President and Provost name first Distinguished Teaching Fellows

Jeff BerglundGeeta Chowdhry and Brandon Cruickshank have been appointed the inaugural President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellows, President John Haeger and Provost Liz Grobsmithannounced.

The appointments recognize teaching scholars who have significantly impacted undergraduate learning.

The Distinguished Teaching Fellows are appointed for three years and during that time, they will develop and teach their “dream course.”

“The contributions of Drs. Jeff Berglund, Geeta Chowdhry and Brandon Cruickshank have had a transformational impact on the lives of students as well as in the life of the university,” Haeger said.

Grobsmith said the first-ever Distinguished Teaching Fellows also will participate in the newly established Teaching Academy at NAU. “Their leadership will be instrumental in recognizing, supporting and rewarding effective teaching throughout the university,” she noted.

Jeff BerglundBerglund is an associate professor in the English department and an affiliate with both Ethnic Studies and Applied Indigenous Studies. Berglund’s nomination letter notes that he brings the work of indigenous writers and “debates surrounding the representation of native peoples and histories” to the fore so students come to understand Native studies as “central, not peripheral to academic inquiry.” His dream course would be titled “Indigenous Literatures, Films, Arts and Environmental Justice Movements,” in which students would explore stewardship of the environment rooted in a cultural studies model.
Geeta ChowdhryChowdhry was nominated for building her courses around recognition of the diverse ways that students learn and express their knowledge. Her nomination letter noted that Chowdhry, professor of political science and an affiliate in Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, seeks to involve students in “developing the skills of argumentation and dialogue” while helping them develop “an informed, reasoned and empirically sound argument about the problem” being studied. Her dream course would be “Global Visions of Social Justice,” in which she would use an interdisciplinary approach to explore philosophical and religious ideas about social justice.
Brandon CruickshankProfessor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cruickshank teaches introductory chemistry courses with a focus on ensuring that “all students can succeed in a course given enough opportunities and support,” according to his nomination letter. He was recommended for the Fellow award because he studies his own teaching and its impact on students and then links his course design and classroom approaches to what he finds. Cruickshank’s dream course would be an undergraduate study of how science, particularly chemistry, has both helped and hurt the earth. Its title might be “Science—the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

The three Distinguished Teaching Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend and a $5,000 professional development fund for each year of their appointment.

Faculty with a minimum of five years of teaching experience at NAU, particularly in undergraduate education, and who have a sustained record of teaching excellence are eligible for a Fellow award. Letters of support are submitted by the nominee’s chair, dean, faculty colleague and a current or former student, and a committee reviews the nominations and application portfolios. The president and provost make the final selection.