2013 Teaching Award Winners
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.
D. Scott Hunsinger | Appalachian State University
Dr. Scott Hunsinger, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Information Systems in the Walker College of Business, has taught at Appalachian State University since 2004. He served in multiple roles in the North Carolina Community College System from 1996 - 2004, including Dean of Academic Affairs and Information Technology and Instructor, and previously worked at Microsoft Corporation in Charlotte.
In order to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, Dr. Hunsinger has earned over 20 Information Technology certifications. He also encourages his students to pursue certifications, as his research has shown that some employers use certification to differentiate among job candidates. Dr. Hunsinger received $35,000 funding to begin a Cisco Networking Academy in 2010 so that his students could gain experience with equipment. He integrates hands-on activities since many students learn best kinesthetically. Dr. Hunsinger believes that students learn best by doing, not just by seeing and hearing. A former student explained, "He made [class] fun and engaging through humor and hands-on opportunities, communicating the material of each class in highly effective fashion."
Dr. Hunsinger has served since 2006 as Faculty Advisor for the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) student club. Through AITP, he offers additional learning opportunities to students. Each spring, Dr. Hunsinger takes students to compete at the AITP National Collegiate Conference. He mentors these students as they prepare for the competitions. His students have won four 1st place awards, two 2nd place awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Undergraduate and Graduate Papers Competition. Overall, the chapter, members, and he have received over 25 awards, including back-to-back National Chapter of the Year and National Faculty Advisor of the Year.
Dr. Hunsinger believes in the importance of learning both inside and outside the classroom. Each year he takes students to visit technology-related companies so that they can learn about technological infrastructures and network with employees. He has chartered buses to take large groups of students to visit companies such as Cisco Systems and IBM. For the past five years, he has taken 50 - 65 students to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas each January. Dr. Hunsinger also sets up multiple guest speaker meetings on campus each semester so that students can learn about job and internship opportunities. An alumnus stated, "His leadership and devotion to his students and organizations is unparalleled."
In 2008, Dr. Hunsinger became the Internship Coordinator for the Computer Information Systems department. He strongly encourages students to gain real-world experience through internships before graduating. Making sure that students are well-prepared for the workforce is one of Dr. Hunsinger’s most important goals. He mentors many students and helps them find full-time jobs. A former student wrote, "Dr. Hunsinger ensures that students get exposure to top-notch companies." He received the Plemmons Leadership Medallion in 2012 for his work with students and the Walker College of Business Faculty Award for Teaching in 2011.
Dr. Hunsinger earned a PhD in Information Technology, MBA, and BSBA in Management Information Systems from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
John W. Stiller | East Carolina University
Dr. John W. Stiller, East Carolina University's 2013 nominee for the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, is associate professor in the Department of Biology, Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and an internationally known molecular evolutionary biologist who studies algae (phycology). In 12 years at ECU, he has published 31 scholarly articles and other publications. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the most prestigious NSF grant for early-career scientists and is currently funded for a genome sequencing project on Porphyra, an alga used in sushi. He served on the editorial board of the Journal of Phycology and has been elected President of the Phycological Society of America.
Dr. Stiller is an outstanding scholar, gifted teacher, tireless mentor, and determined instructional leader whose commitment to active learning and critical thinking in an engaged classroom environment has changed his department and the University. Valuing undergraduate students, he decided to focus on making introductory courses challenging and exciting. He embraced problem-based learning (PBL), even in his large classes, volunteering to teach an additional section to reduce class size. He mentors undergraduate and graduate student research and engages his students in publishing. Increased student engagement and achievement in his classes have prompted departmental course revisions.
Dr. Stiller seeks to facilitate each student's intellectual journey, regardless of where it begins. He writes, "As in any field of intellectual pursuit, the science of biology embodies active inquiry. I believe that it is important to present it as such, and to provide students with opportunities to take part in the scientific process directly. No one makes an important contribution to biology . . . by memorizing the works of others. Educated individuals can think creatively; . . . not only gain an understanding of the information, rules and generalizations of a given field, but also analyze and interpret . . . in new and creative ways. This principle underlines everything I do as a teacher and research mentor. . . ."
His chair calls Dr. Stiller, an "extremely talented scientist and communicator who is absolutely, unequivocally, committed to his students." His investment in teaching is "intimately intertwined with his outstanding scholarly work. . . . His students are doubly fortunate to study with an instructor who is so profoundly committed to their learning and success, and who is also an influential leading scientist."
