Eastern Michigan University professor Steve LoDuca honored with Outstanding Educator Award

Steve LoDuca stands beside some large fossils and bones
(Photo by Andrew Fogle)

YPSILANTI – The American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Michigan Section recently awarded Steve LoDuca, Eastern Michigan University professor of paleontology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, the Outstanding Educator Award. 

LoDuca was nominated by colleague Chris Gellasch, associate professor of hydrogeology, hydrology and environmental science. Gellasch met LoDuca as a student, attending the first class LoDuca taught. Gellasch’s undergraduate research project served as the first student project LoDuca advised. Gellasch now works at EMU with LoDuca. 

“LoDuca is a good fit for this award because he is a passionate, energetic teacher in the classroom and an excellent field geologist,” said Gellasch. “Students are frequently inspired to become geology majors after taking one of his courses. He can effectively communicate his wealth of geologic knowledge in a way that makes it accessible to undergraduate students.”

Each semester, LoDuca teaches multiple courses, ranging in difficulty from 100-level general education courses to upper-level geology courses to undergraduate students. 

“My fascination with fossils began at a young age,” said LoDuca. “My family had a gravel driveway composed of crushed limestone in Wisconsin, and at age five, I would pick through the rocks to discover fossils. Now, as an educator, I strive to share my fascination and make my courses meaningful.”

EMU provides LoDuca the opportunity to conduct his research in paleontology, focused on the early evolution of macroalgae and co-evolutionary relationships, and stratigraphy, focused on the Michigan and Appalachian basins. LoDuca has worked with international colleagues and traveled to Estonia and China to expand his studies.

LoDuca approaches his teaching style like a research project. “Being an educator is everything to me,” said LoDuca. “Every evening, I reflect on the courses I have taught and the feedback I have received, then I hypothesize changes. I test those changes by going into the classroom and trying them with the students. I think it’s my responsibility to make sure the students understand.”

LoDuca accepted his award at the AIPG Michigan Section event on Dec. 8, 2022. Gellasch spoke to commemorate LoDuca’s more than 30 years of teaching. Several of LoDuca’s former and present students were in attendance.

To learn more about the AIPG award, visit the webpage. To learn more about LoDuca’s work at EMU, visit his faculty profile webpage.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

February 01, 2023

Written by:
Andrew Fogle

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher