Outstanding faculty members are sought out and recognized for their effective teaching. Each year, members of the Academy for Effective Teaching meet with classes representing all degree programs on campus to solicit student nominations of their most effective teachers. Finalists in the nomination process are invited to submit teaching portfolios which are then evaluated by Academy Steering Committee members. Recommendations are forwarded to the Provost, who makes the awards. Each of the faculty members selected for this award receives public recognition at the annual Honors Convocation. They also receive an increase to their base salary. The faculty members listed below have been recognized for their abilities to teach effectively.
Physical Therapy (1996-1997)
Engaging his students in the learning process is Barb's highest teaching priority. Because he prepares students to be teachers themselves for a variety of learners--patients, family members, students, and peers--he strives to be a good role model both inside and outside the classroom. "My learners have always been able to feel my passion for my subject matter, and I have seen them become excited as well, when they recognize its importance in their personal and professional lives. To be recognized by one's peers as an excellent teacher is an honor; however, to be nominated and supported by one's learners, I believe, is the greatest award a teacher can recieve."
Mathematics, Physics and Statistics (2011-2012)
Learning should be sweet, says Elizabeth Behrman, and to bear that out, she hands out chocolates and other candies to students who ask questions. She has a reputation for being tough but high quality, fair and exciting, and conveying well her passion for science, according to colleague and student evaluations. It's not unusual for her to spend evening and weekend hours outside of the classroom working with students. One student recalled that when she took Quantum Mechanics, Behrman met with the students for four hours every weekend for about three months to help. She's taught nearly every class offered within the physics curriculum, including “Physics for Poets,” as well as classes within the mathematics and chemistry departments
During the course of his teaching career, Belt came to realize his greatest challenge was not only to help motivated students, but to interest the disinterested. He says, "The mark of a really good teacher is not someone who can take an A student and make an A+ student out of them. Rather, the really good teacher is someone who can take a D student and make a B student out of them." Belt has risen to that challenge. He now teaches entry level management courses primarily because of his ability to instill an enthusiasm in students that often draws them toward management careers.
Administration of Justice (1995-1996)
A fervent believer in the Constitution and in America's justice system, Benson taught a course that took students through the entire judicial process--from the time a crime is committed through the prosecution of a defendant. Benson served as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, had been in private practice, and a municipal court judge. Benson's philosophy of teaching was that learning is not a one-way transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the student. He believed in the line from the stage play, The King and I, that if you are a good teacher, by your students you will be taught. From his students he learned patience and understanding.
Mathematics & Statistics (1999-2000)
For Brady, a teacher's responsibilities are as simple as "prepare, care, be fair and be there." His willingness to help is perhaps the trait most mentioned when students complete their evaluations in his class. One student wrote: He really cares about his students and wants us to learn all that we can so that we can excel in life.
Administration, Counseling, Education and School Psychology (2002-2003)
Burgert's popularity with her students is based on her interpersonal and teaching skills combined. One student comments, "She is very knowledgeable. She models what she is teaching." She has taught many educational psychology courses in the teacher education program and has consistently ranked in the 95 percentile in student perception teaching evaluations. Burgert says that her greatest strength as a teacher is her ability to plan effective lessons and maintain a positive classroom atmosphere.
Public Health Sciences (1997-1998)
Several students lauded Carter on his class preparation and with presenting relevant and interesting outside materials to his classes. Carter "loves his job," says one student. "He is extremely knowledgeable, and imparts his knowledge in a clear, concise manner." Another student says he "brings real world experience to our classroom. He remembers how hard it was to be a student but doesn't allow this to interfere with expectations and requirements."
Jen-Chi Cheng, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Economics, W. Frank Barton School of Business. Cheng has many letters of thanks and progress from former students – students who've gone on to work at Westar, Koch Industries, attend law or graduate school at places such as the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, or take positions internationally in Germany and China. While Cheng's own passion and enthusiasm are notable, it’s the extra things he does to encourage learning that also impress his colleagues and students – from starting a peer tutoring program to holding exam review sessions and teaching classes as unpaid overload responsibilities to ensure that graduate students can complete their degrees.