Former students recount his impact. Said one, "He managed to present technically challenging information while still keeping everyone awake for an 8AM class. . . . [He] first demonstrated to me the elegance and power of scientific inquiry. . . . Eleven years later that lesson continues to motivate my personal and professional aspirations." Another wrote, "If the lasting positive impact of an individual mentor is measured by his or her effectiveness as a teacher and ability to maximize students' potential, then Dr. Stiller is one of the more valuable resources . . . at East Carolina. . . . his style of teaching grabbed my attention and kept me wanting more."
Dr. Stiller earned a BS in zoology (summa cum laude) and a PhD in botany from the University of Washington where he was also a post-doctoral research associate and research scientist in the Department of Genetics.
Joseph Lisowski | Elizabeth City State University
Dr. Joseph Lisowski, Professor of English, has been a full-time faculty member in the Department of Language, Literature, & Communication (LLC) of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) since Fall, 2002. During this period he has taught a great variety of courses ranging from freshman writing to senior level courses in English. In addition to teaching, he has served as Director of the Center of Teaching Excellence from 2010-2012. His student, peer, and annual evaluations consistently have been among the highest at the university.
Dr. Lisowski has presented papers and conducted workshops at local, regional, and national conferences (in some cases, has also taken students as co-presenters). He also has co-authored peer-referenced scholarly articles and book chapters, along with having published, since arriving at ECSU, eleven chapbooks of poetry, four detective novels, and over a hundred poems and stories. Also, he had been the Director of the National Writing Project for Northeastern North Carolina.
His service to the university and community has been substantial and ongoing. Whether it be mentoring elementary school children with reading difficulties, serving meals at a soup kitchen, serving on UNC-Tomorrow and SACS accreditation committees, working alongside peers and students in the Global Leadership Academy, judging literary contests, writing and receiving grants, Lisowski has always been quick to respond to the call. Of the accolades he has received, however, he is particularly proud of the following: 2005 Business Partner of the Year—J.C. Sawyer Elementary School; 2nd Runner-up UNC Board of Governor’s Teacher of the Year, 2007; Outstanding Teaching Award, Department of Language, Literature, & Communication, 2006, based on highest student evaluations; Outstanding Department Faculty Award (LLC), for notable scholastic achievement and creative activity, 2007, UNC Department Teaching Award (LLC), 2009, and UNC Board of Governor’s Teacher of the Year, 1st Runner-up, 2010.
In addition, Dr. Lisowski has brought a wealth of experience to ECSU. He served as Chair of Liberal Arts at Mercyhurst College North East (Pennsylvania), and for ten years he taught at The University of the Virgin Islands, where he earned tenure and promotion to full professor. He also taught on the high school level and taught college-level courses at the Virginia State Penitentiary for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond, Virginia, where he earned promotion to full professor.
Currently, he often bikes to campus and back, walks daily, and continues to write poetry. His youngest child, Jozef, is a sophomore at UNC Asheville, and his wife Linda is Associate Professor of Special Education at ECSU.
Carole Boston Weatherford | Fayetteville State University
When Carole Boston Weatherford joined Fayetteville State University's faculty in 2002 as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English, she was a seasoned publicist and the author of 15 books. The daughter of educators, she came to the University with a wealth of real-world wisdom. Now a full professor, Weatherford has 40 books that have garnered 13 national and seven statewide honors, including the Caldecott Honor Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Such titles as Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Becoming Billie Holiday, and Birmingham, 1963 mine the past for family stories, fading traditions, and forgotten struggles and span the genres of poetry, nonfiction, biography, and historical fiction.
Weatherford's teaching and literary careers intertwine to benefit her students, distinguish the University, and serve the community and the profession. Just as her award-winning books reach millions in K-12 classrooms and her presentations at schools, libraries, and conferences inspire students and teachers alike, her courses in children's and adolescent literature impact not only her students, mostly education majors, but their future students as well. Thus, her influence as a teaching writer is beyond measure.
Weatherford's teaching philosophy stresses interactive learning and that writers must be readers. She believes that every student's story is valid and that it is more important to know the right questions than all the answers. With a focus on transliteracy, she prods students to edit, revise, and adapt their writing for new and traditional media platforms.
Her accomplishments as a teacher rival her literary laurels. In the Department of English, she pioneered online course development, helped conceive and now coordinates the undergraduate and graduate writing certificate programs, and created such new courses as Issues in Professional Writing, Writing for Children, and most recently the Junior Seminar Hip Hop: Poetry, Politics and Pop Culture. She has piloted several innovations in the Children's Literature course. For example, upon finding that online students at military outposts or from rural areas could not access quality children's literature, she provided links to more than 60 acclaimed children's titles that are available online. Her face-to-face children's literature class often incorporates a school visit a service learning project where students present books and activities in K-5 classrooms. In Spring 2011, her class staged a multimedia readers theatre of her book Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-ins. The performance brought more than 600 elementary school students to FSU's campus and was presented in partnership with the School of Education and the FSU Office of Community and Government Affairs. Weatherford has also collaborated with the Department of Performing and Fine Arts to on several programs marrying poetry and music.
