Teachers, advisers in a class by themselves
ON THE GREEN | Eight faculty members have been recognized for outstanding work in teaching and advising, with annual awards that are based largely on student nominations.
This year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards were presented to Gary Allison, assistant professor of special education; Thomas Becker, professor of management and chair of the Department of Business Administration; Michal Herzenstein, assistant professor of marketing; and Juejun Hu, assistant professor of materials science.
“My general approach is to make the instruction exciting, engaging and memorable,” Allison says. “To think that I play a part in the professional preparation and development of UD’s teachers, who are, without question, the finest in the region, is beyond gratifying.”
Becker says management students need to learn both theory and practice and how to avoid fads in business. “I [also] avoid fads and fashions in teaching,” he says. “What works for me is a priority on meaningful learning, rigorous standards, enthusiasm for the topic and genuine concern for students.”
Herzenstein strives to teach complex material in a down-to-earth and entertaining way. “I design my courses with the purpose of illustrating to students both the elegance and complexity of the marketing discipline,” she says.
Hu views teaching as fun and inventive and says he “draws inspiration from research of my own and others, from everyday life, from the news I read, from the movies I watched and from conversations.”
Recipients of this year’s Excellence in Advising and Mentoring Awards are Marsha Baumeister, assistant professor of education; Jennifer Buckley, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Eric Furst, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering; and Jennifer Gregan-Paxton, associate professor of marketing and senior academic adviser.
Baumeister says students are always anxious about starting their student teaching but that “at the conclusion of the experience, they felt confident about beginning a career as an educator, and that was the goal I had hoped each of them would accomplish.”
Buckley calls engineering a combination of theory, practice and common sense. “I never think that a student cannot reach a particular milestone, whether it is making a novel design or understanding an engineering concept, and I like to think that my belief in them helps them reach their goal.”
In Furst’s view, “Mentoring requires an investment in time and energy, but it is the most critical element of a student’s education, and an investment that returns dividends far into the future to support our shared mission of education and research.”
Gregan-Paxton sees the adviser’s role as participating in “one of the most significant and consequential phases of an individual’s life” by providing young people with guidance and support as they become adults.
Also honored at the end of the academic year were three doctoral students selected for graduate student teaching awards: Tiffany Racco, studying art history; Furkan Cayci, electrical and computer engineering; and Joseph Turner, English.
Artika Casini, AS05