University of San Diego’s Mitchell Malachowski Named California Professor of the Year

University of San Diego Chemistry Professor Mitchell Malachowski, who has become a national leader in promoting undergraduate research, will be honored today (Nov. 20) as the 2014 California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Malachowski was selected from nearly 400 top professors in the United States.

“We are delighted that Professor Malachowski is receiving this national recognition for his exceptional contributions as a scholar, teacher and mentor who has positively influenced the lives and careers of hundreds of students and made a lasting impact on the field,” said University of San Diego President Mary E. Lyons.

Malachowski will be honored at an awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and an evening reception at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

“This award speaks to the overall quality of the University of San Diego’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the value our faculty place on undergraduate research,” Malachowski said. “Many people here have helped me develop my approach to teaching.”

Earlier this year, Malachowski also received the 2014 Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Fellows Award at its national conference, also held in Washington, D.C. Since 2006, he has received $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation to conduct more than 40 workshops across the country to help promote a culture of undergraduate research to promote and enhance student achievement.

Over the last five years, Malachowski’s work has focused on developing metal organic compounds that hold the potential to trap greenhouse gases, store hydrogen gas for fuel and provide applications for nanotechnology.

Students who have conducted research with him say he has made a lasting impact on their education. “I am excited for anyone else who gets to spend time in his lab in their time at USD because I know they will learn about chemistry, will learn about themselves, and will love working with him,” said David Peters, who graduated summa cum laude last spring with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is now planning to attend graduate school. Malachowski prepares students to conduct research but has a “hands-off” style that helps students realize they can find the answers on their own, Peters said.

A native of Rhode Island, Malachowski earned his bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry from Rhode Island College and his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The Carnegie Foundation and CASE have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981 to honor extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching. CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel which selected four national winners. CASE and Carnegie also selected 31 state winners, including Malachowski, from top entries resulting from the judging process. Professors are nominated by their peers from institutions across the country.

In 1990, University of San Diego Sociology Professor Judith Liu also received the California state award. For more information about the program go to

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Denise Ward
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