MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University biology professor Alec Lindsay is one of three faculty members selected from the state’s public universities to receive a Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award. He was honored at an April 11 Lansing luncheon hosted by the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan.
“I’m very humbled,” Lindsay said. “A large part of the success I’ve had can be attributed to the support I’ve received from my colleagues, staff and administrators at Northern. I have also benefited from associating with great students in my lab and in my courses. There are many other people deserving of this award, so it is a tremendous honor.”
Lindsay also received a 2013 Distinguished Professor Award from NMU, where he is in his 12th year of teaching, research and service. Much of his work has focused on studying the evolution and behavior of the common loon, a threatened species in Michigan. As a former Peter White Scholar at NMU, Lindsay began a genetic analysis of the common loon and has recently completed sequencing the species’ entire genome. With the help of undergraduate and graduate students at NMU, he will now begin to analyze the genomic data. He previously received National Science Foundation support to collaborate with Boston University researchers on a related genetic sequencing project.
Providing NMU students with experiential learning opportunities is important to Lindsay, as evidenced by his loon studies and an intensive four-week spring field ornithology course. He also coordinated and led two field studies trips to Zambia to enhance students’ biological, ecological and cultural understanding of the country. Students designed and performed their own research projects during their nearly month-long travels and the “Zambassadors” described their experience as “transformative.”
Paul Lang, NMU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “Dr. Lindsay is truly extraordinary in his dedication to undergraduate and graduate students and their learning. He is first and foremost an exemplary teacher who engages his students deeply and actively.”
Lindsay has many ornithology-related presentations and publications to his credit and currently serves as board chair of the Michigan Audubon Society.