Excellence in Teaching Award Winners 2020-2021

Emily BloeschEmily K. Bloesch
Assistant Professor - Psychology
2021 CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

With a strong belief that “students have the ability to answer their own questions and gain their own knowledge,” she uses active learning strategies and continually engages and inspires students to learn. Students appreciate her efforts; “She goes out of her way to connect with her students by helping students find things they enjoy learning about and then continues to foster that enjoyment.” A colleague notes that “[She] is the strongest teacher we have in the department…… Everything [she] does is a step up from the usual.”

Caroline Gwaltney

Caroline S. Gwaltney
Assistant Professor and Regional Clinical Coordinator - Physical Therapy
2021 CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

Students and colleagues call her a passionate and fierce advocate for people and the profession and know her as an excellent role model with a “…unique talent for interacting and inspiring students to be the best they can be”. Her humanistic approach to education engenders trust and a feeling of inclusiveness in the classroom, and warmth and humor infuse her interactions with both students and colleagues.


Bernard KerrBernard J. Kerr, Jr.
Professor, Health Administration – School of Health Sciences
2021 CMU Student Choice Excellence in Teaching Award

As the Student Choice Award recipient, the student selection committee recognized that his “prioritization of students’ needs, detailed and well-developed lessons, and resilience epitomize what it means to be a faculty role model.” Dr. Kerr’s peers echoed his authenticity and skill at guiding students on applying their learning to “make meaningful differences both individually and across organizations.” One student summarized that Dr. Kerr, “engages with such passion, compassion, expertise, and knowledge… that I cannot help but be inspired.”


Alexandra Mascolo-David
Professor of Piano - School of Music
2021 CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

Students are inspired by her unending passion, deep relationships with students, and devotion to the field of music. Her peers are struck by her energy and commitment to conveying passion through her teaching. As one peer commented, “It is remarkable that a veteran teacher with 26 years of experience continues to refine and adjust for optimal learning to take place.” Dr. Mascolo-David explains her pursuit is for “a superior balance of science and art” and that she strives to “give students all the attention, knowledge, respect, admiration, encouragement, and excitement that they need and deserve.”


Mark PottsMark Potts
Fixed-Term Faculty - Finance and Law
2021 Lorrie Ryan Memorial CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

At the core of his teaching are a “welcoming environment and a desire to provide a richer experience, by planning ahead and fostering a sense of community.”  He is highly praised by students for his approach in the classroom.  A student commented, “He is highly knowledgeable on the subject and encouraged me to learn complex information by showing me easy ways to digest the information.” A colleague noted that he is “excellent at personalizing the content and examples he delivers in the classroom. I have observed him drawing on specific examples from his own life and on case studies relevant to his students to draw them into discussions about key principles and practices of business decision-makers, investors and entrepreneurs.”


MaryBeth Smith
MaryBeth Smith
Instructor and Clinical Supervisor - Communication Science and Disorders 
2021 CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

She is “a shining example of what it means to be an outstanding professional and clinician,” affirmed one student. Students and peers alike recognize her passion, enthusiasm, warmth, and genuine care. As one peer wrote, “Everyone who interacts with this candidate knows that she is a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities: promoting equality, self-advocacy, growth, and acceptance. Another student praised, “She is passionate about presenting cutting-edge, modern course material and molds her students into quality, future clinicians through leading by example.”


Michelle SteinhilbMichelle L. Steinhilb
Associate Professor - Biology
2021 CMU Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Steinhilb teaches at all levels, being one of the main architects of our core Genetics course. Beyond developing the course, she converted this from the lecture-based course to an active learning format, now used by all who teach this course. Her classes are designed to engage students by linking the materials to situations that impact them. According to one student, “[She] helped me develop deductive reasoning skills that I still use today in medical school and has made me become a more adept consumer of scientific literature.