Political science professor Joyce Baugh received the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award presented by the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The award recognizes a faculty member who goes above and beyond what is expected in creating exceptional learning opportunities for students. CHSBS dean E. Gary Shapiro and associate dean Pamela Gates surprised Baugh with the award presentation April 22 during one of her classes. I was absolutely speechless and deeply moved by the award presentation," said Baugh. "I joked with my students that they never see me speechless, but this was a different story. It definitely took me a few minutes to regain my composure to teach the day's lessons."

A committee of faculty representatives from each department within the college, with Gates serving as chair, chooses the winner. The committee solicits nominations from faculty, staff, students and alumni. The individuals who nominated Baugh were clear in their admiration for her teaching style.

"Dr. Baugh deserves to be named the CHSBS teacher of the year, because for me, and for so many students at CMU, she has been the teacher of a lifetime," wrote one individual.

Another compared a semester with Baugh to training for a marathon.

"You might think that you are at the top of your game and could not possibly go any further, but Dr. Baugh acts as a motivational power force throughout the semester. She dares you to take learning to new heights and ask questions along the way."

Baugh says it is rewarding to watch her students become excited about learning.

"The 'light bulb' moments and the looks on their faces when they understand a concept that they've had difficulty with are priceless. I also appreciate working with first-generation college students and teaching them that they can be successful even if they don't come from families where higher education has been the norm."

Baugh joined the political science faculty in 1988. She teaches courses on constitutional law, civil liberties, judicial process, American government and the Civil Rights Movement.

Other comments from individuals who nominated Joyce Baugh:

“Once in a rare while, people encounter teachers who are larger than life and leave a profound impact on them for the rest of their lives.  For me, that teacher is Dr. Joyce Baugh.”

“Because of the amount of compassion and effort she demonstrates while teaching, it is impossible not to become excited about learning.” 

“Her job description as a teacher is not just to communicate material that she is already an expert on, she makes it her priority to get through to students at the individual level and instill the gift of learning in them.”

“In a corporate world of self-centered, jaded professionals, it is incredibly refreshing to witness someone who loves their work.  The passion that she demonstrates in her classroom every day gives me hope that someday I will love my job as much as she does.  By challenging me more than any teacher ever has, she have given me confidence in myself and helped me to recognize that I am capable of being a life-long learner and overcoming any obstacle in my path.”

“She has taught me that there are endless boundaries for our dreams if we are willing to work harder than we ever thought possible and maintain a positive attitude.”