Weatherford earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and holds a Master of Arts in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. She completed her undergraduate students at the American University.
Stephanie L. Luster-Teasley | North Carolina A&T State University
Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and Chemical, Biological, and Bioengineering. She has served as a faculty member at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University for nine years. Dr. Luster-Teasley specializes in environmental engineering, remediation of soil and water, water sustainability, and engineering education.
Dr. Luster-Teasley believes students can be successful at whatever goals they set forth as long as they are dedicated and willing to work. She continually encourages her students to look beyond the textbook to understand challenging concepts and strives to educate her students for life, not just a career. Dr. Luster-Teasley brings the excitement of real-world, hands-on experience into all of her engineering courses, driven by a deep commitment and care for her students’ learning. She uses a variety of research-based, student-centered, pedagogical methods in her teaching, including problem-based and cooperative learning, cases, and technology-driven tools.
Students consistently praise her for her passion, pedagogy, and commitment to student success. As one of her students notes, "Her teaching methods are aimed at bringing out the best in all of her students. She incorporates strategic teaching methods that make you, as a student, want to engage in the classroom and ask questions." Another student adds: "She challenges students to give their best work on every assignment. She is passionate about her work and about seeing every student succeed." As her nominator, the Student Government Association president at North Carolina A&T State University, observes: "Dr. Teasley does more than teach, she advises about life. I think outstanding teachers do more than just relay material to a student and administer quizzes and exams. I think they help mold their students into better individuals for society and Dr. Luster-Teasley does just that."
As a professor, Dr. Luster-Teasley has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service. Honors include the 2005 National Women of Color in Technology Educational Leadership Award, the 2006 NC A&T State University Rookie Researcher of the Year Award, and the 2008 NC A&T State University Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. In 2010 she led the NC A&T State University team that developed the winning National 4-H Science Youth Day experiment used by millions of K-8 students worldwide. Most recently, she received funding from the Department of Education for developing a mentoring program for students in STEM disciplines, the National Science Foundation for developing and implementing case studies modules in science labs, and the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation to implement science programs for middle school girls. Overall, her disciplinary and science education research includes over $2,000,000 of funding.
Dr. Luster-Teasley received her BS degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (1996) and her MS in Chemical Engineering (2000) and PhD in Environmental Engineering (2003) from Michigan State University. Dr. Luster-Teasley is the wife of Mr. Edward Teasley, who is also a North Carolina A&T Chemical Engineering graduate (1995), and the mother of two boys, Edward Teasley II (16) and William Teasley (11).
Susan E. Hauser | North Carolina Central University
Professor Susan E. Hauser is an Associate Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University School of Law where she teaches Bankruptcy, Civil Procedure and Corporations. She has taught at NCCU School of Law since August 2005, and was named Co-Professor of the Year in the Day Program in 2011 and Professor of the Year in the Evening Program in 2011. Professor Hauser was the Robert M. Zinman Resident Scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute for the Fall of 2012. She is also the recipient of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal 2012 Editor's Prize, awarded by ABLJ's Editorial Board for her article More Than Abstract Justice: The Defense of the Marriage Act and the Equal Treatment of Same-Sex Married Couples Under Section 302(a) of the Bankruptcy Code , 85 Am. Bankr. L.J. 195 (2011).
Ms. Hauser publishes and presents in the areas of mortgage modification, predatory lending, and the intersection between constitutional law and bankruptcy law and procedure. Her most recent scholarly work on predatory mortgage lending into student loan debt, with a particular focus on the treatment of student loan debt in bankruptcy.
Ms. Hauser is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. She is also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and its Bankruptcy and Business Law Sections. She was a member of the NCBA's Bankruptcy Section Council in 2002-05, and is currently serving a four-year term as a member of the Local Rules Committee of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. She clerked for United States Bankruptcy Judge J. Rich Leonard and United States District Judge W. Earl Britt. Ms. Huaser began her legal career as an attorney for Legal Aid in Robeson County, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina School of Law. Professor Hauser is a native of North Carolina and was born in Bryson City, North Carolina.
Rupert W. Nacoste | North Carolina State University
Dr. Rupert W. Nacoste is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University. The focus of Professor Nacoste's teaching and writing began during his service in the U.S. Navy (1972-1976). During the time of his service, the Navy was having significant racial troubles. Race riots aboard ships carrying weapons of mass destruction. To begin to change its racial climate, the Navy set in motion an intervention program that required all Navy personnel to attend a racial group discussion session that lasted two and one-half days, to improve the ways in which a racial mix of sailors interacted with each other. Selected and trained in the skills and art of facilitating racial group discussions in 1974, for two years he worked on race-relations issues as a facilitator of racial discussions in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Nacoste developed real interests in group dynamics and race relations and pursued those interests sought in higher education.
