Dr. Bruce Weems, dean of East Central University’s College of Health Sciences, was honored for his service to science education in the state.
Weems received the Dr. Jack Renner Award by the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) on Friday, Oct. 31, at the Dunlap-Codding Law Firm in Oklahoma City.
“The John Renner Award from OSTA is very special to me. Not only was it recognition for many years of service to science educators and students in this state, but having known Dr. Renner and working closely with ECU faculty which were former graduate students of his, made me feel humble and honored,” said Weems.
Weems is the senior faculty member, according to ECU Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Duane Anderson.
“As a professor of physics, Dr. Weems has impacted positively the academic careers of countless students,” said Anderson.
Weems has served East Central University since 1972, first as a physics professor and later physics department chair. He has been dean of ECU’s College of Health and Sciences since 1991. His work has helped many students, faculty members and department chairs with every aspect of science education during his tenure. He is retiring from ECU in December after 42 years of service to the institution.
“As a dean of the College of Health and Sciences, Dr. Weems set high standards for his fellow deans in managing the affairs of the college,” Anderson said. “Under his leadership, the College of Health and Sciences has secured high levels of external funding and promoted the integration of undergraduate research. His leadership will not be easily replaced.”
Weems has diligently worked with the Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair (OSSEF) since taking over as director in 1982. He helped run the fair with Dr. Don Kellogg before 1982. During his tenure as director until 2006, Weems fought for funding, selected the best regional sites, found volunteers and judges and handled the paperwork. Weems had been known to call every student and give them a chance to turn in their missing paperwork so that they could compete.
He took on the additional job of science fair director because he saw the benefit of students doing research as a way of learning before many recognized the benefit. Many of these science fair students have made significant impacts in science and engineering. Each year, around 300 students attend the Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair and through Weems’ efforts, approximately 7,500 students have experienced the state fair.
“My years of service at ECU have been a true joy. I have had the opportunity to work with and get to know some really great students, faculty members and administrators. Sharing experiences with them over the years has been a blessing,” Weems said.