There may never have been a time when it was more important to be an innovative teacher than this spring semester.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced classes online and John R. Cummings, a senior lecturer in biological sciences in the College of Science, is one of the teachers who embraced the challenge.

“Because my role with the university is instructional, it is especially rewarding that what I am doing in the classroom is seen as valuable and noteworthy,” he said. “This has been amplified by this spring, given the complexities of modifying the delivery to an online format. To have been seen as effective in making this transition brings me not only pride but also a sense of accomplishment in helping the students navigate these unique and difficult situations.”

Cummings was selected by Student Government to receive the 2020 Phil Prince Innovation in Teaching Award. Named for the former life trustee and president of Clemson University, the award recognizes innovative teaching methods inside the classroom and a sincere dedication to Clemson University students.=

Cummings is well-known among students for his care, support and sense of humor. Additionally, he uses new and innovative teaching methods during labs and offers online simulations that can be done remotely.

It is noted that he creatively engages and uniquely challenges students. One nominator wrote, “I learned more in his class than any could have ever taught me. He prepared me for a career in medicine, with the epicenter being a kind and compassionate heart. He goes above and beyond in all he does.”