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UT Tyler Biology Professor Recognized for Outstanding Contributions

May 16, 2013

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

Dr. Neil Ford, professor of biology at The University of Texas at Tyler, is the first recipient of the UT Tyler College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Professor Award, Dr. Martin Slann, college dean, announced.

Created this year, the award recognizes outstanding teaching and research contributions to the college and UT Tyler.

“Professor Ford has demonstrated extraordinary professional contributions during the more than three decades he has been a member of the biology faculty at UT Tyler,” Slann said. “He has worked and collaborated with outstanding UT Tyler students and jointly published in scholarly professional outlets.

“His classes are always full and always in demand. He is also regarded by his colleagues with the utmost respect and affection,” Slann added.

Ford has served UT Tyler since 1979. His research expertise is in life-history evolution. He has been examining the life history and behavior of snakes and freshwater mussels and their respected habitats since the 1990s.

Ford has been conducting mussel surveys in East Texas since 1994. In 1989, he established UT Tyler’s snake research colony. His recent research efforts have brought externally funded grants totaling almost $500,000, with collaborations alongside such entities as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

His honors include 2000-03 Mary John and Ralph Spence Distinguished Professorship, the 2003 UT Tyler President’s Scholarly Achievement Award and Elected Fellow of the Texas Academy of Science.

He currently serves on the university’s UT System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program Advisory Committee. The UT LSAMP Program is supported by funding from National Science Foundation and provides undergraduate research experiences in an effort to encourage students from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate level studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Ford holds a master of science in zoology from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in zoology from Miami University in Ohio.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.
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