[The following bio sketch can be found on the 2020 LMU Faculty Awards website.]
The President’s Distinguished Teaching Award is named after Mr. Fritz B. Burns, who during his lifetime was a major benefactor to Loyola Marymount University. The purpose of the award is to encourage and reward excellence in teaching at LMU. The 2020 recipient for the Fritz B. Burns Distinguished Teaching Award is Jonas Mureika, Professor of Physics.
Professor Mureika is a highly dedicated teacher who engages his students, both in and outside of the formal classroom setting with passion and “a penchant for performance.” He has taught Physics courses at all levels, for both science and engineering majors, as well as a core course for students across the university; consistently demonstrating his ability to communicate advanced science concepts in an easily-understood fashion, be it to STEM majors or non-science students. Professor Mureika’s enthusiasm draws students in to fully engage in the many active learning opportunities he provides. For instance, in 2005, Professor Mureika developed a new Core Course titled Weapons of Mass Destruction. In this course, students learn the scientific principles behind nuclear weapons and explore the social and ethical issues surrounding their use. This course has remained popular with students over the years and pushes them to make connections between science, society and ethics. As a culmination to this course, he takes the students on a tour of the Nevada National Security Site to see first-hand the relics of nuclear tests and their effects. His aim is that his students will develop a non-biased sense of these weapons and their physical effects, as well as gauge their political and sociological impact.
Professor Mureika excels as a mentor to his students. His collaborations with students have led to virtually all these students presenting at one or more professional meetings or conferences, and at least eight students have co-authored publications, many garnering various awards. He was awarded the 2018 Elizabeth and Michael Rudinica Award for Student-Faculty Research in recognition of his outstanding mentorship in research that enriches our students’ academic experience by his college. And, finally, in the words of one of his students, “He continuously offers my fellow academics and I the opportunity to grow in ways we otherwise never thought capable.”