At its September 1993 meeting, the Board of Governors adopted a report on Tenure and Teaching in the University of North Carolina. The report, prepared jointly by the Board's Committee on Personnel and Tenure and its Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs, reaffirmed the Board's insistence that teaching is the primary responsibility of each of the 17 constituent institutions of the University. To underscore the importance of teaching and to encourage, identify, recognize, reward, and support good teaching within the University, the Board adopted a set of six specific recommendations, including the following:
That the Board of Governors create annual systemwide teaching awards with monetary stipends which are designated "Board of Governors Awards for Excellence in Teaching."
Each recipient is honored at their respective campus Spring commencement ceremony by a member of the Board of Governors and receives a $12,500 stipend and a bronze medallion.
2014 Teaching Award Winners
Dr. Timothy J. Huelsman | Appalachian State University
Timothy J. Huelsman, a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Master’s program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management, has been on faculty at Appalachian State University for more than 16 years, since Fall 1997.
Dr. Huelsman views teaching broadly to include classroom-based activities, mentoring student research, advising, and curriculum development. During his time at Appalachian, Dr. Huelsman has taught 14 different courses. He teaches in his area of specialization, organizational psychology, as well as in personality, research methods, and statistics. He has chaired a dozen master’s or undergraduate honors theses and has served on more than three dozen other committees. He has published peer-reviewed papers with 15 student co-authors and has presented refereed conference papers with 66 student co-authors. In more than 10 years as director of the nationally-recognized master’s program in Industrial- Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management, he has provided academic and professional advising to almost 100 students, pushed for additional “real-world” experiences for students, and is leading a curriculum change that will make the program the only one in the US to meet the guidelines of both the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the Society for Human Resource Management. Dr. Huelsman also led the effort to revise the undergraduate Psychology curriculum to engage students in “doing psychology” through lab-based courses, internships, service learning, and research involvement. Borrowing from research in organizational psychology and other social sciences, Dr. Huelsman’s teaching activities are guided by three central ideas (elucidated by Dan Pink in his 2009 TED Talk): autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Dr. Huelsman believes students’ motivation to engage and take responsibility for their education and development derives from their desire to be independent (autonomy), to improve (mastery), and to do something important (purpose). Dr. Huelsman’s strives to incorporate these three elements in all his teaching activities.
Students and colleagues alike have noticed Dr. Huelsman’s efforts. Dr. Sandra Gagnon noted, “I do not think it is possible to be in Dr. Huelsman’s classroom and not experience a sense of intrigue.” She continues, “Not only is he concerned about his students’ intellectual growth, he is committed to and excited by their increased understanding.” Dr. Shawn Bergman observed, “He is consistently working to ensure that students get the best experience at Appalachian State and (that) their experience prepares them well for successful professional careers.” Students’ comments include these:
- Dr. Huelsman “pushed me to pursue a more rigorous course of study—with coaching. This challenge not only benefitted me academically, but I firmly believe it gave me the credentials I needed to land my first job as a research analyst.”
- Dr. Huelsman “views teaching as not only his craft, but also his contribution to the future.”
Dr. Huelsman earned his BS, MS (Research), and PhD in Psychology at Saint Louis University.
Dr. Abbie H. Brown | East Carolina University
Dr. Abbie H. Brown is Professor of Instructional Technology in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education in the College of Education at East Carolina University. He is a nationally recognized, widely published expert in instructional design, media production, and teaching with technology. During his eight years at East Carolina, Dr. Brown has been a leader in the development of an online graduate program; he has also mentored faculty across the University in their development of online instruction.
Dr. Brown believes that online instruction can be as rich if not richer than face-to-face instruction. He says, “With forethought, careful planning, and creative use of innovative technologies, one can develop learning environments that empower students by helping them gain mastery of content, as well as providing [them]a rich, satisfying social experience and access to a larger world.” He models the very best instruction to the teachers and technology professionals in his classes, developing their content knowledge, skills, and confidence to be lifelong learners. He structures his student-centered classes so he becomes the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage.”
Dr. Brown, says his dean, brings a “powerful blend of innovation, dedication, and passion to his teaching. He has distinguished himself as one of our most effective teachers and scholars. He is professional, talented, and dedicated. His passion and creative approach encourage his students to embrace both new technologies and design excellence. His commitment to his discipline is also evidenced by his substantial publishing record.”
Dr. Brown believes it is his obligation to “model best teaching practices,” and his students praise his courses as interactive, engaging and reflective. “[He] is an enthusiastic and well-organized instructor . . . [who] gives excellent and fast feedback and shows a genuine concern for each of his students. He values and encourages student input, and his love for teaching shows.”
