Marcus and Patterson Receive State's Highest Honor for Professors

  • Outstanding Faculty Awards
    Outstanding Faculty Awards  Paul Marcus, at right, and Mark Patterson have received 2010 Outstanding Faculty Awards.  
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Two William & Mary faculty members received the state's highest honor for professors, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) announced today. Paul Marcus, Haynes Professor of Law, and Mark Patterson, Associate Professor of Marine Science, are among only 12 professors out of 117 applicants statewide to receive the Commonwealth's Outstanding Faculty Awards.

The awards recognize the finest among Virginia's college faculty for their demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and public service. Patterson also received the OFA's sole "Teaching with Technology" award this year. According to SCHEV, the award is given to a professor with a "record of superior accomplishment in the use of innovative educational/instructional technologies" for instruction.

"This is great news," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. "William & Mary has a powerful tradition of being home to Outstanding Faculty Award winners.  This is because our faculty is compellingly good, as Paul and Mark make so clear. We are very proud of both of them."

Including this year's awardees, 35 William & Mary professors have received the honor since the awards' inception in 1987, more than any other university in the state. This year's awardees will be introduced on the floor of the Virginia General Assembly before receiving their awards during a luncheon ceremony on Feb. 18.

"It says something that William & Mary faculty continue to be recognized as the very best the state has to offer," said Provost Michael Halleran. "We're thrilled for Paul and Mark. They are an excellent showcase for the blend of teaching, scholarship and research that makes William & Mary such a special educational environment."

Marcus, who has taught at William & Mary Law School for 17 years, is internationally known as a distinguished scholar of criminal law and procedure, jury behavior and copyright law. He has authored five books and co-authored a sixth, and his treatises on conspiracy law and the entrapment defense are considered the definitive works in those areas.

Marcus is also known as one of the strongest teachers in the Law School. He consistently earns high reviews from his students, with 80 percent of his students awarding him the highest possible score for teacher effectiveness on end-of-the-semester evaluations. In the comment section of such evaluations, students praise Marcus for his enthusiasm, capability to make complex topics understandable and efforts to involve and empower students.

Marcus' teaching abilities prompted the Law School to name him as the inaugural Kelly Professor in Teaching Excellence, an endowed two-year chair designed to enable him to design programs to help improve teaching in the Law School. Marcus also received a teaching award from the Class of 2007.

"I am delighted to receive this great honor," said Marcus. "Our students here are extremely bright and highly engaged in the classroom experience. My enthusiasm for teaching them, as well as lawyers and judges, remains very strong."

In addition to being devoted to his students and research, Marcus has also been committed to public service. He has served at a community food bank, as a board member for Habitat for Humanity, and as a mentor for troubled middle-school students. He also started Lawyers Against Hunger, Lawyers for Habitat and a "Literature and the Law" program for inmates at a regional prison. Marcus' commitment to public service earned him William & Mary's Sullivan Award in 2006.

"Paul Marcus is a wonderful choice for a SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award," said Davison M. Douglas, Dean and Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law. "He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of criminal law and procedure, is an award-winning teacher, and has lived a life with a remarkable commitment to public service.  I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Paul Marcus."

Like Marcus, Patterson is accomplished both as a teacher and a scholar. An underwater explorer, inventor and entrepreneur, Patterson has served William & Mary's School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science for 16 years.

Being knowledgeable about both biology and electronics, Patterson leads an internationally renowned laboratory on autonomous systems at VIMS, where he developed one of the world's first free-swimming robots - an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle named Fetch - that is helping to revolutionize oceanography and being used for national defense. Patterson involves students in all levels of the use of these AUVs in cutting-edge research on the health of marine ecosystems from the Chesapeake Bay to Antarctica. An aquanaut with 79 days spent living underwater, he has used underwater robots as a teaching tool for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education, and he continually seeks out new methods and technologies - from YouTube videos and webinars to the remote control of his robots over the internet - to improve his teaching. Patterson often has undergraduates and high school students learning in his lab, and he has served as a mentor to numerous graduate students.

SCHEV only awards one "Teaching with Technology" award each year.

"I was very honored to be recognized by the selection committee for my research and teaching using technology I helped create, Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs)," Patterson said. "It has been a privilege to work with W&M students who energetically embrace new tools like AUVs, and put them to uses I never would have thought possible."

In addition to his work at VIMS, Patterson has also been heavily involved in the economic development of the region. His efforts in that area led to him being invited to witness the signing of a state bill to help fund research and development of unmanned systems in Virginia's colleges and universities. Patterson has produced 37 peer-reviewed papers, two U.S. patents and several academic awards. He has also received $2.4 million in extramural funding. In 2008, he received the Lockheed Martin Award, one of the highest honors in the field of Ocean Science & Engineering, for his sustained creativity in the field of underwater robots.

VIMS Dean and Director John Wells said the award "is extremely well deserved."

"Mark embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that we encourage at VIMS," said Wells. "His use of technology in teaching has been exemplary, as has his use of technology to provide solutions to the challenges facing marine scientists and marine resources."

For more information on the Outstanding Faculty Awards, visit