Faculty known for their commitment to students and the university received awards during a ceremony at the High Country Conference Center on April 20.
Joseph Collentine, chair of Modern Languages, K. Laurie Dickson, chair of Psychology, and Blase Scarnati, director of the University First Year Seminar Program and associate professor for the School of Music, received the President’s Award for Faculty and Academic Professionals from NAU President John Haeger.
The three were singled out to receive the award for their exemplary contributions to the NAU mission in at least three categories: creativity in teaching, creative use of technology, advising, assessment, recruitment/ retention, collaborative research, diversity and service.
Haeger and Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, presented more than 70 awards, including faculty promotions, to those who demonstrate excellence in their profession throughout the year.
Among them were six faculty members who were presented with the Teacher of the Year Award from their colleges, and others were recognized for promotion and tenure status.
Cynthia Hartzell, Michelle Miller, Sheila Nair and Tom Paradis also were honored as the 2011 Distinguished Teaching Fellows.
The three-year appointment recognizes the scholars’ impact on undergraduate learning and provides them the opportunity to develop and teach their “dream course.” They also become board members on the NAU Teaching Academy.
Hartzell, an associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, teaches courses in physical chemistry and continues to work on bringing innovations to her courses and labs. She teaches, as she puts it, “to see a light bulb go on.” The grants she has written have provided new lab equipment to support her teaching innovations and mentoring opportunities.
Miller is a professor of psychology who emphasizes that teaching is about learning and student success. Her leadership in the course redesign efforts on campus and within her department has contributed to reducing the failure rate by one-half. In addition, she lives out a teaching philosophy that “all students can learn” and that “student effort is the basis for successful teaching and learning.”
Nair is a professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs whose work in global human rights, global poverty and global politics leads students to say they are “constantly stimulated to analyze, contextualize and understand complex internal political matters.” This stems from an integration of her own research into the curriculum and her commitment to having students not only to think outside the box, but also to “probe the construction of the box.”
Paradis, professor of Geography, Planning and Recreation, keeps students involved in community-based studies to move, as one student writes, “the abstract to the tangible.” In this spirit, Paradis designs his physical geography lab science course not only to “enhance student understanding of the theoretical aspects…but to teach to enable students to access, interpret, and understand data.” As director of the Office of Academic Assessment, he has been instrumental in helping faculty throughout campus to understand that “teaching, learning, and assessment are interdependent.”
A complete list of awards and promotions is here.