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MU Professor Awarded 2008 Kemper Fellowship

April 2, 2008

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2008 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Dorina Kosztin, associate teaching professor in the department of physics and astronomy in the College of Arts and Science.

Deaton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff paid a surprise visit to Kosztin's classroom to honor her with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 award. Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

EDITOR'S NOTE:                                              

Please see attached biography for details about Kosztin.


Dorina Kosztin, associate teaching professor of physics

Dorina Kosztin, who began working at MU in 2001, remains committed to helping students succeed by instructing them in the most clear, relevant way possible. She teaches several courses in the physics department, serves as the director of undergraduate studies for the physics department, and started the Physics Department Open House in 2004.  Currently, Kosztin is working with Professor Meera Chandrasekhar to begin the "A-TIME for Physics-First Program," an effort that will incorporate physics into Missouri's ninth grade curriculum.

"Dr. Kosztin has made broad and important contributions to the teaching of physics in our department because of her outstanding skill as an educator and because of her dedication to education," said Paul Miceli, professor of physics.

Upon her arrival at MU, Kosztin was assigned to instruct the calculus-based introductory physics sequence, two classes that have a reputation for being difficult.  She transformed these courses by incorporating technology, introducing new demonstrations and offering help sessions. The energy and dedication that she portrays through her teaching has encouraged students to be excited about learning physics.

"Dorina is a very dedicated teacher. She addresses us like we are her kids, and she makes sure we understand the concepts," one former student said. "I can say that I actually learned in this class, and I am able to apply my knowledge to my everyday life." 

Her excellence in teaching earned her the Provost Junior Faculty Teaching Award in 2005 and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council Most Inspiring Professor Award in 2006.

"Dorina is a valued member of our department," Chandrasekhar said. "As an individual teacher she is remarkable.  She is much more than just an impressive teacher; she is a climate-changer.  Above and beyond course innovations, Dorina has stood out in students' eyes as a person who cares about students in a multitude of ways."

Kosztin received her bachelor's degree at Babeş Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, and her master's and doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.