Professor is respected scholar, educator and mentor
OCTOBER 1, 2015 | By EDWIN SMITH
Since receiving his doctorate 16 years ago from the University of Georgia, Tschumper has been a significant contributor to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the entire university. As a teacher, he has the reputation of being extremely challenging and highly effective.
Tschumper said one of the things that motivates him is the respect he has for his colleagues.
“It is very humbling when you look at previous recipients of this award, and I certainly do not feel like my name belongs on that list,” Tschumper said. “This award says more about the amazing environment in which I have the privilege of working than it does about me.”
Tschumper said he is passionate about research and teaching, and considers himself fortunate to be at a university that places a high value on both.
“Every day I get to interact with outstanding students, not only in the classroom but also in the research lab,” he said. “All of my research at Ole Miss has been accomplished with the help of the bright minds and hard work of our graduate and undergraduate students. Any success I’ve had as a teacher or a scholar stems from the talented people around me and being in an atmosphere that fosters the growth of that talent.”
The Burlington Northern Award was established in 1985 to honor superior teaching faculty who were also active researchers. This award evolved into the Faculty Achievement Award, which is given annually to recognize unusual effort in the classroom, involvement with students, active scholarship and service to the university.
One student wrote of Tschumper’s courses: “His teaching style relies on self-study quite a bit. You’ll have to work for this class, for he is determined to make his students the best chem students on this campus.”
Another evaluation letter stated that he is “probably one of the most challenging professors on this campus, but he is always willing to work with you to get better.”
Tschumper joined the chemistry and biochemistry department in 2001 after working as a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zürich in Switzerland and at Emory University. He has also provided service to the university, including his contributions on the University Research Board and the Faculty Senate.
In the area of scholarship, Tschumper’s achievements are remarkable, and he has established himself as an expert in physical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, computational chemistry, non-covalent interactions, hydrogen bonding and van der Waals forces. He has published an average of four-plus peer-reviewed journal articles per year since joining the UM faculty. Tschumper has also received more than $3 million in federal grants for research and student support.
Tschumper’s other professional honors and awards include the 2009 Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. He has served as the Computational Chemistry Research Focus Group Leader on an EPSCoR award from the National Science Foundation that has brought in more than $20 million to the state of Mississippi for research and STEM education.
Tschumper is also the principal investigator on a major research instrumentation award from the NSF for a GPU supercomputer housed at the Mississippi Center for Supercomputing Research on campus.
He is the father of two daughters, Kate and Anne Paige.