Since joining the NCSU faculty in 1988, all of Dr. Nacoste’s research and public service efforts have focused on developing systematic understanding of the social psychology of social change in society, and using that scholarly understanding to help people learn to manage the social changes that are influencing their everyday lives. His research on the social psychology of affirmative action has earned him a national and international reputation for how that research illuminates the policy issues. Given that research, he has been asked by various groups to bring his expertise to bear on issues related to the management of diversity. That includes three summers as a Senior Visiting Scholar at the (Department of) Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (Patrick Air Force Base, FL).
To help North Carolina State University develop strategies for managing diversity, Dr. Nacoste served as the first Vice Provost for Diversity and African American Affairs. Since then, he has created a new undergraduate course to help students understand diversity dynamics in their everyday social interactions, "Interpersonal Relationships and Race." Based on student writings from that course, in September, 2012, he self-published his book "Howl of the Wolf: NCSU Students Call Out For Social Change" to help create dialogue on the campus. He gave away 1,000 copies, free to students. A native of Opelousas, LA, a Louisiana black-Creole, Dr. Nacoste is always on the hunt for a bowl of good gumbo. When that search fails, he makes his own. No surprise, then, that the title of his memoir is "Making Gumbo in the University" (2010; Plain View Press: Austin, TX).
Dr. Nacoste received his BA degree in Psychology from the University of Florida (1978) and his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1982).
Linda Cornett | UNC Asheville
The University of North Carolina at Asheville is proud to nominate Dr. Linda Cornett, Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department, for the 2013 Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award.
A dedicated faculty member at UNC Asheville for the past sixteen years, Dr. Cornett brings exceptional passion, skill, and energy to her teaching, and inspires the same in her students. Dr. Cornett uses a variety of media such as first-person narratives, movies, fiction, raw data, and academic articles in her classes, requiring her students to approach subject matter from many different perspectives. Dr. Cornett's course designs are fearless and creative, extending into multiple departments and programs such as Humanities and International Studies. In her home department of Political Science, Dr. Cornett has developed and taught courses ranging from European Politics to Model International Criminal Court. Dr. Cornett looks far beyond the bricks and mortar of ordinary instructional settings, taking students to faraway locales where they gain experience and knowledge not possible to replicate in a traditional classroom. Her classes have taken place in countries such as Honduras, Mexico, and The United Arab Emirates. She is unfazed by the logistical challenges of overseeing a large group of undergraduate students in a foreign country which include coordinating housing, meals, passport and visa requirements, medical provisions, and other factors; she does these things while still delivering rigorous academic content.
Praise for Dr. Cornett's energy and skill in teaching comes from numerous sources. A fellow professor in Political Science writes that Dr. Cornett "is the strongest proponent of undergraduate education" in their department, while another colleague comments on her ability to "use current events as raw material ... [to] guide student [discovery] ... [that allows] them to get past the superficial to the fundamental dynamics underlying a phenomenon." One recently graduated student, who received the prestigious Manly E. Wright award as the top academic performer in her graduating class, credits Dr. Cornett with helping her conceive and develop the World Affairs Club, a student organization that still exists at UNC Asheville seven years later. Another former student, now a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester, describes Dr. Cornett as "an exceptionally warm and generous human being... who has incredibly high expectations for her students and works tirelessly to see that students succeed."
Dr. Cornett is a dedicated mentor of undergraduate research projects, guiding students in presentations regarding political and economic trends in Latin American countries. Dr. Cornett's teaching represents the true spirit of liberal arts instruction by challenging her students to discover the value of crossing many physical and intellectual borders and learning as much as possible about the world beyond those boundaries.
Dr. Cornett received two advanced degrees in Political Science from the University of Washington, earning the PhD in 2000 and MA in 1990. She received her BA in Political Science from Transylvania University.
Darryl J. Gless | UNC-Chapel Hill
Darryl James Gless, Distinguished Professor of Renaissance Studies in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina.
Joanne Maguire Robinson | UNC Charlotte
Joanne Robinson's syllabi over the past fifteen years tell the story of her pedagogical journey. She admits that when she first began teaching students fresh out of graduate school, she taught them as she had been taught: largely through "teacher-centered" lectures and traditional forms of assessment. Over time, she began to realize that the classroom is a space where students can begin to explore new identities and ideas. This recognition allowed Dr. Robinson "to embrace a vision of the classroom as a place for learning how to take chances, for testing out new knowledge, and for playing with ideas." By designing differentiated assignments and new platforms for instruction, she could "stretch the walls of the classroom creatively into the world."
