MAC honors chemistry and biochemistry faculty member

Ben Swarts recognized by the Mid-American Conference for mentoring, developing outreach program

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

Ben Swarts, a faculty member in the chemistry and biochemistry department, was recently named the recipient of the Mid-American Conference’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Student Success. The award honors Swarts’ commitment to supporting and developing students inside and outside the classroom.

Through the award, the MAC recognizes the teaching accomplishments of one faculty member at each of its 12 schools. Swarts was named the MAC’s top faculty member of the year.

An open-door approach

Swarts has a simple philosophy when it comes to students.

“I’m a door’s open kind of guy,” he said.

That open door lets students know Swarts is available to discuss the student’s research. Together, they talk about where the research is leading the student, and how that fits into their academic and professional journey.

Those kinds of conversations continue throughout the student’s remaining time at CMU.

“It’s kind of the two things side by side,” Swarts said.

He keeps in touch with many of them after graduation and takes pride in watching them find success, Swarts said.

Recognition for remarkable mentoring

"This award is a tremendous honor. It is truly a reflection of the wonderful students at Central Michigan University and other MAC Institutions,” Swarts said in the MAC’s press release. "I am excited to continue working with our students in the classroom and research lab and supporting our great alumni.”

Swarts received the award in part for mentoring students in the national McNair Scholars and American Chemical Society SEED programs. He also developed and currently runs a STEM education program and research training for students at community colleges in central and northern Michigan.

“Dr. Swarts’ commitment to student success is remarkably broad. From the classroom to his research laboratory to outreach activities for community college students, Ben creates intentional programs and supportive environments that help students learn and grow,” said David Ford, dean of the College of Science and Engineering at CMU.

Swarts also researches innovative ways to address tuberculosis, the world’s leading cause of death by an infectious organism. The research has engaged more than 60 students of all levels over the last decade.

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