Wysocki Wins High-Profile Teaching Award

Mark Wysocki
Mark Wysocki

When Mark Wysocki received an early morning phone call from the president of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), his first thought was that he was late on his dues.

Instead, he learned he was getting the prestigious Edward N. Lorenz Teaching Excellence Award, given for his “unwavering dedication to inspiring generations of students in the classroom, and for compassionate involvement in the daily lives of his advisees,” according to the AMS.

“The award has been a shock,” said Wysocki, senior lecturer in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the New York State Climatologist. “You get this stuff out of the clear blue.”

While the win might have shocked the notably humble Wysocki, it came as no surprise to those who know his teaching the best. Former students described Wysocki as a committed educator who inspires in and out of the classroom.

“He is truly an amazing teacher,” said Shaun Thomas Howe ’16. “He will always be there, willing to lend an ear and help you through whatever problem you may be having.”

“Even after graduation, I still come to him for advice. He is a great lifelong friend,” said Joseph C. Y. Lee ’13, who described Wysocki as a teacher who excelled in connecting atmospheric science to everyday life in his lectures.   

Wysocki’s teaching style relies on discussing complex concepts and problems with students. He works hard to develop his courses and keep everyone engaged, from those studying to become meteorologists to the minors and non-majors who take his courses. As an educator, his aim has been to show that atmospheric sciences is fascinating material with practical applications for all. 

“Teaching is almost a mathematical equation. Students and teachers are weighted equally,” he said.

Lifelong learning is important to Wysocki. “Once you graduate, you still have to learn,” he said. Indeed, the professor with more than 30 years of teaching still attends courses taught by other Cornell experts. “I sit in classes and see so many talented instructors here and elsewhere. My success is really owed to their hard work.”

As the state climatologist, Wysocki’s teaching skills extend outside Cornell as well. He describes this role as someone who consults, forecasts, and dispenses historical knowledge to different kinds of students—farmers, managers, public citizens, even science teachers and young kids.

Wysocki will accept his award at the AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle in January, where he’s been invited to give a presentation and attend an awards banquet reception.

Melanie Cordova is communications coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.