Merri Lynn Casem, Ph.D.

Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award, 2017-18
Department of Biological Sciences

It was every experience I had as a student at Cal State Fullerton that turned me into a faculty member … and I’ve always made a promise to myself to give back to the campus the way it gave to me.

Such dedication to her university, to teaching and to students has earned Merri Lynn Casem high marks from students and peers alike.

A key player in introductory course redesign efforts systemwide and in her own department, she has twice received funding from the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Program.

The professor of biological science instituted Connect, Synthesize, Understand Fridays — CSUFridays — to introduce students to “the culture of science” and developed supplemental resources to reinforce and expand students’ understanding.

“She turns the classroom into a safe place to rehearse ideas and grasp complex concepts,” explained a former student who in turn has become an educator. “She taught me to never give up on a student who tries because they may just need a little encouragement to reach higher than they thought they could.”