Excellence in Teaching Award Winners 2014-2015

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Jeanneane Wood-NartkerDr. Jeanneane Wood-Nartker is a Professor of Interior Design in the Department of Human Environmental Studies.  According to a colleague of 27 years, "Her enthusiasm for her subject matter is unmatched by any other colleagues with whom I have worked. She is passionate about her field and communicates its importance to students from her first meetings with them and throughout their movement through the program." One student shared that, "[Dr. Wood-Nartker] was the kind of professor who believed in students, sometimes even more than the students believed in themselves." Another student noted, "She takes the time to get to know each student, and wants to see them succeed in the program. She makes sure that every student has the opportunity to speak individually with her, and she treats them with respect." Lastly, a student commented, "She is the type of teacher that made a huge impact on my college life and I will cherish that relationship forever."


Gary GagnonMr. Gary Gagnon is an important member in the College of Business Administration. According to a colleague, Professor Gagnon, “…is simply outstanding at conveying subject matter in the classroom.” Another colleague noted, “From the moment that his students step into the room, they are engaged and excited to see what the day holds in his class.” One student shared, “It’s impossible not to walk away from class each day knowing so much more than when you walked in." In his teaching philosophy, Gary Gagnon addressed his approach to teaching in a direct way. “I offer students opportunities to learn, confirm, contest, support, refute, refine and apply their knowledge. I do not purport to be a ventriloquist, attempting to get students to say or use particular words, nor assume my students to be mind-readers, encouraging them to try to figure out what I am thinking. Rather, during our precious classroom time together, I encourage my students to express what they are thinking about the question or topic at hand and to discuss and apply the course concepts and attempt to relate them to our real-world context.”


Joseph Michael SommersDr. Joseph Michael Sommers is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature.  Dr. Sommers explains, “Honesty, good humor, and innovation lie at the heart of my teaching. (Yes, I am an eternal optimist.) These things make walking into class every morning at 8 AM an exhilarating experience for my students and myself. Teaching for me has become as much about listening as it has been about speaking. It’s something I’ve come to term as empathic education, where both teacher and student construct bonds of concern for each other’s perspectives on the lesson. It creates a mutual respect for knowledge and learning where we all come together to discuss what we have learned and share the knowledge. Because I do care what they’re thinking, and I hope they care enough to share it as a community.”  One student notes, “he structured [his class] in a way that fully engaged all of his students even though we were all so diverse. He built trust and understanding with all his students by listening to each of our unique concerns and ideas.” 


Emily WebsterMs. Emily Webster is a valued member of the College of Health Professions in the Athletic Training Department. In her statement of teaching philosophy, she describes her love of learning and her ability to connect personally with students. “Students consistently hear me say, `I learn something new every day’ as I emphasize that learning is a constant process and we learn the most in our mistakes.” One student stated, “Ms. Webster “inspires students to learn because of the heart and desire she portrays while teaching.” A colleague offered the following praise: “Hands down, this candidate is absolutely a positive and professional role model for our students. She embodies professionalism when she walks into the classroom. From day one, she indicates what constitutes professional behavior, models it and expects the students to live up to the standards.” 


Adam BarragatoAdam Barragato,  from the Department of Communication, is a role model, mentor, colleague, and relationship builder through teaching. Mr. Barragato’s Teaching Philosophy clearly outlines his purpose, “As a teacher, I cannot force content on students in hopes that they will learn, but I can try to create an environment where they can learn about the content, themselves, and how they view their own perceived ability.” A colleague commented, “Adam’s methods and materials are the most creative I have seen in our department. One of the adjectives I would use to describe him is brave because, in the classroom, he implements methods and materials most teachers are afraid to use. He is a role model because students see him as their role model.”  One student shared, “He is perhaps the best teacher I have had and he creates high expectations. On more than one occasion he pushed me further on an assignment or demanded more of me because I am capable of the higher level.