Biology professor named 29th winner of Collins Outstanding Professor Award

Dr. Mojgan Parizi-Robinson receives the Collins Outstanding Professor Award. Grace Everett | Photographer

By Megan Hale | Reporter

Dr. Mojgan Parizi-Robinson was selected as the 29th winner of the Collins Outstanding Professor Award for Baylor’s 2022 academic year.

For over 10 years, Parizi-Robinson has taught General Human Anatomy (BIO 4432) and Modern Concepts of Bioscience (BIO 1305) as a senior lecturer in Baylor’s Department of Biology. She also teaches a pedagogy course, Biology Education Theory (BIO 3100), training students on how to teach and lead their peers in and out of the classroom through the learning assistant program.

The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation in order to recognize and honor outstanding professors at Baylor. Each school year, Baylor’s senior class selects the recipient, who receives a cash award of $10,000, recognition in university publications, citation on a plaque and recognition in the spring commencement program.

Parizi-Robinson said she was surprised and humbled by this honor.

“I was shocked beyond belief,” Parizi-Robinson said. “I had no idea. I feel so humbled. I feel that in large part, this award truly belongs to the learning assistants who helped me transform this course, and I just feel very undeserving and very grateful.”

Each year, the Collins Outstanding Professor Award recipient also gives a lecture on a subject of their choice along with their acceptance of the award. Parizi-Robinson gave a lecture entitled “Teaching Human Anatomy with Love and Peer Education” on April 21 in the Baylor Sciences Building.

Tyler senior and senior class president Luke Twaddell introduced Parizi-Robinson and presented her with a certificate highlighting her acceptance of the award. Twaddell described her as “beloved by many students throughout Baylor University.”

During her speech, Parizi-Robinson expressed her gratitude to her learning assistants. Learning assistants participate in Parizi-Robinson’s pedagogy course, lead peer-to-peer teaching in the classroom by practicing material with students and help her prepare lecture material each week before class.

Through this mentorship program, application of knowledge and her flipped classroom lecture style, Parizi-Robinson has seen students become much more active and engaged in the classroom.

Parizi-Robinson also said she emphasizes the importance of loving, encouraging and empowering students.

“Hard work and a little bit of struggle creates resilience,” Parizi-Robinson said.

Abilene junior Bennett Schackmuth said he has known Parizi-Robinson since the spring of his sophomore year and has since joined her learning assistant mentorship program.

“I know she’s a very good professor and teaches students above and beyond what most people would learn,” Schackmuth said. “To see her work in both teaching human anatomy and teaching pedagogy, I was very happy for her, because she put in that work a lot throughout the years, and it’s really paying off for her.”

Schackmuth said Parizi-Robinson has played a pivotal role in his own life and has acted as a mentor to him when deciding which career path to pursue.

“[Dr. Parizi-Robinson] said, ‘Find something you love, and you’ll enjoy doing it for the rest of your life,’” Schackmuth said. “And so I’m really glad that she told me that, because I found what I love to do, and I’m going to see if I can do it for the rest of my life.”

When asked to share a closing piece of advice with students, Parizi-Robinson said it is important to do hard things and be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

“I tell my students to do something hard every day, whatever your hard is,” Parizi-Robinson said. “If you do something hard every day, then it will build resilience and growth. Whatever that hard is, then you can say to yourself, ‘If I did that, then I can do anything.’”