Dr. Debra Dunlop Is Honored by New England College | New England College

Dr. Debra Dunlop Is Honored by New England College

May 07, 2024

Dr. Debra Dunlop, one of New England College’s longest-standing and incredible faculty members, was recently honored as she becomes a senior professor. Dr. Dunlop is Associate Dean of the Science, Health, and Exercise Division and Professor of Biology and Health Science.

From left: Dr. Patricia Corbett, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dr. Debra Dunlop

Deb’s commitment to New England College students and faculty has been lifelong, beginning in 1972 when she attended NEC as a student. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from NEC (class of 1976), and as an undergraduate, she valued the mentorship of Dr. Michael Wirth, with whom she shared a passion for all things botanical. Shortly after graduating, Deb was invited back to take on the role of laboratory instructor in Biology, teaching most of the science lab classes for two years. After a 10-year hiatus, she returned as an Assistant Professor of Biology in 1990 and subsequently moved up the ranks to associate professor and then professor.

As a faculty member, she taught 15 different courses, many with a focus on ecological and botanical lab activities. She supported these courses with curricular innovations from three Engaged Learning Grants, seven Gilmore Awards, and a Hunt Foundation Grant for Biology. Students valued her approaches to teaching about the natural and botanical world, and in 2014, she was awarded the New England College Kilgore Award for Excellence in Teaching.

As a botanist, her four decades of botanical activities focused on the conservation and protection of New England’s biodiversity, resulting in peer-reviewed publications, numerous rare plant recovery plans, and 30 unpublished reports on specific rare and endangered species in New England for state, federal, and non-profit organizations. She also contributed content to the Flora of North America Project. The New England Plant Trust recognized her with the 2002 State of New Hampshire Award for her dedication to searching, monitoring, and writing about rare plant species and for inspiring students about the importance of plant conservation.

Since 1998, Deb has been a passionate advocate and the primary academic leader in the sciences at New England College, holding positions as the chair of the Biological and Environmental Science Collegium; Associate Dean; and now Dean of the Science, Health, and Exercise Division. Additionally, Deb has helped to build a research culture in the sciences by serving as the principal investigator for the Research Support and Training Grant funded by the National Institutes of Health IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE). She has managed this 3.7-million-dollar award, supporting 14 years of research activities with seven faculty researchers/mentors and research training for over 140 students in NEC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). Additionally, she has managed to build the research infrastructure at the college with INBRE-funded equipment purchases and renovations, enhancing the science curriculum, scholarship, and engaged learning. Thus, Deb has been instrumental in growing the prestige and impact of the sciences at New England College over the last several decades, having positive impacts on countless students as a teacher/mentor, a scientist, and an administrator.

Deb is the 2023 recipient of the New England College William Troy Award, the most prestigious award presented by the NEC Alumni Association. Congratulations, Deb! New England College is lucky to have you and for so many years.

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