Sumrall Named 2012 Outstanding Mississippi College Science Teacher

Educator praised as a mentor to students and colleagues

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi education professor Joe Sumrall is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding College Science Teacher Award from the Mississippi Science Teachers Association.


“This was quite an honor,” said Sumrall, professor of elementary education and coordinator of undergraduate programs in the UM School of Education. “It meant a lot to be recognized for 25 years as a science educator.”


The Outstanding College Science Teacher Award is an annual, statewide honor. Sumrall was nominated by fellow UM education faculty members and was chosen for his experience and service to students.

The Mississippi Science Teachers Association has honored Joe Sumrall as the 2012 Outstanding College Science Teacher.

“Dr. Sumrall’s classes have been a place where we learn together and not a place where we sit and listen to a lecture,” said Carl Dewitt, an Ole Miss doctoral student in science education. “He has been a mentor and has helped me refine my research and guided me in my quest to become a master teacher.”


Sumrall has previously served as director of the Mississippi Science and Engineering State Fair. Furthermore, in his faculty position, he assists undergraduate and graduate students with presenting and publishing research and grant proposal writing. He serves as a teacher-mentor for high school science teachers throughout the state.


An Ole Miss alumnus, Sumrall holds bachelor’s degrees in zoology and chemical engineering from UM and a master’s and doctorate in science education from the University of Southern Mississippi. A former high school science teacher in Florida, Sumrall joined the School of Education faculty in 2000. He teaches secondary science methods, graduate and undergraduate classes, and elementary science education.


“There is a lot of satisfaction knowing that what you teach will be transferred to K-12 schools,” Sumrall said.”Hopefully I’m making a difference as far as teachers teaching science. That motivates me.”