Distinguished and outstanding teachers honored at conference

Jamie Shearer

Winners chosen by students, faculty

sented faculty with the Distinguished Teaching and Outstanding Teaching Awards at last week’s Celebrating Teaching Conference.

The awards are driven by student, faculty, staff and alumni nominations for professors who have made an impact in their students’ learning.

The Distinguished Teaching Award is for tenure-track faculty, and the Outstanding Teaching Award is for full-time non tenure-track and adjunct faculty.

Distinguished Teaching Award recipients:

Walter Davis

Associate professor for teaching, learning and curriculum studies

Education: Bachelor’s in physical education from Graceland College in Iowa; master’s and doctorate in special physical education from the University of Connecticut.

Teaching experience: Started teaching at Kent State in 1981; taught at the University of Illinois for two years as a visiting professor

Teaching philosophy: Davis sees his role as helping students see they have all the skills and talents to succeed and helping them feel good about themselves.

On receiving the award: “It was really, totally amazing. You know, it’s a real honor for me.”

Spring classes: Ethics for Exercise, Leisure and Sport.

Douglas Kline

Professor of biological sciences

Education: Bachelor’s in biology from the University of California; doctorate in zoology from the University of California

Teaching experience: Started teaching at Kent State in 1989; also taught at a medical school in Puerto Rico for a year and a half and at a high school in Davis, Calif., for four years.

Teaching philosophy: Kline involves students by having them learn science by doing science. He also has “coffee with Kline” where he gets to know students outside the classroom.

On receiving the award: “It was very nice. I was a little bit surprised . I was very honored to receive it.”

Spring classes: Cell Biology, Biophotonics.

Wayne Gorder

Professor of music

Education: Bachelor’s in music education from the University of Wisconsin; master’s and doctorate degrees in music education from the University of Illinois.

Teaching experience: Started teaching at Kent State in 1987; also taught at Milikin University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Western Washington University and at public schools in Wisconsin.

Teaching philosophy: “I’ve been told that I have high standards and that I hold the students to the same standards that I expect of myself. Music is not a discipline in which mediocre performance is satisfying.”

On receiving the award: “It is very humbling, exciting and gratifying.”

Spring classes: Teaches and conducts the Kent Wind Ensemble, Conducting.

Outstanding Teaching Award recipients

Irene Renee Axiotis

Assistant professor of health sciences

Education: Bachelor’s in psychology from Kent State; master’s in community health from Kent State; doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Kent State.

Teaching experience: Has taught full-time at Kent State since 2004; taught at the University of Akron for one year and Ashland University for five years; director of Student Health Promotion and part-time teacher in the health education program for nine years at Kent State.

Teaching philosophy: “I try really hard to remember what it is like to be a student. What we do in class is a learning experience for them and for me at the same time.”

On receiving the award: “I was surprised to receive the award and very grateful to the students who nominated me. It means a lot to know that my courses have had that kind of impact on them.”

Spring classes: Human Sexuality, Health Behavior.

Elizabeth Howard

Associate professor of English.

Education: Bachelor’s in English from Kent State; master’s in English from Ohio University; master’s in linguistics from Ohio University; doctorate in English from the University of Kansas.

Teaching experience: Started teaching at Kent State in 2000; taught at Kansas State for one year and at Chillicothe Correctional Institution and Ross Correctional Institution in Ohio.

Teaching philosophy: Howard has an enthusiasm for what she teaches and thinks her students catch on to that. “I really love what I teach, and I hope that shows.”

On receiving the award: “It’s quite an honor” to have students and colleagues “think well enough of you to nominate you.”

Spring classes: History of the English Language, Lexicography, Honors Colloquium.

Margaret Leslie

Assistant professor of chemistry.

Education: Bachelor’s in chemistry and biochemistry from Rhodes University in South Africa; master’s in classical history from the University of South Africa; doctorate in chemistry (specializing in organic chemistry) from Rhodes University in South Africa.

Teaching experience: Started teaching at Kent State in 2003; Taught for three years at Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron.

Teaching philosophy: Leslie makes her students see the material has value. “It helps that I try really hard to make the material have relevance to them.” She also sees education as a two-way street – not only can her students learn from her, but she can learn from them, too.

On receiving the award: “I was obviously very excited. It is a real honor.”

Spring classes: Introduction to Chemistry, Basic Organic Chemistry, Chemistry in Our World.

Contact academic affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at [email protected].