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News & Press: Awards

2019 Distinguished Teacher Award

Wednesday, March 20, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christina Yoshimura
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By Audrey Deterding, Committee Chair

For the Distinguished Teaching Award, recipients must demonstrate teaching that rises above and beyond the craft of teaching to a sustained performance of excellence. This kind of teaching incites intellectual curiosity in students, can inspire departmental colleagues, and makes students aware of significant relationships between the academy and the world at large.

This year’s winner has taught over 20 different classes at undergraduate and graduate level. Not only has she taught them, she has developed, and redeveloped well over half of them. Not merely an onlooker into the pedagogy of teaching, this person has routinely updated courses to reflect new ways of making the material come alive and isn’t willing to settle for anecdotal evidence of effective instruction. She wants to empirically ensure her classes are successful.

Even more so, her classes ask students to be rather than to observe. It isn’t learning if they aren’t doing.  Whether it’s a kindness flash mob, or doing leadership- rather than learning about it, or asking “what are you up to in the world” and then using that stance to allow for real application- her self-described ruthless compassion which hold both teacher and student accountable- to maintain communication, to acknowledge and reaffirm promises not kept, and to foster hope and compassion.

 As one former student said, this person “critically rejects a top-down style of teaching that merely “deposits” knowledge in students. Rather, she inspires students to find their own path and improve their strengths.”

 Words that often show up in course evaluations and conversations about this person include “transformative” “passionate” and “curious” and “innovative”. These are not merely adjectives but, just as she teaches, things she does.  

It is my distinct pleasure to recognize this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award winner, Dr. Sarah Tracy. 


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