Students respond to the sense of community Dr. Brown creates. One said, “Distance learning can be a very isolating experience but Dr. Brown requires students to engage with each other throughout the course as if we were all in one room together. This allows us not only to learn from the course materials but also to learn from each other.” His colleagues agree with his students. One wrote: “Dr. Brown models exemplary design, organization, instructional delivery, and interaction within the online environment. Transforming a course traditionally taught face-to-face to Blackboard requires the instructor to do more than move existing course content to the online environment. It requires a different mindset. The instructor must rethink what it means to teach and learn online. Dr. Brown’s [course] provides faculty with one model of the best of online teaching and learning.” Another colleague wrote, “He is a rare, great teacher. He has helped steer the current culture of online teaching on our campus and in our nation.”
Dr. Brown earned the BA in Communication and Theater Arts from Temple University, the MA in Languages, Literatures, & Social Studies: Teaching of English from Columbia University, and the MS and PhD in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. His teaching experiences as an elementary and middle grades teacher provided a rich background for his preparation of teachers and technology specialists at his previous institutions and East Carolina University.
Dr. Eyualem Abebe | Elizabeth City State University
Dr. Eyualem Abebe is an Associate Professor of Biology in the Herman Cooke Department of Natural Science, Elizabeth City State University. He joined Elizabeth City State University in 2006 and teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to joining Elizabeth City State University Dr. Abebe taught for 10 years at a teachers training institute—Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.
Dr. Abebe’s passion for teaching emanates from his own educational experience. Growing up in rural Africa and having gone at an early age to the only school in the area, he was one of the few privileged to benefit from education. Dr.Abebe believes a teacher should be both like an elder sibling to guide and enlighten, to serve as resource, to facilitate and to be there when needed. Jane MacCarraher, a sophomore, says “Dr. Abebe wants his students to learn” “he was very fair” and “if you needed any assistance he was there ready to help you with a solution”.
A passionate advocate of learning through mentorship and research, Dr.Abebe has implemented project-based learning in his classes and has mentored through research 27 undergraduate and 2 graduate students. Jeremiah Lancaster, a graduate student, says “I truly believe that I have learned more about biology and the pursuit of scientific knowledge from Dr.Abebe than from all my classes combined.” Budour Mohammad, an alumni, says “I grasped concepts easier in my courses due to the hands-on work I had done while conducting my own research projects” under Dr.Abebe. Jennifer VanWyke, a graduate student, commenting on Dr. Abebe’s project-based class states “I was able to take a look into the history of this area which paved a greater understanding of this town, along with the great ecological impacts that molded the community into what it is today.”
Dr. Abebe focuses on long term learning and keeps his methodology flexible to accommodate his students. Elizabeth Brown, an alumni who attended his Ecology class, writes “I found the class challenging, yet exciting. It is not difficult for me to remember the course. I would even suggest it as the most memorable. “Jane MacCarraher states “he would do almost anything to change his teaching style if he knew it was for the benefit of the class”. She adds “one method of teaching which as a student I really appreciate, is that Dr. Abebe used about ten minutes of lecture time for students to write down their thoughts about the lecture in a few sentences.” Jennifer VanWyke summarizes Dr. Abebe’s overall quality as a teacher by saying “He is quite unlike any other professor that I have had since I have been at Elizabeth City State University.”
Dr. Abebe sees his role as someone who helps the learners realize their potential. Kenya Holley, a senior, says “I have gained a lot of knowledge from working with Dr.Abebe and one critical thing that I learned is to never give up.” Budour Mohammad states “his students’ professional advancement is also high priority to him”, and “when I am distressed about a potential academic issue or have questions about a subject I seem to be struggling with, he is eager to help.”
Dr. Abebe received his BSc and MSc degrees in Biology fromAddis Ababa University, Ethiopia. After graduation he joined Bahir Dar Teachers College, Ethiopia, and taught there for 7 years. Then he received MSc and PhD degrees from Ghent University, Belgium and returned to Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia, to teach for three more years. Following that Dr. Abebe expanded the scope of his research by joining Ghent University, Belgium; Edinburgh University, UK; and University of New Hampshire, USA. Dr. Abebe has also received additional trainings from the United Nations University, Belgium, and Kassel University, Germany, on Biological Diversity and Curriculum Design and Research Management, respectively. He has served in various administrative capacities including Research and Publications Officer and Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.
Dr. Lori Guevara | Fayetteville State University
Dr. Lori Guevara is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She has been a faculty member at FSU since August 2004, serving as Department Chair from 2007-2009. She believes that teaching is not just the mechanics of the classroom or simple numbers on a survey. It is a frame of mind to meet students where they are, and get them to their next level. For Dr. Guevara, teaching is a micro process (teaching to individual learning styles), with a macro outcome (classes of students, all gaining knowledge together to become critical thinkers and consumers of knowledge). For Dr. Guevara, teaching is not about doing stuff but about reaching students. She considers herself as sort of an all-purpose teacher. She has volunteered to adjust her teaching schedule to help the Department of Criminal Justice meet the needs of the students, including traditional and non-traditional, on-line, and on campus.
Dr. Guevara has taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In particular, she has taught research methods and statistics, courses that students perceived as “difficult”. In these courses, students typically enter the classroom with fear and trepidation; in response, Dr. Guevara starts off with assignments that slowly build their confidence with these subjects, which allows students to be successful.
Dr. Guevara has also added to the curriculum to the Department of Criminal Justice. She created a new course – Criminal Justice Statistics – which allows students to complete a required course in their major department. Having students take this course within the major exposes them to situational examples that are familiar to them, thus making statistics less foreign and more achievable. Dr. Guevara also developed a service learning course that is a partnership with the local Guardian ad Litem program. This is a skills-based course that prepares students for careers in criminal justice. This course allows students to enhance their knowledge about working with juveniles and become trained to become Guardian ad Litem volunteers. Many Criminal Justice students wish to work in the juvenile justice field upon graduation, so this class/opportunity is a significant benefit as something they can list on their resumes, making them more marketable when applying for jobs.
Dr. Guevara receives enormous respect from her students for both her teaching style and her commitment to them. A former student, Cherie Carter, writes that “she excels at connecting academic material to the criminal justice system, bridging the often-complicated gap between theory and practice”. One current student, Joseph Pearson, writes that “I am on the Chancellor’s List and have a 3.975 GPA and out of all of my classes I am most proud of my grade from Dr. Guevara because she would not let me quit”.
Dr. Guevara earned a PhD in 2001 in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the same institution where she received her Master of Science (1996) and Bachelor of Science (1989) in Criminal Justice degrees.
Dr. Jim C. Harper, II | North Carolina Central University
Dr. Jim C. Harper, II’s teaching philosophy revolves around a quote from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” His understanding of teaching is itself is a learning experience and that becoming an excellent teacher is to continue to actively engage in professional activities that will contribute to the intellectual and professional development of his students. Dr. Harper believes that scholarly inquiry and teaching are interdependent and rely on one another for their mutual development. Dr. Harper strives to prepare students for the workforce as well as graduate and professional school. He has recruited and mentored a number of students that have been admitted to PhD programs and Law School since 2001.
Professor Harper has implemented one teaching innovation by working with his students (undergraduate and graduate) to create historical documentaries. Currently they are working on a documentary entitled, “Mount Up Like Eagles: The Long Civil Rights Movement in Durham, North Carolina, 1900-1970.” The documentary covers the Civil Rights Movement in Durham, North Carolina and focuses on the roles of women, labor unions, North Carolina College and Hillside High School students and faculty along with business, political and grassroots leaders in the movement. Dr. Harper assisted students with developing their research to present at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the graduate and undergraduate research symposium at North Carolina Central University.
Dr. Harper serves as the advisor of the Tau Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and under his mentorship several of the young men became undergraduate leaders in the Sixth District (North and South Carolina) and at the International level. In addition, they won several scholarships, chapter of the year, and leadership awards.
As the President of the Beta Phi chapter he repurposed and strengthened the community service initiatives of the chapter. He worked to organize the members to participate in the Mobile Market downtown which feeds more than 250 families each month. He also worked with the City of Durham and Durham Police Department to organize a National Night out program at the Uplift Community Center.
Dr. Harper believes that one of his best qualities as a teacher is his ability to inspire confidence in students to seek excellence and achieve their goals both academically and professionally. An English novelist noted, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher inspires.” As a teacher, Dr. Harper tells, explains, and demonstrates as he attempts to inspire all of his students to learn and to realize that history, the past, has a direct link to the present.
Dr. Harper received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University in history. He earned his doctoral degree in African history, with a minor in United States and Public history at Howard University in May 2004. He has worked at North Carolina Central University for fourteen years, as a faculty member, the Interim Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and currently chairs the Department of History.
Dr. Dwight Mullen | UNC Asheville
Dr. Mullen is a rare combination of gifted teacher, active scholar, and engaged community leader. During his thirty years at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, he has consistently taught courses that have challenged and inspired his students, served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Malawi, and held leadership positions in the greater Asheville community. His students have pursued undergraduate research on topics that include racial inequality, public education, the criminal justice system, and income disparity. By his own admission, he has dedicated his career to challenging orthodoxies, making connections, engaging the public, learning from his colleagues, and teaching by example.
Dr. Mullen’s courses in Political Science and Humanities have captivated students, who praise him for challenging them to question long-held concepts and beliefs, and for inspiring them (often for the first time) to think critically about themselves and their place in the world. He uses innovative techniques that make students dig deeply into their creative and intellectual resources. Students, alumnae and faculty applaud Dr. Mullen’s ability to capture audience interest and create a classroom climate based on mutual trust. “No one else I have observed in the classroom gets through to all of our students like [him],” “[His] classroom provided a safe place where we could...talk openly…and without fear.”
Dr. Mullen cares deeply about his students, as well as the community he lives in. A University of North Carolina at Asheville student body president wrote that he would not have felt prepared to achieve this leadership position without Dr. Mullen’s mentorship. Dr. Mullen’s influence on an alumna who was awarded a McCracken Fellowship at the Graduate School of New York University was so profound that she will “always consider herself as a student of Dr. Mullen.” His life work has gone beyond the classroom, as evidenced by his longstanding commitment to the greater Asheville community, where he has organized conferences and public meetings, delivered keynote addresses, and worked tirelessly in social justice and public education. Comments from his colleagues include: “He knows how to connect books and ideas with the real everyday experience of students and community people,” and “the kind of teaching Dwight Mullen does is courageous; he not only talks the talk…but walks the walk, in and out of the classroom.” Over the years, he has provided countless opportunities for students to conduct field work and participate in community initiatives, where they personally experience the social and political issues that are shaping our nation and world. Many of these experiences have been life changing, with students lauding Dr. Mullen for opening their minds and hearts.
Dr. Mullen received two advanced degrees in Political Science from Atlanta University, earning a PhD in 1987, and an MA in 1978. He received a BA in History and Political Sciencefrom Loma Linda University in California, in 1976.
Dr. Christian Iliadis | UNC-Chapel Hill
A member of the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Physics and Astronomy for 18 years, Professor Christian Iliadis states that his teaching is guided and motivated by a quote from the Roman philosopher, Cicero: “What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation”. As most of his colleagues in the natural sciences, Professor Iliadis was hired mainly because of his research, and his success as a researcher is unequivocally outstanding, significant, and very fulfilling for him. However, Professor Iliadis had a self-proclaimed epiphany that produced a worthy quote from his own thoughts – “Nothing, not even the thrill of research, compares in importance to teaching the next generation of students. This realization was eye-opening for me.” Furthermore, testimony from his students and colleagues attest that Professor Iliadis indeed embraces the great responsibility and opportunity in teaching the rising generation.
Some current and former student observations about Professor Iliadis include: “He has a gift for simplifying complex concepts, and he always applies them to real life.” “His class is less about exams and more about learning the material.” “He made me want to perform well, and I worked hard to meet his expectations.” “He’s like a substitute dad while I’m here at school. We meet once or twice every semester to talk about life in general.” “He was very personable in class, always incorporating events from his own life and adding jokes.” “He’s unique among the other professors in the department. I continue to seek out his advice even though I’m no longer a Physics major.” “He has a gift for simplifying complex concepts, and he always applies them to real life.” “Iliadis is really amazing. He really takes an interest in his students' well-being.” “It was a fantastic course. Iliadis labored constantly to make sure everyone understood the material. The homework, lectures, and tests all synced up perfectly. The professor made perfectly clear what to expect from assignments. Professor Iliadis is by far the best and hardest working physics professor I've had.” “Professor Iliadis is awesome. His teaching style is perfect and one that I wish other professors would adopt. He doesn't simply teach the material but he teaches students how to think. For example, he taught and I learned the physics behind relativity, so that I could recreate any equation that I needed.”
Observations from faculty colleagues of Professor Iliadis: “Professor Iliadis is a key member of UNC’s small, internationally recognized, nuclear astrophysics group. He has made very significant contributions to the department in scholarly research, teaching innovation, and services.” “His students find him effective in a wide variety of courses and to be an engaging, knowledgeable, and effective communicator.” “Professor Iliadis consistently scores above the departmental average on student evaluations.” His colleagues quickly add that Professor Iliadis has recently published a 700-page textbook on nuclear astrophysics which has received critical, international acclaim.
Born in Bersenbrück, Germany, Professor Iliadis earned a Diplom in physics at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and a PhD in Physics at the University of Notre Dame in the USA.
Dr. Kimberly Kreisler Buch | UNC Charlotte
Following the wise words of renowned psychologist Carl Rogers, Dr. Kim Buch defines her teaching goals by her ability to become a “facilitator of learning” for her students. This philosophy has been the driving force of Dr. Buch’s research, teaching, and service practices since joining the faculty at UNC Charlotte in 1987. “Our students’ learning and development,” she says, “should be the true measure of our success, not our own engaging, entertaining, or even enlightened teaching.” For Dr. Buch, this means providing quality classroom and out-of-class educational experiences, being sensitive and responsive to differences in learning styles, staying abreast of disciplinary developments and curricular innovation, and being an approachable educator and advisor to students.
Dr. Buch successfully facilitates student learning inside the classroom by practicing a variety of active learning strategies including collaborative learning and teaming and service learning. Not only does she demonstrate a commitment to implementing these techniques in the classroom, she is also dedicated to sharing these approaches with colleagues. She has made significant contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning through numerous publications, and is serving a two-year term as a Faculty Fellow in UNC Charlotte’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where she works with faculty interested in exploring innovative teaching and learning practices.
Equally significant to her teaching success is her inspirational commitment to engaging students outside of the classroom. Dr. Buch has served as the chair of over 70 graduate thesis committees, supervised over 60 undergraduate research projects, and managed internship placements for over 50 graduate and undergraduate students. The relationships she has developed with students have resulted in more than 40 jointly-authored presentations and publications.
The successful Psychology Learning Community that Dr. Buch created and has coordinated for ten years incorporates service-learning into the experience. Dr. Buch was also instrumental in the development and implementation of the new Urban Youth and Communities minor which, through civic engagement and service-learning, prepares students to become informed and engaged citizens.
Dr. Buch is well known for engaging students in community issues and partnerships. She is the Faculty Advisor for Niner Neighbors, a student-led organization that provides temporary housing for the homeless, and is actively involved with one of the University’s most visible campus-wide community service initiatives, Stop Hunger Now. “Kim has taught our students to be engaged learners and good citizens of their community,” says Dr. Fary Cachelin, Chair of Psychology. “She teaches students that learning is more than grades and assignments—that true learning is growing through life-changing experiences like studying abroad or impacting the lives of others and one’s community through service.” For her commitment to student learning, Dr. Buch has received both the Student Support Services Outstanding Faculty Award, and the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program’s Outstanding Mentor award.
Dr. Buch earned her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Iowa State University and her BS in Education from Western Kentucky University. She has been a member of the UNC Charlotte faculty for 16 years.
Dr. Bruce Kirchoff | UNC Greensboro
During his 27 years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Professor Kirchoff has made outstanding contributions in the areas of scholarship, teaching, and service. Particularly noteworthy is his ability to connect all three pillars of academic work to exemplify his teaching philosophy, namely, “without active learning, there is no learning.” Professor Kirchoff has taught, developed, and revised numerous courses and developed a visual learning software that is produced and distributed free by a company Professor Kirchoff founded in 2007. In addition, he has conducted teaching workshops and served as the Director of the Introductory Biology Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Professor Kirchoff has contributed to curriculum development and assessment beyond the Department of Biology and has made contributions to the General Education Curriculum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In addition to excellence in teaching, Professor Kirchoff embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and hence serves as an inspiration to faculty and students alike.
Numerous letters written by colleagues in support of his nomination clearly indicate that Professor Kirchoff is a leader in his field both nationally and internationally. “Evidence for Dr. Kirchoff’s success in his teaching are reflected as awards and publications. He received the 2013 ASPT Innovations in Plant Systematics Education Prize for his ImageQuiz teaching tool, and won the 2007 Booth Competition award for his Education Booth at the Botany & Plant Biology joint congress in Chicago. Both of these are highly competitive awards that highlight the excellent work of educators serving the botanical science community. His work and evaluations of its efficacy have been published as peer-reviewed publications in CPE Life Science Education and in the Journal of Veterinary Medication Education. His tools have also been disseminated online.” (Dr. Chelsea D. Specht, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley).
In evaluations, students consistently praise Professor Kirchoff for his passion for teaching: “This was a great course that was far exceeding my expectations! Dr. Kirchoff made it more student-led, which encouraged everyone to discuss topics and truly think for ourselves. He gave ample opportunity for everyone in the class to do well and has a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. We learned to be better speakers and writers through multiple presentations, short assignments and essays, and a large term paper. It was an all-around fun class!” Former students writing in support of Professor Kirchoff’s nomination attribute their own academic and professional success to his willingness to mentor them beyond the biology classroom and to include them in his research.
Professor Kirchoff received a baccalaureate degree in General Studies with Distinction and class honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1975, his master’s degree in Biology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1977, and his doctoral degree in Botany from Duke University in 1981. He came to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as an assistant professor of Biology in 1986, was promoted to associate professor in 1991, and to full professor in 2011.
Dr. Weston Cook, Jr. | UNC Pembroke
The Faculty Awards Committee at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is honored to recommend Dr. Weston F. Cook, Jr. as the 2014 finalist for the Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. Over the course of his twenty-year career in the History Department, Dr. Cook, who is a Full Professor, has continued to captivate students and colleagues alike with his dynamic, compelling classroom teaching style while simultaneously enlightening them in the histories of the Ottoman Empire, India, Iran, Africa, Medieval Western Europe, Islamic Civilizations, and the Pre-modern and Modern Middle East.
The underpinnings of Dr. Cook’s teaching philosophy derive from his understanding that “History, after all, is rooted in storytelling, the work of bards and shamen and poets,” and to that extent his lectures are designed “to give color and life to the subject” so that students understand “the past on the terms of those who lived it at the time…and meet the people of the past as people like themselves.” To achieve this “putting the flesh on the bones” of the past, Dr. Cook incorporates a variety of methods, including extensive reading, map work, and critical interrogation of concepts and texts during classroom discussions. In all his courses, Dr. Cook demands that students “develop analytical capabilities that are critical [to become] informed world citizens,” and he supports their progress at every step in this development.
Dr. Cook has established himself as one of the finest educators on the University of North Carolina at Pembroke campus. His colleagues in History note that, “Weston’s pedagogical style is simple yet effective; he is so good at what he does that, armed with only brief notes and a few paper maps, he tackles some of the most complicated and challenging problems of world history and current affairs.” While another colleague notes “[s]tudents find him enthralling,” still another emphasizes that “Dr. Cook’s dedication to excellence in teaching extends far beyond the narrow confines of the classroom. He gives an extraordinary about of time providing written feedback on student assignments, offering praise, constructive criticism, and tips for improvement.” One former student said of being in Dr. Cook’s class that “it was like being a kid going to story time with someone who made the subject fun,” while another student stated that “[h]e made history come alive in his class. In short, Dr. Cook is the teacher I wanted to be.”
Dr. Cook has been a three-time recipient of a UNCP Outstanding Teaching Award, a recipient of the UNCP Student Veteran Association Faculty Appreciation Award, and a recipient of the UNCP Adolph L. Dial Award for Community Service. He received his BA in History from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and earned two Masters degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Political Science and Middle Eastern History. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is very proud to have Dr. Weston Cook receive the Board of Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence for 2014.
Dr. Patricia H. Kelley | UNC Wilmington
The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s 2014 nominee for the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is Patricia (Tricia) H. Kelley, Professor of Geography and Geology. Dr. Kelley joined the faculty in 1997, serving as chair of the Department of Earth Sciences from 1997-2003.
Throughout her 16.5 years here, she has been an active teacher, scholar, and mentor. An American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (2006) and the recipient of the Association for Women Geoscientists Outstanding Educator Award (2003), the UNCW Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award (2012), the Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award (2013), and the Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award (2013), Dr. Kelley began her teaching career using the lecture as the primary method of instruction, but she came to believe that students learn science best by doing science. With that understanding, she tried to enlivenher courses (and enjoy her teaching more) by making them more interactive.
Her success is undeniable. A student writes, “Her enthusiasm is infectious. She knows each student by name and somehow hones in on their learning style within a few class periods. [She] has become an expert, not only in her field of research, but at facilitating thought and understanding in an energetic and enthusiastic environment.” In her smaller classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level, students are directly involved in doing the work of science by collaborating with each other and with her on authentic research projects. In large introductory classes she tries to instill an appreciation for science by involving students in examining data, developing hypotheses to explain those data, and testing the hypotheses. In all courses she aims to engage students in science by creating a student-centered classroom and including best practices of inquiry-based methods and active, collaborative, and applied learning. She has coauthored papers or abstracts with 51 graduate students and 118 undergraduate students.
A former student writes, “As advisor for both my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at UNCW, [she] believed in me every step of the way. . . . Fast forward ten years from that initial meeting and I find myself a fairly recent PhD graduate (2011) and a new faculty member at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. It is my hope to follow in [her] footsteps and be an effective educator and mentor to those who seek a career in the geosciences.”
A colleague writes, “She is dedicated to the goal of creating an educational environment that prepares UNCW students and others to be global citizens.”
With the knowledge she has gained from changing her teaching strategies, she has reached out to the larger community, both academically and regionally. Beyond her impressive scientific publications, she has published an edited volume and multiple papers that are teaching-related, including two that focus on her collaboration with middle school teachers and students.
Professor Kelley earned a BA in Geology at the College of Wooster, and an AM and PhD in Geology at Harvard University.
Dr. Tadeu Coelho | UNC School of the Arts
Dr. Tadeu Coelho, Associate Professor in the School of Music, has taught flute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts since 2002. In his philosophy of teaching statement, Dr. Coelho speaks to the fact that he views it as his duty as an educator to “…prepare the soil, creating a stimulating and enriching environment for the students to flourish, to be able to achieve their highest goals so the seed of their talent can reach new levels of artistry.”
A common thread throughout Dr. Coelho’s nominations was his ability to demand outstanding work from his students, while simultaneously inspiring them to expect the same. A student described this well, saying that “Not only is his enthusiasm for flute matters big, but it is also contagious. Not only does he motivate you to keep up the good effort, but he always asks you to push your limits further and further every lesson. In addition, one of the best aspects of his teaching is that he is able to demonstrate what he wants from you. He has a complete control over the instrument and a full knowledge of what he talks about. This keeps me constantly inspired to be better every time, no matter how unattainable the goal may seem.”
Alumni and colleagues also spoke to the skill that Dr. Coelho has for bringing out the absolute best possible performance in his students. An alumnus wrote, “Immediately I was struck by his warmth, his high energy, and his love for people and the flute. Particularly, I remember being in awe when I noticed a pattern: everyone, no matter what level, sounded better after only twenty minutes of working with him.” A fellow member of the faculty noted that “Dr. Coelho is a terrific colleague. He is demanding, fervent and passionate. He holds himself, his students, and his colleagues to the highest standards.”
Dr. Coelho’s ability to inspire and motivate his students is abundantly clear. A fellow faculty member writes, “He is exactly the teacher I hope to be one day. He is incredibly smart, knows his instrument, is the most effective instructor I have ever met, and is a role model on and off the stage.” A student nominator wrote in impassioned and heartbreaking terms of his generosity, care, and teaching methods. This clearly illuminates Dr. Coelho as a teacher that can profoundly change a person forever.
Dr. Coelho gave his New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1992. He frequently appears as soloist, chamber musician, and master clinician throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. He has performed as first solo flutist of the Santa Fe Symphony, the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany, and the Spoletto Festival Orchestra in Italy.
Dr. Coelho earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts in Flute Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. He previously earned Bachelor of Fine Arts, also in Flute Performance, from the State University of New York at Purchase.
Dr. Annette Debo | Western Carolina University
Dr. Annette Debo has worked in the department of English at Western Carolina University for the past 12 years. She holds the rank of full professor and currently serves as the department’s graduate program director.
Dr. Debo’s teaching philosophy rests on the principle of listening to her students, a process which can change some of conventional perspectives on teaching. As she states, “What takes longer to realize is how indebted we are to students for our own learning. The standard equation is that students learn from professors; we have worked hard at developing our content areas, and students are paying for that expertise. However, I can now recognize how much I have learned from my students, from my African American students who explain what it feels like to be slighted by grandparents who prefer their white cousins to the graduate students who have read beyond me in deconstruction or psychoanalysis. I have grown to offer opportunities to students who enjoy schooling me in hip hop culture while I help them learn to trace its roots to Langston Hughes and Malcolm X. Teaching is a transaction of sorts.”
Dr. Debo’s ability to listen to her students is clearly evident in her classroom. The committee noted her ability to engage students in stimulating, challenging, and sophisticated discussions about literature and literary theory, her ability to provide a trusting environment where she can ask the difficult questions and students will respond knowing they are in a safe community of learners, and her commitment to helping students understand the value and impact of what they learn in her classes. Her students also see these as strengths of her instruction. In a letter of support, one student states “Dr. Debo has impacted my life as a student by setting a high threshold of expectations, never lowering the expectations, while at the same time creating an environment where I felt I could meet those expectations.”
Dr. Debo states that she stays vitalized as a teacher because of her own insatiable curiosity, and it is that same curiosity that fuels her scholarship. Her The American H.D. was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011; she is the co-editor of the MLA volume Approaches to Teaching H.D.’s Poetry and Prose (2011); her edition of H.D.’s Within the Walls and What Do I Love? is forthcoming from the University Press of Florida in 2014; she is past co-chair of the H.D. International Society; and she held the H.D. Fellowship for 2012-13 at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Her articles have appeared in African American Review, Callaloo, Paideuma, South Atlantic Review, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, CLA Journal, and College Literature. She is currently at work on the monograph A Fine Fury, which addresses social justice, the Civil Rights years, and the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, and Natasha Trethewey.
Dr. Debo received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Virginia Tech; her Master’s degree in English from Virginia Tech, and her PhD in English from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Leslee Shepard | Winston-Salem State University
Dr. Leslee Shepard serves as an Associate Professor in the Division of Nursing at Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC. Dr. Shepard also serves at the Director of the Adult Health area of the undergraduate programs and prior, she was the clinical coordinator for undergraduate nursing programs.
Dr. Shepard teaches adult medical surgical nursing courses, nursing problems and introduction to professional nursing courses in the Division of Nursing. She has served as a visiting professor at South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC where she taught an adult health medical surgical course. Dr. Shepard also teaches graduate courses as an online graduate program faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana, and DeVry-Chamberlain College of Nursing, Illinois. Dr. Shepard writes that, “as an educator of future nurses and practicing nurses, my philosophy of teaching is to meet each learner where he/she is and facilitate active learning from that point.”
Dr. Shepard has twenty years of nursing and nurse educator experience that she brings to the students of Winston-Salem State University. Professionally, Dr. Shepard has worked as a clinical nurse specialist and educator at Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC where she was responsible for the education and orientation of the nursing staff. Prior, she served as a head nurse, team leader, care coordinator, and staff nursing at Forsyth Medical Center.
Dr. Shepard has developed her research agenda with articles published in Nursing Management, and Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! Leslee received the Forsyth Medical Center’s Best Research Project Award in 2010 and the Novant Health Nursing first place presentation award for her collaborative research project in 2013. Dr. Shepard has also worked collaboratively to develop and copyright the Hybrid Educational Extension Learning Partnership (HEELP ©) Nursing Model. The model is a transformational approach to student learning and faculty development by way of resource sharing. The aim of the model is to develop collaborative partnerships between lower performing schools with higher performing schools based on the national council licensure examination (NCLEX) to achieve passing rate success. Dr. Shepard has presented this model on the national stage, most recently at the Lily Conference on College and University Teaching in Greensboro, NC in 2013.
Dr. Shepard is active in the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses professional organization and Sigma Theta Tau honor society of nursing. She actively participates in faculty governance at Winston-Salem State University at the department, school, and university levels. She serves as chair of the university governance committee, university retention council, and curriculum committee in the division of nursing, among others.
She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Winston-Salem State University; her master’s degree in nursing education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and her doctorate in teacher leadership at Walden University.
Dr. Jonathan Bennett | NC School of Science and Mathematics
Explorer, guide, motivator—Jonathan Bennett is the kind of teacher, scientist, and researcher that his students want to emulate. Over his 17 years at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, he has provided an example of responsible scholarship and enthusiasm for teaching and learning that challenges his students to become exceptional thinkers, problem-solvers, and investigators. According to a recent student, Dr. Bennett is such an effective teacher, not only because he is so knowledgeable, but because he is “always open to learning more about the subject.”
Dr. Bennett has taught a broad range of Physics courses at NCSSM from introductory to advanced research, and developed new courses in Fluids, Thermodynamics, Electromagnetism, and Optics; as well as Research in Physics. His teaching methodology combines individual study by students, interactive guidance from the instructor, and extensive collaboration with peers. He typically introduces new topics with a hands-on lab activity to give his students personal experiences with physical phenomena. And he insists that his students communicate their understanding of ideas by clearly articulating a written or spoken explanation.
In support of NCSSM’s research and outreach mission, Dr. Bennett has mentored over 80 research students, a number of whom have presented their work in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, and the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. He developed and served as the co-Principal Investigator for a multi-year grant funded summer opportunity for numerous North Carolina students. The four year Research Experience in Chemistry, Astronomy, and Physics at NCSSM was principally underwritten by the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
As a faculty colleague at NCSSM, Dr. Bennett has served as the Physics Discipline Coordinator, the Vice President of the Faculty Senate, and the Chair of the School Improvement Group which wrote the improvement plan and coordinated the site visit for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Outside the classroom, he actively supports our high achieving students as the Faculty Advisor of the innovative Broad Street Scientific Journal of Student STEM Research.
In all of his various capacities at NCSSM—teacher, mentor, colleague, and role model to both students and faculty—Dr. Jonathan Bennett has proven himself a superlative candidate for the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Bennett graduated magna cum laude in Physics and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and earned both his MS and PhD in Physics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He was awarded Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Department of Physics at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan and the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware. He also served as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he investigated the structure of weakly bound nuclei involved in astrophysical nucleosynthesis.