Art & Design (1999-2000)
"My students continually challenge, enhance and excite my own artistic ideas and practices, and through my own ongoing creative and professional activity, I try to provide stimulating, meaningful and individualized information. We learn from each other, and we teach each other. "My dedication to teaching has been consistently based on a combination of gratitude for the best instruction I received from some excellent former teachers and a desire to create my own approach to effective teaching in the discipline of painting and drawing."
Medical Technology (1999-2000)
Cochran's creative style has emerged with her ability to make complex information and concepts easier to understand. She uses many visual aids and clinical case studies, and she stresses the importance of developing analytical skills rather than just memorizing facts. To stimulate the students' brains, Cochran plays "Hematology Jeopardy" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" However, due to the competitive nature of the classmates, asking the audience for help isn't always an effective "lifeline." They don't always provide the correct answer.
Criminal Justice (2000-2001)
Cromwell is reminded of the importance of teaching when he sips coffee from his cup that says, "Those who can, teach. Those who cannot, go into some less significant line of work." The cup was given to him by a class 10 years ago. He brings real word experience into the classroom from his 20 years' experience as a drug and alcohol program director, a probation officer, various roles in juvenile justice and as a member of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Communicative Disorders (1998-1999)
"It is a humbling experience to be selected for any kind of teaching award, first, because any teacher is and will always be a 'work in progress,' and second, because teachers are made, not born, each being a reflection of influential teachers and a host of students who have helped to educate the teacher," says Edwards. A student commented that Edwards' teaching "is very consistent, reliable, and thorough. Even though his standards are tough I learn more from his class than most."
School of Nursing (2006-2007)
As a WSU instructor who also works continually in her professional field, Mary Faragher brings the world to her classroom. Faragher's teaching philosophy is driven by three principles, she said: compasson, excitement, and comprehensive knowledge of the course content. "As a teacher, my responsibilities within and outside of the classroom are based on these principles," said Faragher, whose goals include knowing each of her 60 students by name within the first two to three weeks of class. "Making them comfortable and letting them know they are valued lays the foundation for me to identify and focus on strengths and weaknesses.
School of Accountancy (2005-2006)
"All I ever wanted to be is a teacher" Flores said. "My late father was an accounting professor, so I caught the bug at a very early age." When students decide accountancy is in their future, he provides encouragement and support, according to students. "Without Professor Flores' help and guidance, I would not be where I am today," said Carl "Buck" Bonner, a December 2005 graduate. Through e-mails, cards and evaluations, students consistently rave about Flores' enthusiasm, use of technology and ability to help both struggling and achieving students understand accountancy.
Biological Sciences (1999-2000)
Fox has long had a reputation for using what his students call an "animated" style of teaching. For him, using hand gestures and body language isn't a gimmick to gain the attention of the hundreds of students who take his introductory classes. "I'm enthusiastic about it. I find this stuff very fascinating and I try to convey that."
Dental Hygiene (1996-1997)
Like many WSU students, a number of dental hygiene students have families, jobs, and other commitments that they sacrifice somewhat to obtain their degrees. Gonzalez tries to assist these students to learn, in her words, "in the most effective and efficient way. My challenge is what I can add to or how I can present the course material differently, so that I demonstrate to my students that I value their time and attention." Gonzalez is the first adjunct faculty member to receive an Academy for Effective Teaching award.
School of Social Work (2011-2012)
Natalie Grant understands that future social workers will encounter all kinds of life scenarios when they enter the field. “Social work is not just any degree,” wrote Grant in her nomination essay. “It is one where you become a professional helper with the skills, values and ethics that are upheld on the highest of levels. People in need in our community and in our world are very vulnerable and social workers have a very special place in the helping process.” She “is one of the most energetic and creative professors that I have met,” noted Brien Bolin, director of the School of Social Work.
Physician Assistant (2004-2005)
As a doctor of pharmacy, Hale knows her subject can be overwhelming to the students sent her way from health professions and sports medicine. She teaches to a mix of disciplines, including physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, dental hygiene and athletic training. I" started teaching with the notion that it would be a one-time venture, but I fell in love with it," said Hale. "I love that I was learning each and every day, right along with my students."
