Excellence in Teaching Award winners are (from left) Dana S. Chatellier, Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, Debra Gassner Dragone, Robert M. Dyer and Iris Busch.

Faculty honors

Seven UD faculty members honored for teaching, advising


1:56 p.m., May 6, 2014--Seven members of the University of Delaware faculty have been recognized for noteworthy performance in teaching and advising, and two graduate students have received awards for excellence in teaching. 

The Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring awards were presented at the May 5 meeting of the Faculty Senate. 

Honors Stories

National Medal of Science

President Barack Obama recently presented the National Medal of Science to University of Delaware alumnus Rakesh Jain.

Warren Award

Rosalind Johnson, assistant dean for student success in the NUCLEUS Program in UD's College of Arts and Sciences, was presented the John Warren Excellence in Leadership and Service Award during a May 26 ceremony.

Based primarily on nominations from current and past students, faculty excellence awards recognize teachers whose courses are viewed as being thought-provoking, intellectually demanding, related to other fields and touching on contemporary issues and student experiences. 

Awardees receive $5,000, have their portraits hung in the Morris Library for five years and have a brick inscribed with their name installed in Mentors’ Circle.

This year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards were presented to:

  • Dana S. Chatellier, education specialist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Iris Busch, assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, assistant professor in the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Robert M. Dyer, associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and 
  • Debra Gassner Dragone, instructor in the Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.

UD’s Excellence in Advising and Mentoring Award is based on student nominations, and recipients receive $2,500 and are honored with an inscribed brick in Mentors’ Circle. 

This year’s honorees are:

  • Diane M. Rudolphi, instructor in the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences; and 
  • Laura Simmering Glass, assistant professor in the School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development. 

Each recipient of the graduate student Excellence in Teaching Award receives $1,500. This year’s honorees are:

  • Yiben Wang, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences; and 
  • Nadezda Anatolyevna Stepicheva, a doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Award recipients shared their thoughts about teaching and advising with UDaily. Excerpts from their responses are printed below. 

Excellence in Teaching

Dana S. Chatellier: “Since chemistry is a frightening, intimidating subject for many people, especially the non-science majors whom I teach, my goal as a chemistry teacher is to give my students as positive and enjoyable an experience as I can in both the laboratory and the classroom. I want my students to receive the appropriate training and background information that their majors require of them. I try to incorporate examples in class that are relevant their interests. I want to leave my students hungry to learn more.

“Our students are future colleagues, and to whatever extent we may treat them as anything less than the competent young adults we expect them to become, we have failed in our goal as educators.”

Iris Busch: “All students can learn a foreign language. As teachers we must be highly knowledgeable and passionate about our content. We must know our learners well in order to find out what matters to them and how to affect them emotionally. I want to create a learning community in my classroom where students are challenged and inspired and where their opinions matter.”

Dannagal G. Young: “My teaching is driven by my firm belief that the concepts and theories obtained in my courses ought to help transform these young adults into critical and engaged citizens and leaders. By partnering with students in the research process, I engage some of UD’s best and brightest students in social scientific research that many have gone on to pursue in careers and graduate programs across the country.” 

Robert M. Dyer: “My long-term goal is to have students leave the University with a real love to learn and courage to explore. The objective is to create an unquenchable thirst for new knowledge within each student. When students thank me for what we have done here at Delaware, I simply tell them what my instructors told me -- pass on the favor to some young, upcoming student who needs a helping hand.”

Debra Gassner Dragone:My philosophy is to energize each student to want to come to class and enjoy learning the material. There is nothing that says we cannot enjoy the learning experience. My goal is to teach each student to do their best possible in their life and career. The reward is to see these young people graduate with jobs and a bright future. I’m always telling them they have the world at their feet if they just reach out and grab it.”

Excellence in Advising and Mentoring

Diane M. Rudolphi: “Being an adviser and mentor requires patience and the ability to assess the student and guide them in a way that gives them the best chance of being successful. I find our students to be hard working and wanting to do well. They go above and beyond academically and I find they are often giving of their time for others in need through service activities. As a nursing faculty member, my goal is to make each one of my students the best nurse possible.” 

Laura Simmering Glass: “As the Elementary Teacher Education program coordinator, my goal is to provide future elementary teachers with the support and experiences that will help them grow personally and professionally. I truly enjoy working with the wonderful students in the Elementary Teacher Education Program. They are motivated and bright students who are eager to make a difference in the lives of children, and I hope that my guidance enables them to achieve their goal.”

Excellence in Teaching by graduate students

Yiben Wang: “I believe that my role as a teaching assistant is to help guide students and facilitate their learning. My approach to connecting with students is very simple -- it’s whatever works for them. All students learn differently, so I try my best to adapt to all the different types of students. I have tutored some students one-on-one, and I also have held review sessions where more than 35 students attended. It all depends on the student.” 

Nadezda Anatolyevna Stepicheva: “I feel the key for connecting with students is to show them that you love what your are doing. Excitement is always infectious. If you are excited about your job, the students will feel it and get excited in response. I try to teach my students how to work in teams and how to present their data. I am very grateful to all my students for teaching me how to love teaching.” 

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Ambre Alexander Payne and Kathy F. Atkinson

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