I had the pleasure of attending the Alumin Association’s dinner last night in recognition of the three 2010 Teaching Fellow Award recipients. Not only were this year’s winners in attendance, several winners from 2000 to 2009 were also present. Getting so many like-minded faculty together to talk about teaching left my head swimming with great ideas to apply to my teaching in the future.
The award winners each gave a speech after dinner and a few things stood out regarding each recipient.
Dr. Janet Lyon, Associate Professor of English
Janet talked specifically about the syllabus, and how the syllabus is a carefully crafted document and having a reason for every single line and where it is placed. Janet also spoke about the importance of movement in a classroom and the ability to read body language and facial cues. One of my favorite quotes of the night:
It is the height of rudeness to move forward in a lesson when a student doesn’t ‘get it’.
Each reward recipient received a grant of $9,000, and Janet plans on graciously using her funds to buy 9 very mobile projectors for her department, allowing her colleagues access to projectors for classes around the university.
Dr. Oranee Tawatnuntachai, Associate Professor of Finance
Oranee provided a moving speech, detailing her mother’s determination as a student, sitting in elementary school classrooms at age 14, with other students half her age. This determination was distilled in Oranee, as she detailed her own struggles through her Doctorate program and teaching in general, always with her mother continuing to encourage her not to quit and strive for excellence. Oranee mentioned her focus on under-performing students, detailing that these students deserve a great deal of our attention to keep them on track for their future.
Dr. Matthew McAllister, Professor of Film/Video & Media Studies
Matt echoed Janet’s words around the importance of a well crafted syllabus and movement in the classroom. What I found interesting was that Matt (someone in a media field) elects not to use PowerPoint. “Some people use it very well, but I’m not one of them.” To put this in perspective, Matt teaches courses of 300-350 students. He does use a computer, but instead of PowerPoint he simply uses things like Word Processing programs to construct things during class with the help of his students. “Everyone has an opinion on media” he says, so getting students to contribute in such a large settings is possible.