(deceased) Dental Hygiene (1997-1998)
"I want my students to feel the joy of accomplishment and to have positive feelings about themselves as learners, whether in a classroom or a clinical setting." According to students Huntley is a good listener, has the ability to make students feel comfortable, and provides a balance of constructive criticism, encouragement, and compliments. One student says, "Dr. Huntley cares about her students and gives 100 percent to them. I have always felt comfortable to question or seek additional information regarding a lecture without feeling intimidated."
Elliott School of Communication (2005-2006)
Excelling in the classroom is something that Huxman has done her entire college career. Huxman said "teaching is an opportunity to enact the very tenets in my discipline for judging effective communication: to communicate clearly, accurately, ethically and creatively." For Huxman, one way to "infect" student with enthusiasm is let them see and feel the passion a professor has for the subject. While students praised her academic knowledge, many pointed out that she shows genuine concern for her students and remains available to help students. "Dr. Huxman is one of the stars at WSU," said one former student, who noticed that Huxman combines research and teaching in the classroom.
When asked to list what he believes are his teaching responsibilities outside the classroom, Jarnagin doesn't hesitate to list as his top priority being "available to students for questions, counseling, and other student issues." Jarnagin believes in providing students with the best education they can receive in his classroom, which for him means being well prepared and organized and providing students with opportunities to express their points of view.
Political Science (2006-2007)
The great philosopher Airstotle, whose work also delved into the field of politics, said "The mind is a fire to be lit, not a vessel to be filled." That's the maxim that drives Mel Kahn's teaching philosophy. He's also driven by a committment that a successful democratic republic requires both a well-informed citizenry and effective leadership. Kahn takes great pride in seeing his students succeed, making himself available to mentor students. Students he once advised now hold political positions in local parties. He tutored Malawi student Enoch Chihana on lobbying tactics that helped to influence the U.S. government to pressure Malawi to free Chihana's father, a tortured and condemned political prisoner.
"He makes it known from day one that his job is to help the students learn, and maintains that goal throughout the course." Kahol, who has been with WSU since 1988 and done research for over twenty years, has published more than one hundred refereed research papers, made more than seventy national and international presentations and has worked in some on the world's best laboratories in England, Germany and the United States.
Keel has taken special effort to not make learning difficult for the thousands of students who have sat in his classroom. Recalling his own experiences as a student, the professors who were the best at their craft were those who made their expectations clear. "When I enter a classroom, I have a good idea of what to expect of my students, and I believe that many of them have some idea of what to expect of me. One thing I have come to learn, however, is that they often don't know what to expect of themselves, and that it is up to us to help them understand what we expect of them."
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (2012-2013)
The longer she teaches, the more she becomes a better friend to her students, says Preethika Kumar.That doesn't mean she's relaxing standards in the classroom. If anything, she's increased them. Kumar places great value in being a good person overall. She also wants to be a good professor and has realized that by placing high expectations on her students' academic outcomes, she is showing she cares. Senior Corbin Taylor is just one of many students who raves about Kumar. “Dr. Kumar is an exceptional professor, among the best I have ever had.” Kumar's research interests are in quantum computing, quantum neural networks and quantum algorithms, and says it's the students who fuel her enthusiasm and capacity to share knowledge.
Mechanical Engineering (2000-2001)
"I am a firm believer that one of the main goals of teaching should be to build a lifelong relationship with the students," says Lankarani who stays in touch with every one of the 50+ graduate students who have finished degrees under his supervision. Evidence of Lankarani's hard work and success is found through the impressive careers his students have achieved in the automotive and aircraft industries, in academic settings and high rates of WSU alums working in the Detroit auto industry. WSU is recognized as one of the leading institutions in the area of crashworthiness thanks to Lankarani's hard work.
Public Health Sciences (1998-1999)
Reflecting on her role as a teacher, Lescoe-Long says, "Instructor scholarship is the soul of any reputable university course. It is what differentiates a university education from a training program, because it offers students access to discipline-based virtuosos. These scholars have the potential to extend the limits of current thinking, both in their fields of endeavor, and more importantly, in their students."