Since joining the Department of Religious Studies faculty 1996, Dr. Robinson has received an impressive number of teaching-related awards and grants. At UNC Charlotte, she was nominated by her students and received the B.E.S.T. (Building Educational Strengths and Talents) Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008 and became a University College Faculty Fellow in 2010-2011. The Wabash Center in Indiana, an institution dedicated to promoting a sustained conversation about pedagogy in the fields of religion and theology, awarded Dr. Robinson a grant to participate in the Wabash Center Mid-Career Colloquy for Faculty Teaching in Colleges and Universities in 2008-2009; she also received an award to participate in the Wabash Center Colloquy on Writing on the Scholarship of Teaching (2010-2011), for which she engaged in a year-long process of critical reflection on writing in the areas of teaching and learning. Most recently, Dr. Robinson received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop a course focused on the question "How is the World Ordered?"
The key to Dr. Robinson's success as a teacher, she says, is transparency; by ensuring that the goals and outcomes of the course are transparent, she establishes a classroom ethos of mutual respect and high expectation. Dr. Robinson is also able to extend this engaged and collegial intellectual atmosphere beyond the classroom. Her students describe weekly informal gatherings hosted by Dr. Robinson in which interested graduate and undergraduate students stop by her office for "playtime," where they ask questions, discuss related issues, and exchange ideas. Students describe playtime as a productive environment for intellectual interaction. A graduate student, a frequent playtime attendee, writes that "Dr. Robinson brings enthusiasm and openness to active student engagement that encourages a free exchange of ideas and diversity of perspective that make the course material accessible and interesting." By creating a stimulating environment, Dr. Robinson has been able to cultivate a practice of intellectual courage and creativity among her students, achieving her goal of instilling "analytical sophistication about complex issues, even in the absence of solutions or agreement."
James D. Tabor, Chair of Religious Studies, describes her impressive teaching accomplishments: "I think I can say without the slightest exaggeration that no faculty member I know of, in our department or outside of it, has had more of a high quality educational, inspirational, and life-mentoring influence on students than Prof. Joanne Robinson."
Lisa C. Tolbert | UNC Greensboro
During her 18 years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dr. Tolbert has taught a range of courses in History, from nine different undergraduate courses to seven different graduate courses. Her teaching philosophy emphasizes learning history by "doing history" whereby she teaches students how to "think as historians". "Teaching disciplinary ways of knowing", she explains, "prepares students for the kind of life-long learning they will need to embrace for personal and professional success in the modern world." She uses non-traditional teaching methods like "history workshops", mini-lectures, collaborative learning, research workshops, writing workshops, and she uses primary historical sources versus textbooks. An undergraduate student described her as "an exemplary teacher" who creates "an environment that supports student learning and... challenges them to exceed their assumed limitations." Another student explained:
"Never accepting an 'easy answer', she gently pushes her students to look closely at historical developments, to ask difficult questions, and to seek nuanced understandings. In retrospect, I never felt more challenged than under her instruction, but the discoveries I made in her courses-both about the historical discipline and about myself-were the most affirming of my graduate experience."
While her work with students is outstanding, Dr. Tolbert also established herself as a pedagogical leader throughout the University. When she arrived at UNCG, she developed a set of new courses in American Cultural History. In 1999, Dr. Tolbert partnered with the Interior of Architecture Department to co-create two new graduate concentrations in Public History-one in Historic Preservation and the other in Museum Studies. Dr. Bolton, History Department Head, described the Museum Studies program as "now one of the Department's (and the College's) most successful MA programs." As Chair of the General Education Council from 2007-2010, she spearheaded campus-wide discussion and revision of the General Education program to improve its "intentionality and coherence". Her work drew praise from a colleague, who called her "a Niagara Falls of pedagogical ideas" and admired her "unwavering dedication to great teaching... UNCG is a much better University because of her efforts."
Recently, Dr. Tolbert partnered with the Bryan School of Business and Economics to create a curriculum for the Living-Learning Community centered on Entrepreneurship and Sustainability. Additionally, Dr. Tolbert serves as the Social Studies program coordinator and helped revise the Social Studies teaching licensure program. She "was the primary architect of the current program, which is a drastic improvement" (Dr. Wayne Journell, School of Education).
Dr. Tolbert received her baccalaureate in 1983 in History and Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University, her master's degree in History from the University of Delaware in 1987, and her doctoral degree in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994. She came to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2000.
Timothy M. Ritter | UNC Pembroke
In the seventeen years that Professor Ritter has been at UNCP, he has established a stellar reputation in the realms of teaching, and service to our students.
Dr. Ritter's teaching philosophy aims at stimulating what he argues is an "inherent interest" in all humans in the fundamental sciences, among which physics is paramount. In doing so, he strives to render the abstract conceptual nature of his discipline easily understandable for undergraduates. His successes, therefore, are heightened by the fact that many UNCP students are among the first in their families to attend college. His courses employ many hands on examples to illustrate concepts, especially in introductory physics courses. In his words, he brings the subject "alive" for students by emphasizing the applications of physics to beyond the lab and classroom to nonacademic activities.
Student response to Dr. Ritter's teaching is rated highly by his students. Much of their praise for his teaching is divided between his personal attributes and pedagogical methods. It was not uncommon to read a student characterize him as "willing to help students" "approachable" and a "fantastic teacher." Beyond the classroom, one student commented stated that Dr. Ritter offered Thanksgiving dinner to those students unable to travel home.
His commitment to teaching does not stop after graduation. In one recommendation letter, a student spoke of Dr. Ritter as a "great role model and friend" and a mentoring that spanned ten years through pharmacy school, a wedding, and significant life events. His mentoring and research with students exceeds standards of the most dedicated colleagues on our campus. In reading his letters of support, it was difficult to imagine that they addressed only one person.
Dr. Ritter's unique talent for teaching is complimented by a deep commitment to engaging students in research. In the classroom, laboratory, and high profile work with undergraduates Professor Ritter has set high and enviable standards for his colleagues. Since 2002, he has been directing a NASA sponsored microgravity research program at UNCP in which students devise and perform experiments in a zero gravity environment. Dr. Ritter has had seven teams of his students accepted by NASA to fly their experiments in NASA's Microgravity Research aircraft in Houston, Texas. In short, there is little doubt that he provides UNCP students with invaluable educational opportunities and experiences that are arguably unmatched by most universities.
Dr. Ritter received his BS, MA, and, PhD degrees in physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Professor Ritter has been in the Department of Chemistry and Physics since 1996. He is a veteran of the Iraq War and commander in the United States Navel Reserve.
Peter W. Schuhmann | UNC Wilmington
Dr. Peter W. Schuhmann, a professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, lists his primary teaching interests as natural resource economics, principles of economics, econometrics, and the economics of growth and development.
Dr. Schuhmann finds that "inspiring students to want to learn is the most challenging and important aspect of teaching." Consequently, he considers how he teaches as important as what he teaches. His goal is to teach students that "true learning goes beyond the acquisition of information and is an active process of discovering, processing, and applying knowledge. Learning involves raising questions and systematically resolving them. Learning requires critical thinking and cognitive effort." Recognizing that "being a successful college student is hard work" and that if he is going to hold students to a high standard he must be available to help them, he has an open-door policy concerning student visits.
A colleague, calling him "an exciting, superb master teacher," notes that he is "known to spend countless hours working one-on-one with students to help them achieve a level of academic performance far more appropriate to graduate than undergraduate work." Another writes, "[He] is not only an outstanding teacher, but also a mentor and a model as well for the students he teaches. He personifies the qualities, the virtues, that students long for in their educators. Virtues like honesty, compassion, a strong sense of fairness, and devotion to his profession... He has the ability to break down a difficult concept into small manageable segments for students to chew on and digest them well." According to another colleague, his effectiveness as a teacher "has become legendary in our department. Professor Schuhmann has an uncanny ability to create examples that come alive in students' minds... Sophomores through seniors, master's-level students, professional development programs -the age, experience level, background of the student does not matter, as [his]lectures 'get through' to them all." And another writes, "Students continually rave about Pete's clarity of explanation and ability to stimulate interest in the 'dismal science' even though he teaches large sections of approximately 200 students each semester. One unknown student sums it up very nicely: "You have shown me what it is to dedicate yourself to something."
His commitment to teaching also extends beyond the classroom. As co-founder of the annual UNCW Regional Economics Teaching Workshop, which has attracted approximately 75 attendees from at least 10 states for the past 12 years, Dr. Schuhmann helps other faculty who wish to improve their classroom style. In addition to research related to the economics of natural resource use, he has published several articles on pedagogy.
At UNCW since 1999, Professor Schuhmann has received a Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, a Board of Trustees Teaching Excellence Award, a Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, an outstanding MBA faculty award and recognition as an Impact Instructor in the Cameron School of Business every year since 2001. He received a baccalaureate from UNC Wilmington and a master's and doctorate from North Carolina State University.
Geordie MacMinn | UNC School of the Arts
Geordie MacMinn is a member of the Faculty at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served in the School of Drama since 2003. Mr. MacMinn is an excellent teacher who empowers his students with the ability to find and express themselves with their own voice. He is a teacher of the Alexander Technique, which has broad application in many of the disciplines offered at the University. In his teaching philosophy statement, Mr. MacMinn discusses his passion for the Alexander Technique, and how it can transform an actor's ability to successfully embody a role. He comments on this, saying that "My philosophy of teaching is to work with the artist as a human being first, and as an actor second. The technique is to educate the connections: self to self, self to others, and self to audience." His fellow faculty members speak highly of his teaching style, saying that "...he has infinite patience, a quiet authority, and a meticulous attention to detail and specificity."
Both instructors and students nominated him for the award, speaking directly of his dedication, talent, and effectiveness as a teacher. A colleague's statement aptly describes his impact on the School and its students: "He is an exceptionally gifted teacher with the ability to embody a razor sharp mind and fiercely passionate heart. His dedication and compassion are infectious. Many students have shared with me that Mr. MacMinn's classes are vital not just to their training as actors, but to their growth and development as human beings, too."
There are clearly a number of factors that have contributed to Mr. MacMinn's success as a Faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The following quote from a student nominator helps to encapsulate why he is such a worthy recipient of this Excellence in Teaching Award: "All of the grounded work I did in college, I attribute to Mr. MacMinn. His work taught me more about myself than most acting teachers I've had. He did this without imposing anything onto me, and it's due to his gentle nature as a teacher. He allows for anything and everything, creating the safest environment for his students."
Mr. MacMinn earned his BA in Acting from the California State University at Fullerton. He trained as an Alexander Technique teacher at the Alexander Training Institute of Lost Angeles, earning his AmSAT certification in 2001. He subsequently has earned two post-graduate teacher certifications from the American Center for the Alexander Technique, NYC: The Art of Breathing with Jessica Wolf (2003), and The Carrington Way of Working with John Nicholls (2004).
He further earned his designation as a Linklater Voice Teacher in 2007, and traveled to Hamburg, Germany in the summer of 2008 to participate in an advanced teacher training program with Kristin Linklater in Sound & Movement. He has presented workshops in Linklater voice work to Alexander teachers in the United States and Europe. Mr. MacMinn is a member of SAG, AFTRA, VASTA, and AmSAT.
Christopher Cooper | Western Carolina University
Dr. Christopher Cooper is an engaging professor who is actually energized as a teacher by his interactions with students. His classes are dynamic, often changing as needs and issues arise in order to better prepare his students for a changing world.
Starting this semester, Dr. Cooper partnered his elections class with a class at East Michigan University. The instructor there, Dr. Jeff Bernstein, and Dr. Cooper have Skyped into each other's classes, their students have worked on projects together, and overall, the students were able to experience how the election played out from the perspective of two different key states. There were even competitions among students to be the best at predicting various details of the presidential election. In the meantime, Dr. Cooper has listened closely to issues the students brought up in discussion after the election, and willingly modified the end of the course in order to address their questions.
Dr. Cooper was also instrumental in implementing a new master's level capstone experience where students demonstrate their competence in public affairs by working with a community partner to conduct applied research that helps the partner. His students have done an analysis of downtown parking in Sylva, did an analysis of various options for creating government in Cullowhee, and investigated how a local non-profit board could be restructured.
As an active researcher, Dr. Cooper has written numerous articles and made appearances on local TV and radio stations because of his expertise. He consistently brings new findings into his classroom and involves his students in research projects. Ten of his students were chosen to present at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. He has also co-authored several papers and newspaper articles with students.
Dr. Cooper's peers describe him as a "dynamic professor" who makes "superb use of technology" and "establishes an impressive rapport with students," "ignites their interest," and "motivates them to accept responsibility for the learning that takes place in his classroom." Another college has said that Dr. Cooper demonstrates "how an active scholar can bring research into the classroom and make it exciting."
Some comments from Dr. Cooper's students state that he, "challenges the way we think," motivated them "to strive for exceptionally high standards," and taught them the ability to "learn from other students" and "look at topics from a different perspective." One student added that he "allows students to succeed in ways they never imagined." They are clearly appreciative of Dr. Cooper's instruction, be he is also appreciative of them, stating that, "My students make me think about the world differently every day."
Dennis R. Sherrod | Winston-Salem State University
Dr. Dennis Sherrod serves as the inaugural Forsyth Medical Center Endowed Chair of Recruitment & Retention and Professor in the Division of Nursing at Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC. His Endowed Chair position was established to research recruitment and retention issues relating to students, nursing faculty, staff nurses, and nurse managers and is the first of its kind in the nation. Dr. Sherrod joined Winston-Salem State University in 2001 and during his time here he has served as the Director of Graduate Programs, where he provided oversight for the Advanced Nurse Educator and Family Nurse Practitioner graduate programs and as the Advanced Nurse Educator coordinator. In each of his roles, a primary focus has been classroom and clinical teaching.
