The award is the highest recognition given to members of the UW System’s faculty and academic staff for outstanding career achievements in teaching. Each year just two UW System faculty or academic staff members and one system academic department receive the $5,000 awards.
In his teaching, Thomas said he has been devoted to helping students see the sciences not as an isolated area of study but as an integral part of the liberal arts, both influencing and being influenced by many other disciplines.
“When things are at their best, our students realize that what they’ve just discussed in an English or history class is deeply connected to a concept in chemistry or physics,” he said. “Helping the students make these interdisciplinary connections is something at which UW-Eau Claire faculty excel.”
Throughout his career at UW-Eau Claire, Thomas has participated in the development of interdisciplinary courses and has taught those classes collaboratively with colleagues from other academic departments.
Thomas also has brought science education to the general community by creating UW-Eau Claire’s monthly “Ask a Scientist” seminar series, in which UW-Eau Claire scientists make presentations at a local coffee shop on scientific topics of interest to the community.