Dental Hygiene (1998-1999)
Maseman's practical and clinical experience, and her extensive involvement in professional organizations for twenty years, is a testament to the philosophy she shares with students: "Dental hygiene professionals must be lifelong, independent learners." She gets to know the students as people, not just as students in the classroom and tries to convey her pride in dental hygiene to her students. One student says, "She makes learning a good experience as she combines instruction with liberal encouragement."
Public Health Sciences (1995-1996)
Matney believed his dedication to both students and the subject matter was fundamental in affording him success. He started each semester with a lecture format, but then let his students "set the stage" for learning, applying the basic sciences of pharmacology to their fields of study. "This manner of teaching allows me to enforce in the student's mind that the prerequisite courses for pharmacology are also prerequisite for the safe and effective delivery of medical care"
Matson's enthusiasm and "ability to educate and entertain at the same time" are often cited as his teaching strengths on student evaluations. In addition to his teaching style, students often find his ability to accept and support diversity appealing. Matson believes that teaching is "intimately personal," and he creates a more personal climate at WSU, if only by offering a simple "hello" to passing colleagues and students. Through his willingness to be part of WSU's recruiting efforts, Matson provides opportunities for prospective students to see the many "gifts" WSU can offer.
Mays says that he enjoys an informal classroom style with much dialogue. "Humor is very important. I encourage my students to be passionate in their musical pursuits and to have strong opinions. I hope that they learn to question ideas that are given to them, and not to accept information as fact until verified through their own research and experience."
McHugh encourages students to share knowledge and experiences, because she believes that sometimes that is how the best learning happens. "I have become firmly convinced that classroom teaching is a collaborative effort between the teacher and the students. We all learn and grow together, or we all stagnate together." McHugh "advocates for students" by seeking resources and technologies that will make learning more fun and accessible to students. She keeps her energy level high and reaches out to both traditional and nontraditional students.
L. Scott Miller
Aerospace Engineering (1997-1998)
Miller says that "WSU cares about teaching at the undergraduate level and the facilities and opportunities for doing research are great. You can balance research, publications and academics." Miller's enthusiasm in the classroom rubs off on his students. One student said, "He is one of the most enthusiastic and interesting professors I have ever had. He also has a great way of helping students understand by using common examples."
Moore-Jansen believes that the role of a college professor carries many responsibilities. He says, "Clearly, my responsibilities as a teacher in and out of the classroom are many-fold and include professional responsibilities both to my field of study, my colleagues and department, the University, and most of all, my students or student audiences.
Urban & Public Affairs (1997-1998)
Parker's experience as a municipal judge, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, city attorney, and city administrator enhance his ability to explain the intricacies of our criminal justice system to freshmen whose impressions of the system are often formed by high-profile criminal cases. He takes pride in making sure his students get current, useful information in his courses--learning that they can impact the criminal justice system through active participation as a voter, juror, and future criminal justice professional or understanding the complex theories of public administration. "My greatest joy is when a current or former student tells me that knowledge gleaned from one of my courses has positively impacted the way he or she functions professionally."
Electrical and Computer Engineering (2000-2001)
Pendse, who joined WSU's faculty in 1994, is well respected by his students. One student said, "He promotes the higest level of academic achievement. Also, he promotes high ethical standards. He is one of the most hard working professors that I have ever seen." "A teacher should be a friend and a mentor to a student. I feel that a student will work harder for a class if they perceive the teacher to be friendly," Pendse says . He emphasizes the importance of continual learning to his students while seeking answers to their questions in his dynamic field. If he is unable to find the answers himself, he invites his students to join him in the search for answers.
Perez seeks to continuously improve her teaching, modeling her style after teachers important to her. Attributes she has successfully developed include being well prepared, organized, personable and utilizing humor as an effective teaching tool. Working diligently to combine teaching, research and service--the cornerstones of WSU's mission, she seeks out community research projects for her sociology students. "This allows the students to apply in a concrete way all they're learning," Perez says. Students receive letters from Perez and the sponsoing angency to include in their portfolios on complettion of the project.
