May 11, 2017

Professor of chemistry appointed to faculty athletic representative position

President Mitch Daniels has appointed Marcy Towns, professor of chemistry, as the newest faculty athletic representative.

Towns has been appointed to the position for a three-year term, effective July 1.

"Purdue and the Big Ten have high academic standards for student-athletes, and faculty oversight is one key to meeting and maintaining those standards," Daniels says. “I am delighted that Marcy Towns, an award-winning teacher and, incidentally, a devoted Boilermaker sports fan, has accepted this responsibility."


The faculty athletic representative serves as part of the 18-member Athletic Affairs Committee, which reviews and makes recommendations on the sufficiency of academic-support resources available to the student-athletes; ensures that the highest standards of academic integrity are applied across athletic programs; monitors the time demands for practice and competition placed on the student-athletes; and oversees student disciplinary process when such cases arises.

"Faculty athletic representatives play a key role in the administration and governance of our athletic programs, with a primary focus on the overall experience of our student-athletes,” says Mike Bobinski, vice president and athletics director. “I’m certain that she will be a strong advocate for ensuring our student-athletes achieve their athletic goals while engaging fully in their academic pursuits.”

In collaboration with the athletics director and his staff, the Athletic Affairs Committee frequently is called upon to review and monitor Purdue's compliance with guidelines issued by the Big Ten and the NCAA.

"I am delighted to be appointed as a faculty athletics representative for Purdue. I'm looking forward to working with Mike Bobinski, Ed Howat and other staff in the athletics department to assure the academic integrity of our athletics program and support the academic goals of our student-athletes," Towns said.

Towns’ work focuses on using a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods to investigate factors that impact how students learn chemistry. As part of her research program she has investigated the learning goals that faculty have for undergraduate chemistry laboratory and how to help students achieve them.  Her research in digital badging to improve student hands-on laboratory skills received the Class of 1922 Outstanding Innovations in Helping Students Learn Award.

Towns earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Linfield College and master’s degree in chemical education and doctoral degree in physical chemistry, both from Purdue. She is a fellow of the American Chemical Society and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received several Purdue honors, including a special Boilermaker Award, being named among the Distinguished Women Scholars, being named a Teaching Academy fellow, a recipient of the Learning Community Ambassadors Award, and the Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching.

She replaces Christie Sahley, who had served as faculty athletic representative since 2000.

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