Enthusiasm for learning an influence on students

Lopez receives MSU Texas Faculty Award

Enthusiasm for learning an influence on students

An associate professor of mathematics who says he’s still learning himself received Midwestern State University’s Faculty Award during the Dec. 11 commencement ceremony. Marcos Lopez received the honor, which is given by MSU Texas faculty to a full-time faculty member for teaching excellence and service to the University.

“Learning in itself is fun, even if it’s not something you’ll ever use. Knowing stuff is fun just for the knowing. When you learn something, take a moment to realize just how cool that is,” Lopez said.

Lopez was born and raised in Wichita Falls. He attended the Washington/Jackson Math-Science Technology Magnet School, Kirby Middle School, and Hirschi High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of North Texas and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. He returned to Wichita Falls and the MSU Texas position in 2015.

In 2020, Lopez became the faculty-in residence, living among students in an apartment in Legacy Hall. The faculty-in-residence program was designed to build a bridge between student life in the residence halls and faculty, and in turn giving stronger support to students on the path to graduation. Scheduling events to accomplish that goal during the pandemic was challenging but Lopez managed to host events to build interactions between faculty and students.

During February’s deep freeze, Director of Residence Life & Housing Kristi Schulte said that Lopez jumped in to support the students, even when it was well beyond the faculty-in-residence position description. After a sprinkler line burst in a living area, Schulte said that Lopez was there, asking what he could do.

When teaching math, a subject that for some is difficult, Lopez says he is relatable in the classroom. “I’m not afraid to be wrong in front of the students. Learning is a part of life. I think that’s helped my teaching.”

This year’s finalists were Kym Acuña, Associate Professor of Curriculum & Learning; Soon-Mi Choi, Associate Professor of Athletic Training & Exercise Physiology; Pablo Garcia-Fuentes, Assistant Professor of Economics; Todd Giles, Associate Professor of English; and Eric Koger, Chair of Theatre.

The first recipient of the Faculty Award was Arthur F. Beyer in 1977. The winner is selected by the faculty at large and kept secret until commencement.

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