When asked to reflect on the role of teaching, Perline says, "To paraphrase Wilfred North Whitehead, I believe the classroom should contain an 'adventure of ideas' for anyone who will embark on it, or, in the words of Mame Dennis of 'Auntie Mame' fame, we should be 'opening a new window.' I believe my responsibility as a teacher is to ensure that students embark on Whitehead's adventure of ideas and that Mame's window is open." One of the hundreds of business students who have taken a course from Perline may well speak for all of them: "He explains difficult concepts at a level students can relate to."
Physical Therapy (2001-2002)
Pitetti, a Purple Heart recipient, is heavily involved in research concerning endurance training for people with disabilities and exercise management for people with chronic diseases and disabilities. His students commented about his working knowledge and sense of humor in the classroom. "His stories and illustrations bring the physiology of the human body to life. I respect him very much."
Physician Assistant (2007-2008)
Timothy Quigley's teaching objectives, and that of the College of Health Professions, is to develop a competent and compassionate health care provider with strong communication skills in listening, patient education and teamwork, and excellent problem solving abilities. He is consistently rated high by his students. "He is an excellent teacher and is always concerned for the student and the time that goes into class," said one. "He is very approachable and willing to help outside of the classroom." Inspiring the students is what its about for Quigley.
Computer Science (1998-1999)
Ramanan believes his primary responsibility as a teacher is to teach students to think. "It is not enough if they know the solution to some problem/question; they should know how to arrive at that solution in a logical manner. I want to teach them the key concepts and help them develop their analytical skills so that they can think logically and develop the solutions on their own." He challenges his students to think by crafting questions that demand more than memorizing facts. "I give full credit to an answer only if it is perfect; the answer should thorougly convince me that the student understands the issues very clearly."
M. Edwin Sawan
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (2008-2009)
Sawan approaches every class he teaches with a sense of enthusiasm and renewal - to the point that he develops a new set of notes, examples, tests and homework every semester for each class. "Each student has only one chance to learn this material," Sawan said of his practice. "Students will spend the rest of their careers with an impression of me and my subject based on how I treat them in a particular semester, regardless of my performance in other semesters." Sawan likens a classroom experience to that of preparing a wonderful meal for close friends - much time and effort go into the preparation and as people sit down to be fulfilled, all become equal and enjoy one another's company. On evaluations, students repeatedly praise Sawan for his organization, his clear explanations of concepts and his respectful treatment of students.
Department of Management (2007-2008)
Scott's teaching philosophy was developed through a combination of experience as a student, professor mentoring and general management theory. While taking a theater class from Phil Speary, Scott learned the value of clearly defining expectations for students. Scott also learned about teaching while she was a graduate assistant to a WSU professor John Belt, a former recipient of the AET Teaching Award. "She cares about her students and tries very hard to make class fun and informative," one student said. "She has helped me out a great deal with how I manage my employees, which is a testament to her ability to relate abstract theory with real-world application. I cannot say enough good things about Ms. Scott."
Minority Studies (1999-2000)
When he talks about Native American history, culture and issues, Shaw, a member of the Osage tribe, speaks from his experiences or those he has gathered by listening to the stories of his Navajo and Crow friends. "There is a lot of information available about Native American cultures, any of it can be repeated, but it is my purpose to provide insight through my experience for my students." By sharing his stories and those of his Native American brethren, he carries on the oral tradition of his people. While he's helped many non-Indians understand and appreciate his culture, he's also served as a role model for scores of Native American children through a tutoring program he started in the Wichita Public Schools. "I think my gift has been my ability to go into the classroom and help people understand."
Electrical and Computer Engineering (2004-2005)
Faculty and students agree that Skinner's combination of knowledge and experience benefits him in the classroom as he teaches such courses as electronic circuits, integrated electronics, optics and optical networks. If you ask Steven Skinner what makes a good teacher, he's likely to point to the saying "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."
