16 teaching finalists are eligible for $1,500 cash prize

Jackie Valley

Robert S. Jewell is presented with the Outstanding Teacher Award for non-tenured track faculty yesterday. Jewell was surprised during his ethics class by fellow faculty members and Jeff Fruit, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Credit: Jason Hall

English Professor Lawrence Starzyk submitted a letter from a colleague and Christmas cards from students in his portfolio for the 2006 Distinguished Teaching Award.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I was a finalist,” said Starzyk, adding that he will be even more pleasantly surprised if he is a winner.

Sixteen teaching award finalists were announced this week. Six of these will be awarded a $1,500 cash prize and a crystal apple to honor their excellence in teaching.

The winning recipients will be recognized Nov. 3 during the President’s Luncheon at the Celebrating College Teaching conference sponsored by the University Teaching Council, said Honors College Dean Larry Andrews. This ceremony includes two award distinctions.

The Distinguished Teaching Awards will be named by the Kent Alumni Association. Only three of the 10 finalists will win the award, said Elizabeth Slanina, assistant director of alumni relations.

The Distinguished Teaching Award, established by the Kent Alumni Association in 1967, honors full-time faculty members who have taught at the university for at least seven years, Slanina said.

“We see a value in honoring classroom teaching,” she said. “In 20 years, although people remember good friends from college, they will also remember a few faculty members who made an impact.”

The University Teaching Council honors full-time, non-tenure track faculty members or part-time faculty members with its Outstanding Teaching Awards. The six finalists for this award will also be narrowed down to three winners.

“The Outstanding Teaching Awards were designed to fill a gap,” Andrews said.

As Kent State began to hire more non-tenure track and part-time professors, many excellent teachers were being overlooked because they did not meet the criteria for the Distinguished Teaching Awards, Andrews said.

The University Teaching Council presented the first Outstanding Teaching Awards in 1997.

Each spring the university does a drive for nominations where Kent State students, alumni, faculty and staff members are eligible to submit nominations for a professor, Slanina said

Last spring, a golden apple icon on Web for Students allowed students to easily nominate a professor online. As a result, Slanina said students nominated 250 professors with 350 online nominations.

After being nominated, professors must submit a portfolio including items such as a statement of personal teaching philosophy, course syllabi and recommendation letters.

Contact news correspondent Jackie Valley at [email protected].

2006 Distinguished Teaching Award Finalists

• James L. Durandetta (Chemistry, Trumbull campus)

• Isabel Farnsworth (Art, Kent campus)

• Leslie A. Heaphy (History, Stark campus)

• Rhonda A. Richardson (Family and Consumer Studies, Kent campus)

• Murali S. Shanker (Management and Information Systems, Kent campus)

• Lawrence J. Starzyk (English, Kent campus)

• Glenn N. Thomas (Management and Information Systems, Kent campus)

• Stephen B. Thomas (Teaching, Leadership and Curriculum Studies, Kent campus)

• Michael J. Tubergen (Chemistry, Kent campus)

• Stephen M. Zapytowski (Theatre and Dance, Kent campus)

2006 Outstanding Teaching Award Finalists

• Daniel Berardinelli (English, Kent campus)

• Robert S. Jewell (Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent campus)

• Joseph Minerovic (Mathematical Sciences, Kent campus)

• Walter Pechenuk (Computer Sciences, Kent campus)

• Elizabeth Schlosser (Physical Therapy, Ashtabula campus)

• Nader Taha (Mathematical Sciences, Trumbull campus)