad Society, International Association for Plant Taxonomy, National Science Teaching Association, Southwestern Association of Naturalists and Texas Academy of Science.
Lemke is the 25th overall Texas State professor to be named a Piper Professor. Other Texas State Piper Professors have been Emmie Craddock, 1962, history; Robert Galvan, 1968, modern languages; Thomas Brasher, 1970, English; Dan Farlow, 1975, political science; Clarence Schultz, 1976, sociology; Henrietta Avent, 1979, health and physical education; Robert Walts, 1982, English; Beverly Chiodo, 1988, computer information systems and administrative sciences; Barbara Hatcher, 1993, curriculum and instruction; Michael John Hennessy, 2001, English; Nancy Fehl Chavkin, 2002, social work; Paul Nathan Cohen, 2003, English; James David Bell, 2004, business; Byron Dale Augustin, 2005, geography; Christopher Frost, 2006, psychology; James Housefield, 2007, art history; Brock Brown, 2008, geography; Max Warshauer, 2010, mathematics; Steven Furney, 2012, health and human performance; Kenneth Margerison, 2013, history; Vedaraman Sriraman, 2015, engineering technology; Debra Feakes, 2016, chemistry; Steven Beebe, 2018, communication studies; and Ann Burnette in 2020.