Tidwell ’94 inspires students with lessons learned at UM
Dr. Cindy Tidwell’s connection with the University began as an undergraduate. As a native of Calera, she was well aquainted with the opportunities offered at UM. She was awarded the Valedictorian Scholarship at Calera High School and began attending
UM in 1989.
As an alumna of UM, she is inspired to work diligently for the students. “I feel very obligated to do an awesome job as a faculty member because I had awesome professors,” she said.
In her description of UM, she said, “It’s a place where a student can come and get very involved very quickly. Faculty members here have a tendency to take the students under their wing and really help them get to where they want to be. I found that as a student, and I try to do that as a faculty member. The faculty here really pushed me when I was a student. They really challenged us.”
During her 15 years as a faculty member at UM, Tidwell has focused on student success. Her students comment that she will drop what she is doing to help them with whatever they need, whether it be an explanation of a concept, a reference letter or just a word of encouragement. Because she truly believes in the life-changing power of undergraduate research participation, Tidwell also took on the role of coordinator of the Undergraduate Research Program at UM.
“Dr. Tidwell champions undergraduate research on our campus by reaching out to faculty and students in all areas of study and encouraging them to participate and present their work. For the past six years, she has taken students from all disciplines to the annual undergraduate research conference hosted by COPLAC,” said Dr. Houston Byrd, chair of the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Math at UM.
Tidwell was recently awarded The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges’ (COPLAC) 2017 Charles Dunn Award which recognizes a faculty member whose commitment to student success goes “above and beyond” the classroom and office, the traditional roles of teacher, academic advisor and mentor. The faculty member will have demonstrated, over the course of many years, extraordinary attention to students as individuals who sometimes face unique challenges, both on and off campus, which may compromise their academic performance.
“Dr. Tidwell is considered one of our best teachers and mentors, and she does an outstanding job with our transformational Undergraduate Research Program. She is a dedicated and positive presence on our campus, and students greatly appreciate her passion for UM and for their success,” said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mary Beth Armstrong.