WCU faculty awards highlight engaged teaching
11/19/2007 -

photo of James Zhang, associate professor of engineering and technology, working with students
Above right: Award-winner James Zhang, associate professor of engineering and technology, works with students.

The inaugural winners of the Chancellor’s Meritorious Award for Engaged Teaching have involved students in activities from development of a combination stretcher-wheelchair to visiting death row as part of a discussion of capital punishment. The honorees, who were named this month, each receive a $1,000 raise to their base pay retroactive to July and will be recognized at the Spring General Faculty Meeting and Awards Convocation.

“This is a small way of honoring the tremendous investment of time and energy by our faculty to benefit our students in ways that make Western what we want to be – an engaged university,” said Chancellor John W. Bardo. “The faculty members recognized through these awards have not only connected with students, but also connected students to the course material and to the community through developing creative, thought-provoking and meaningful learning experiences inside and outside the classroom.”

The awards are designed to support Western’s increasing emphasis on fostering engaged teaching and integrated learning, a key element of the recently adopted Quality Enhancement Plan, also known as the QEP. Winners were selected based on how they implemented the principles of the scholarship of engagement into their teaching – how they created learning environments based on principles of discovery; integration; analysis and application; knowledge transmission and transformation; and an understanding of real-world social, civic or ethical issues.

Deans and faculty advisory committees reviewed the nominations and supporting materials, including syllabi, class assignments, samples of student work and other documents to select finalists. Those nominations and supporting materials were then forwarded to the Office of the Provost.

“These awards demonstrate that engagement is a core university value that is to be encouraged and rewarded,” said Provost Kyle Carter. “It is our intent to make these annual awards that affect the faculty member’s base salary. We believe the awards are even more meaningful because they are highly competitive and the recipients are chosen by their colleagues.”

Recipients named for Chancellor’s Meritorious Awards for Engaged Teaching are:

Kathleen Brennan, assistant professor of sociology, co-led a student group that developed heritage materials about the region’s outdoor community and involved classes in the American Democracy Project’s voter registration initiative.

• Carroll Brown, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism, helps students apply marketing and research theory to Mountain Heritage Day planning and debriefing, and to initiatives such as analyzing eco-tourism feasibility on Daufuskie Island, Ga.

• Mae Miller Claxton, assistant professor of English, helped students connect “place” with a person’s identity through coursework interviewing Appalachian residents, service learning at Appalachian Homestead Farm Preserve and digital heritage projects.

• Chris Cooper, assistant professor of political science, has led students in public policy surveys that inform government leaders and developed coursework where students plan campaigns from fundraising methods to publicity.

• Cynthia Deale, associate professor of hospitality and tourism, crafted assignments that support Mountain Heritage Center efforts and that invite students to work on real projects needed by area businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry.

• Sharon Dole, assistant professor of special education, encourages students to attend an event where they are part of a minority, to apply for grants for projects that help people who have special needs, and to work at the Cullowhee Creativity Camp.

• Jeanne Goins Dulworth, assistant professor of social work, links students with “clients” at a Cullowhee nursing home, organizes service to social work-related advocacy projects, and leads trips abroad to help students experience and reflect on diversity.

• Claire Eye, assistant professor of stage and screen, guided students in Theatre in Education productions created in collaboration with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and helped create “Broadway in the Mountains” summer camp.

• Chip Ferguson, assistant professor of engineering and technology, has involved students in developing an innovative orthopedic rehabilitation machine and a packaging product for Christmas tree ornaments prepared by Watauga Opportunities Inc.

• Leah Hampton, instructor of English, directs a program where she recruits and trains WCU students to mentor children at the Cherokee Youth Center and also develops community-minded writing assignments in her classes.

• Glenda Hensley, assistant professor of stage and screen, led students to help with and create a documentary of a Tony-award winning costume designer’s symposium, and included topics from recycling to Cherokee culture in the Theatre in Education program.

• Jean Hill, assistant professor of nursing, teaches students about community health through coursework that offers students experiences with agencies from grant-writing to preparing informational materials such as patient care brochures in Spanish and English.

• Kelly Kelley, instructor of special education, links students to field experiences with families of people who have disabilities and facilitates bringing people who have disabilities to meet and work with special education students on campus.

• Mark Lord, associate professor of geosciences and natural resources, co-developed Cullowhee Creek Environmental Field Station for students and has taken students to Nevada for environmental and forestry research.

• Alvin Malesky, assistant professor of psychology, has organized field trips for forensic psychology students to correctional facilities including death row, and involved students in service-learning experiences for a crisis hotline.

• Maurice Phipps, professor of health, physical education and recreation, teaches students about situational leadership and group dynamics through coursework including planning, leading and analyzing outdoor, multiple-day expeditions.

• Mickey Randolph, professor of psychology, offers students learning experiences through serving the Life Fit program, which helps pre-teen girls develop healthy lifestyles, and through assignments such as a self-modification behavioral change project.

• William Richmond, associate professor of computer information systems, links students with “clients” such as the Jackson County Department of Social Services, to analyze needs and then recommend software or technology to improve efficiency.

• Phillip Sanger, associate professor of engineering and technology, has guided students in projects such as a study of the strength of the beam structure at a Cullowhee church and relocating an organization that employs people who have disabilities.

• Wes Stone, assistant professor of engineering and technology, helped students craft and conduct research using the Oxford Laser and analyze technological processes for organizations such as the Marketing Association for Rehabilitation Centers.

• Benjamin Tanner, assistant professor of geosciences and natural resources, guided students in research to restore rivercane, a once-plentiful plant used by the Cherokee; studies of hurricane frequency; and restoration of the Cullowhee Creek.

• Mary Teslow, assistant professor of health sciences, teaches students through hands-on projects such as conducting a quality improvement project at Harris Regional Hospital that yielded implementation of a proposed birth certificate process.

• Bradley Ulrich, professor of music, has guided the student-run WCU Trumpet Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the United States, for the past six years, and links students with community service such as performing at funerals or athletic events.

• Jayne Zanglein, assistant professor of business law, involves students in hands-on initiatives, from developing a campus mediation program involving Student Community Ethics to working on statewide agricultural mediation cases.

• James Zhang, associate professor of engineering and technology, led student development of a remotely accessible engineering laboratory, and supervised student projects that aided organizations such as Blue Ridge Paper and a water quality group.

For more information about the awards, contact Carol Burton, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies, at (828) 227-7497.


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