Madigosky Honored for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Stephen R. Madigosky, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science at Widener University, is the recipient of the 2013 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, an honor bestowed annually to a member of Widener’s faculty.Madigosky recently accepted the award at the
university's first faculty meeting of the new academic year.

Widener Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephen Wilhite presented Madigosky with the award, highlighting student reactions to Madigosky's teaching. "He displays a passion for the subject that makes class interesting and motivates the students to learn," Wilhite read from Madigosky's nomination. "He is always helpful and cares a lot about student progress."

Madigosky's efforts to engage students in research and service extend within and steve with studentswell beyond Widener's campus.Most recently, he traveled with students to Las Lajas Farms in Costa Rica to teach about organic coffee growth. While there, the students helped pick beans for Widener's own coffee brand, WU Brew, which Madigosky launched earlier this year with Widener alumni who own Golden Valley Coffee Roasters in West Chester, Pa. A percentage of sales revenue gets donated to Widener's environmental science department to fund future learning excursions.

Because Las Lajas Farms produces certified organic, shade-grown and bird-friendly coffee, the sale of WU Brew also helps preserve and restore natural habitats – a mission that's both professional and personal for Madigosky.

"What excites me about teaching is that I get the opportunity to engage and direct students in work that relates directly to how we can live a more sustainable existence," said Madigosky. "This award is dedicated to my students because they are the ones helping to assure that we understand how the environment works, how to treat our precious natural resources and how to leave a legacy of sustainable practices."

Madigosky, a resident of Westtown, Pa., joined the Widener faculty in 1989 and immediately began securing grants to fund his research interests, which include understanding plant/animal interactions and behavior, environmental interactions within and among rural Amazonian communities, meteorological aspects of neotropical rainforest environments and improving environmental conditions through sustainable development initiatives. One recent project of his was to increase sustainable development projects on a butterfly farm in northern Costa Rica. Profits from the reserve's sustainable butterfly farming business go toward the purchase and restoration of land previously degraded and abandoned by other agricultural industries.

Madigosky has long served as an adviser attropical reserves in Costa Rica and Peru. In 1997-99, he lobbied the Peruvian congress to stop the destructive methods of deforestation in the Andian highlands.

Madigosky currently serves as director of the scientific advisory board at the Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies Field Station in Iquitos, Peru. He has been conducting research at this reserve for 20 years and has focused much of his efforts on understanding the microclimate of Amazonian forests. He recently took a sabbatical during the Spring 2013 semester to finalize some of this research. A group of students assisted him over their spring break and continued to analyze data back on Widener's campus. While in Peru, Madigosky also traveled to remote areas of the country to both scout sites for additional student projects and find additional partners for the expansion of the WU Brew operation.

Madigosky has published and presented papers on his research endeavors and efforts to present unique service-learning opportunities to students. He is currently working with Golden Valley Farms to take the idea behind Widener's WU Brew operation to other colleges and universities with hope that they too will develop products that support sustainable agricultural practices.

The Lindback Foundation Award is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.

###