Currently Dr. Sherrod teaches theory, research, informatics, and scholarly projects in the Division of Nursing. In the past he has also taught education theory, curriculum and instruction, and education practicum and residency courses in the Advanced Nurse Educator curriculum. He provides guest lectures related to nursing and health law in the Department of Healthcare Management. He also provides guest lectures to undergraduate Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in the Division of Nursing. In the past has taught health systems courses in the Department of Physical Therapy.
Dr. Sherrod has more than thirty years of nursing and nurse educator experience and over a decade of recruitment and retention expertise. Prior to joining Winston-Salem State University, he served as Associate Director of the North Carolina Center for Nursing where he directed the North Carolina Institute for Nursing Excellence, the North Carolina Recruitment and Retention Grant Program and the statewide "Nursing: The Power to Make a Difference" campaign designed to encourage youth and minorities to consider nursing and health careers.
On the national level, Dr. Sherrod has served as President of the Center for American Nurses where he directed development of resources, strategies, and tools to help nurses manage evolving workforce issues and succeed in their careers. In 2003 Dr. Sherrod was selected as one of twenty nurses in the nation as a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellow and he currently serves as President of the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Alumni Association. On the state level, Dennis served as a President of the North Carolina Nurses Association and on numerous nurse-focused statewide committees.
In 2003, he coauthored his first book titled Surviving the Shortage: Creative Recruitment and Retention Strategies and in 2005 he coauthored a second book titled A Practical Guide to Recruitment and Retention which in 2007 was updated for therapy managers and titled The Essential Guide to Recruitment and Retention: Skills for Therapy Managers. He has authored numerous journal articles related to nursing education and nurse recruitment and retention and serves on the editorial advisory board of the Nursing Management journal.
He received his bachelor's in nursing at Barton College, Wilson, NC; his master's in nursing education at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC; and his doctorate in higher educational administration at NC State University, Raleigh, NC. Dennis speaks, writes, and teaches nationally and internationally and brings a common sense approach to nursing education as well as nurse recruitment and retention issues.
Maria L. Hernandez | NC School of Science and Mathematics
Maria Hernandez has distinguished herself in over 15 years of service empowering and enlightening students at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and across our state.
She has implemented her belief that effective teachers must provide clear and thoughtful instruction, encouraging students to develop and explore their own ideas and mathematical methods through collaborative learning and access to technology. "Math teachers must provide engaging problems so that students have opportunities to be active participants in their own learning process," according to Ms. Hernandez. "They should engage students to ask thoughtful questions, and then encourage them to be persistent in their search for answers to those questions."
Her colleagues describe Ms. Hernandez as "an engaging and charismatic teacher of mathematics," who throughout her career, "has stretched her students, encouraging them to think for themselves and drawing from them thoughtful, reflective work and a desire to understand." Her classes are "always active... she keeps class discussions at a high level. The focus is on what is new and challenging."
Ms. Hernandez has taught both Mathematics and Computer Science at the high school, community college, and university level. Her courses range from Algebra II and AP Calculus to Differential Equations and Finite and Discrete Mathematics, as well as programming in Basic, Pascal C++, and Java. Currently at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics she is teaching Precalculus, Introduction to Complex Systems, and Multivariable Calculus with innovative methods that incorporate real world problems, the use of graphing calculators and mathematic software, as well as alternative assessments.
Committed to expanding access to exceptional Mathematics instruction, Ms. Hernandez has designed and implemented a Multivariable Calculus course for the school's NCSSM Online program. She has developed teacher training materials for Algebra II, Advanced Functions and Modeling, Precalculus, and Calculus courses. And has created webinar sessions and supporting materials for The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for middle and high school teachers. She is a regular presenter at Mathematics conferences and workshops across the United States.
National Board Certified in Secondary Mathematics, Ms. Hernandez has served as Vice President of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Faculty Senate and sponsors the campus chapter of Women in Science and Engineering. She has been recognized by the school with both its Outstanding Teacher Award (2011) and Keeper of the Dream Award (2012) for multicultural enrichment, as well as by the Women and Mathematics Mentoring Program as Mentor of the Year (2009). Ms. Hernandez currently serves as the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics Vice-President for Secondary Schools, and recently won national recognition with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching (2009).
Ms. Hernandez earned her BS in Mathematics at North Carolina State University and her MS in Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.