November 9, 2015

Dr. Brett Noerager Honored as Inaugural Distinguished Professor

Montevallo, Ala. – The University of Montevallo is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Brett Noerager to the Todd and Linda Strange Endowed Professorship.


Dr. Noerager was formally recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on the University of Montevallo campus on Friday, November 6.


Dr. Noerager is a 1993 graduate of the University of California at San Diego, earning a B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience. He also completed a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2002. Following tenures on faculty at U.A.B. and Birmingham Southern, he later joined the UM faculty in 2007.


Currently an Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Noerager teaches courses such as Principles of Biology, Introductory Biology I, Anatomy, Physiology, and Immunology, and well as Honors courses in Biology.


“The Distinguished Professor title wasn’t initially on my radar,” Noerager said, “I knew there was going to be an opportunity for assistance with research and opportunities for my students so I applied. I am honored to be named the Distinguished Professor, especially since it’s the first appointment at the University.”


During their three-year appointment, the Distinguished Professor will receive a stipend to spend on classes, research, travel, and other items at the professor’s discretion.


As a part of the application process, Noerager had to outline how his stipend will be divided, with a large majority of the funds going to classroom, laboratory, and preparation for post-graduate opportunities for his students. He will also use some of the gift to complete personal research projects and fund the registration and travel costs to present the research and represent Montevallo at conferences across the United States and Canada.


“Initially, I want to make sure the stipend is spent on improving my classroom and laboratory environments,” said Noerager, adding that he specifically plans on upgrading the lab materials for his Physiology and Anatomy classes.


Because Noerager is the primary health advisor, he works with students interested in pursuing a variety of post-graduate health degrees. Over his three-year appointment, he plans to put a portion of the money into his post-graduate exam library.


“As the primary health advisor, I have students that are interested in pursuing any possible health field available. Because of that, I try to keep any up-to-date study guide they may need on hand,” Noerager said. “Some students are studying for the MCAT, some the DAT, or even the GRE.”


However, Noerager’s contact with students stretches far beyond simply teaching and advising. He serves as faculty advisor for the Golden Key International Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, the Biology Club, and the UM Pre-Health Professional Society.


Additionally, Dr. Noerager serves as Race Director for the annual Run for Research, which benefits the UM Undergraduate Research Program, and spreads awareness of research opportunities in any school or department on campus. Noerager believes that the undergraduate research emphasis at Montevallo is a great asset to these students in the application process for post-graduate programs.


“The research project is a detail that may put someone applying to medical school ahead of another applicant. Our class size and student-teacher ratio presents a perfect opportunity for students to receive one-one-one attention with a professor to create an individual and valuable research project,” Noerager commented.


An active scholar with a sustained record of excellence as a researcher, Dr. Noerager was recognized as University Scholar in 2012. He has an equally notable record of service to the University, serving on numerous campus committees, such as the Teacher Education Committee and the Health Profession Advisory Committee, which he has chaired since 2011.


A professor who is as known for his passion for his students as he is about his discipline, Noerager was voted by the audience as the sole survivor during the 2012 Life Raft Debate. In the classroom, he effectively shares his enthusiasm for and knowledge of his subject matter with his students, who consistently give him the highest scores across all categories on which faculty are evaluated.


When asked about Dr. Noerager, Biology major Nicholas Rivers commented that the professor is an amazing teacher and very knowledgeable about the human body, but that wasn’t all that makes him outstanding. “Dr. Noerager is able to relate to his students in a way where learning just comes naturally,” Rivers said.  “His passion for his career as a researcher, advisor, and professor can clearly be seen in the way that he teaches. He is undoubtedly distinguished among his peers. Professors like Dr. Noerager are what makes the University of Montevallo so special.”


“I’m so honored to be named a Distinguished Professor, but being the first of this kind truly means so much to me,” Noerager commented. “I hope to make this appointment a talking point for President Stewart and the University, and that in the long run our University can use this position to continue to attract high quality students.”