Dr. Jim McGill, professor of chemistry and director of the Jane Stephens Honors Program at Southeast Missouri State University, was honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education April 4 at the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) Awards Luncheon in Jefferson City, Missouri.
“Receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education makes me feel thankful,” McGill said. “I am thankful for all of the teachers, colleagues, and mentors who have helped me, supported me, and encouraged me along my path thus far. I am thankful for my family, who has made many sacrifices so that I could find my path and pursue my dreams, before I even knew fully what those dreams were. I am thankful for the dear friends I have made who have been here for me and stood beside me through the best times and the hardest times. And I am thankful for my students—past, present, and future—who motivate and inspire me to keep doing what I do the best I can do it, even in times when I am anxious, weary or discouraged. I am thankful to receive an award simply for trying to pay forward all that I have received.”
The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education is presented to an outstanding faculty member from each participating higher education institution in the state. Each institution selects its award recipient based on effective teaching, effective advising, service to the University community, commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement.
“Dr. McGill is very deserving of this prestigious award. Students have told me time and again about how helpful and understanding he is and how much they enjoy his classes,” said Dr. Tamela Randolph, interim provost. “Dr. McGill is a wonderful researcher who involves students. His colleagues speak very highly of how collaborative he is. Dr. McGill really enjoys working with the Honors Program and has branched out to work also with the Student Research Conference. We are very fortunate to have him at Southeast Missouri State University.”
The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recognizes outstanding teachers and the impact they have on students. McGill says he feels a great sense of pride being able to represent Southeast at the state level.
“I have always been proud to be a part of Southeast Missouri State University, from the time I was a student to the time I was an alumnus and now a faculty member,” he said. “It is very special to be able to represent the University in this way.”
In January, McGill was the recipient of Southeast’s Provost’s Research, Instruction and Development for Excellence (PRIDE) Award which recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence as a teacher, an extraordinary level of scholarship and service and whose overall accomplishments are especially noteworthy.
McGill has been employed by Southeast for 18 years and has developed a reputation for his dedication to students, the University and the forensics profession.
“Dr. McGill has a great reputation among his peers, students, and most all of us here at Southeast,” said Dr. Brad Deken, interim dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. “Part of that reputation is built on his passion for the success of his students. I’ve heard from students in his forensics classes that attest to how much effort and enthusiasm he brings to their education. I know part of this is from his ability to bring the ‘real world’ into the classroom. He’s had quite an impact on their lives. I’m honored to have him as a colleague.”
McGill was honored at Southeast with the University’s Outstanding Academic Advisor Award in April 2018 and then advanced to the national level where the National Academic Advising Association presented him with an Outstanding Advising Award for a faculty advisor. These honors came after McGill was certified as a Master Advisor in 2016.
In addition, McGill has developed two forensics-related courses and revised the “Basic Principles of Chemistry” online course to align with the Quality Matters rubric.
He has served and continues to serve on numerous committees within the University. He has been a member of the Department of Chemistry Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) User Group since 2015 and the chair since 2016. He has served twice as a member of the University Budget Review Committee, most recently from 2016 to 2018, and served as the chair of Faculty Senate from 2017 to 2018.
McGill is a member of professional organizations such as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the American Chemical Society, its Chemistry and the Law Division and Organic Division; the Midwestern Association of Forensic Scientists and the International Association for Identification. He is also a member of the Phi Lambda Upsilon National Honorary Chemical Society, serving as president of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter from 1999-2000. He is certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Criminalistics with a specialty in drug analysis.
In addition, McGill has received the Southeast Missouri State University Student Government Association’s Outstanding Faculty Member Award and the National Residence Hall Honorary’s Institutional Faculty/Staff of the Month Award.
McGill holds a doctoral degree in chemistry from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Southeast Missouri State University.
He began his career at Southeast as a visiting assistant professor, becoming an assistant professor in 2002, an associate professor in 2008 and a professor in 2015.