Nicholas E. Smith
School of Music (2003-2004)
His talent for teaching is affirmed by his students. One student comments: "Years of playing and teaching have made him one of the most effective and enjoyable teachers in the department." Smith is always working toward the goal of connecting students by bringing the best teachers and professional performers to campus, and by sending students to as many conferences, workshops and summer festivals as possible. Smith also collaborates with faculty and student composers to showcase their works. Smith says "Music is a collaborative art and is learned through experience playing in ensembles and studying with a mentor/pedagogue." "To be able to help young minds and talent succeed," he says, "is a priviledge. Nicholas Smith is also principle horn of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.
School of Art and Design (2009-2010)
I have a lot of passion for other cultures and ways of thinking,” Smith said. “I want my teaching to be infectious so that my students can become passionate about that, too. I want students to quest and question.” On that front, he seems to succeed, according to Miller, the college dean, who noted Smith’s student comment evaluations are among the most laudatory he’s read. “He really stimulates thinking and interacting in class,” said Teresa Veazey, Ulrich Museum public relations manager and three-time student of Smith. “That’s what makes taking classes by Royce so interesting.” Smith’s contributions to the School of Art and Design have been significant, his colleagues said. “Royce’s curriculum development has raised the level of scholarly discourse in the School of Art and Design to that of a research-intensive university,” said Annette LeZotte, the school’s associate director.
Finance, Real Estate and Decision Sciences (2007-2008)
In total, Spurgeon spent 20 years practicing law full time. In 1997, he began teaching at WSU as an adjunct instructor in business law. Spurgeon believes that teachers have a responsibility greater than just teaching the assigned material. He strives to inspire students to have a love of discovery. Spurgeon's students appreciate his teaching style. "Mr. Spurgeon is an excellent instructor and teaches from his extensive hands-on-knowledge," one student wrote. "This makes class exciting. I would take any course that he taught. Another student wrote: "The instructor is definitely the best I've had so far during my MBA studies. He was great at sharing personal experience and allowing students to ask quesitons. This class was worth every penny."
Certain teachers stand out for what they can teach in a classroom; others make an impression for who they are as a person. Talaty is a combination of both. He anticipates a student's difficulties understanding chemistry, a stereotyped "tough subject," so he conveys the simplicity by relating it to everyday functions such as eating, digesting food, taking medicine and wearing clothes. "Chemistry is all around us," Talaty explains. One student said, "His knowledge and passion are unparalleled at WSU. He is dynamic in the classroom and charming and personable in the office."
Gamal S. Weheba
Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (2013-2014)
Gamal Weheba's teaching and research is all about quality. His success in the classroom, his teaching awards record and the fact that he's the only Kansan recognized as a fellow in the American Society for Quality (ASQ) are all testaments to his field. Since coming to WSU in 1999, he is a four-time winner of the engineering college's Polished Professor Award, two-time winner of the college's Dwane and Velma Wallace Outstanding Educator Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2008 recipient of Wichita State's 2008 Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Award. He's also a consistent high scorer – in the university's Student Perception of Teaching Effectiveness evaluations. Weheba works hard to ensure his students are well-prepared and seen as top-notch in quality standards. To help give students a competitive edge in the marketplace, he compiled primers, which are available in Ablah Library, so students can study for ASQ certification exams.
If there's a prevailing philosophy that permeates Wright's teaching, it is to question what is presented as fact or truth. He reminds students that interpretations of facts, whether they be in a textbook, an article, or even his class lectures, are often presented with the biases of the person compiling the data. The power to be skeptical and critical helps students assess themselves and others in various situations. He rarely uses a textbook in his class, reminding students that a textbook offers one perspective. Using his research and that of others in his field, along with other sources, he provides a variety of viewpoints on particular topics. One student raved, "[His] teaching techniques are great!"
Aerospace Engineering (2003-2004)
Yang is very involved in his students' education. He makes time for students outside of the classroom and is the faculty advisor for Pi Tau Sigma, the student honor society of Mechanical Engineering. Yang has been described as an exceptional teacher who is intelligent, humorous and down to earth. One student said, "He has answers to all questions and has excellent knowledge in the related field." He is very enthusiastic about the subject matter that he teaches, and is always willing to give advice to students. He announces in each of his classes his open-door policy for students to ask questions. Another student says "An example is the high amount of respect that students have for Dr. Yang, as they know nothing less would be given to them."