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Buhlmann receives 2015 Graduate & Professional Education award

Professor Philippe Buhlmann has received a 2015 award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education.

This award was established in 1999 to recognize contributions to postbaccalaureate, graduate, and professional education. Recipients are chosen for excellence in instruction; involvement in students' research, scholarship, and professional development; development of instructional programs; and advising and mentoring of students.

Buhlmann has been a professor and researcher in the Department of Chemistry for 15 years. In addition to teaching and research, he has served as the Director of Graduate Studies since 2012, and leads the Chemists in the Library outreach program for the Minnesota Local Chapter of the American Chemical Society. He also engages high school students through the American Chemical Society SEED summer research program. He has mentored 75 undergraduate students in research, many of whom become co-authors of peer-reviewed publications, coordinated the department’s summer undergraduate research program for seven years, and is now principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant to support summer undergraduate research.

He runs a research program with outstanding national and international impact, quality and productivity, which encompasses the training and mentoring of graduate students. He has created a collaborative research environment in which graduate students thrive, learn from and support one another, and can approach problems independently. He has mentored 22 graduate students since coming to the university.

Buhlmann is an excellent teacher and has taught a greater number of different courses than any other faculty member in our department. He has taught three different graduate courses, developing two of those from scratch, and creating a graduate-level course with both a classroom and laboratory component.

His book, “Structure Determination of Organic Compounds,” written for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses, has been translated into five languages, with more than 20,000 copies sold and more than 800 citations.

One of his students wrote, “Thank you for your careful instruction and teaching during the entire semester. I may not be the best student in your class, but you're for sure the best teacher in my graduate studies. Thank you for your care and instruction.”

As Director of Graduate Studies, Buhlmann has led many initiatives including the elimination of specialty areas, changing rules so students now have more freedom in course selection, and aggressively using fellowships for recruiting.

He has also worked closely with Boynton Health Services to address stress and mental health issues for graduate students, including making students and faculty aware of resources, helping them recognize sings of stress and despair, and equipping them with knowledge to help. His initiative led to the founding of the Community of Chemistry Graduate students, a student-led organization that organizes events to improve the lifestyles of graduate students and help in their career development.

“Phil is an outstanding research adviser, mentor, scholar, and teacher,” said Professor William Tolman, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “He has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many graduate students in his own research group, in our department, and beyond.”

Buhlmann will become a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and will have conferred upon him the title Distinguished University Teaching Professor. He will receive a $15,000 award, which reflects the University's strong and enduring commitment to quality undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Minnesota. He will receive the award, Wednesday, April 8, at a ceremony at the McNamara Alumni Center. He also will be introduced to the Board of Regents at its May meeting.

Buhlmann is the eighth Department of Chemistry professor to receive this honor. Other recipients include Marc Hillmyer (2014), Timothy Lodge (2012), J. Ilja Siepmann (2010), Christopher Cramer (2005), Peter Carr (2002), Lawrence Que Jr. (2000), and Thomas Hoye (1999).