The University System of Maryland Board of Regents has selected Sarah A. Haines, professor of biological sciences, to receive a 2014 USM Regents’ Faculty Award for Public Service.
The award is the highest honor the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. Each year, up to 18 awards in six categories—collaboration, mentoring, public service, research/scholarship/creative activity, teaching and innovation—are presented.
“It’s an honor to be nominated and recognized by my coworkers for doing things that I truly love to do,” Haines says. “The public service activities I have been involved in all focus on things that I am very passionate about.”
Haines joined the Department of Biological Sciences faculty in 2000. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in zoology from the University of Georgia, as well as an M.A. in teaching from Salisbury University. She earned her B.S. degree in biological sciences and animal behavior from Bucknell University. In addition, she is certified by the Maryland State Department of Education to teach biology in grades 7-12.
A sampling from her remarkable record of public service includes her work with the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, a post to which she was appointed by the governor in 2008. As a member of its E-Literacy Standards and Practices Group, Haines assisted in reviewing and refining the draft environmental literacy curriculum and standards. The group also pushed successfully for the reinstatement of the environmental literacy graduation requirement. Its members are now focusing on a preservice teacher program environmental literacy requirement.
Haines has also served on the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s environmental education grants technical review panel, as a specialist in Taiwan’s Environmental Education Specialist Group, and as a volunteer curriculum writer and workshop facilitator for a joint project involving the states of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. In 2012 she was named to the SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibility) leadership council for the Chesapeake Bay Center for Innovation.
Her undergraduate biology courses are notable for integrating classroom learning and public service. BIOL 303, her life-science course for elementary education majors, takes place at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Middle school education majors enrolled in her BIOL 301 course participated in an action project on the grounds of a local school or nonformal environmental education organization. Her BIOL 382 course, which is offered in Costa Rica each summer, enables students to work with a local ecology club to complete a community action project.
She has served for the past 11 years as a Maryland Department of Natural Resources classroom volunteer through the TEAM (Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland) program. In this role she visits classrooms across the state to conduct presentations to K-8 students about Maryland environmental issues. She has also volunteered for the past several years at the Department of Natural Resources’ annual horseshoe crab release, held at Sandy Point State Park each May. More recently she was appointed to the DNR’s Invasive Species Education Project Leadership Team, where she will assist in developing lessons and activities for middle and high school students about Maryland’s invasive species.
Recipients of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents faculty awards will be honored at a special breakfast ceremony during the board’s April 11 meeting at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.