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Board of Regents’ ‘Excellence Awards’ Announced

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Atlanta — October 6, 2008

Five University System of Georgia faculty members and one academic department are the latest recipients of the annual Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Awards.

The Board of Regents’ awards program recognizes and rewards outstanding teaching by individual faculty members and outstanding teaching by a single academic program or department. Each year, recipients are selected from nominations submitted by the chief academic officers of University System institutions. The awards program honors exemplary teaching that significantly improves student achievement and recognizes research demonstrating innovative teaching techniques that enhance student learning. Each honoree will receive $5,000 and a certificate of achievement.

“These awards allow us to recognize outstanding faculty in the University System of Georgia who are making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students,” said Dr. Susan Herbst, the University System’s executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “We are proud to spotlight these exceptional faculty and programs and their commitment to student learning and achievement.”

For the current year, three faculty members and one department have been chosen to receive the Regents Award of Excellence in Teaching, while two faculty members have been tapped to receive the Regents Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. The recipients are as follows:

Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards (Faculty):

Representing Two-Year & State Colleges:

Dr. Christy Price, professor of psychology, Division of Social Sciences, Dalton State College. Price, who won the 2007 Dalton State College Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, has a distinguished record of contributing to best practices in teaching and learning. Her students often report that her courses have had a lasting impact on them and their ability to think critically. The depth of her understanding of the elements of effective teaching has led to numerous conference presentations and invited professional-development workshops for faculty at institutions both within and beyond the University System of Georgia.

Representing Regional & State Universities:

Dr. Carol Barnum, professor of information design/technical communication, Department of English, Technical Communication & Media Arts, Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU). Barnum has an international reputation as a teacher and scholar, having won the J. R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication and the International Society for Technical Communication Distinguished Award for her book, “Usability Testing and Research.” A faculty member at SPSU since 1979, she has been a campus leader in graduate education, distance learning and international education, and as the director of SPSU’s Usability Center, which helps businesses to design more useful products. In the classroom, Barnum transforms knowledge into tangible products that benefit the university and its students.

Representing Research Universities:

Dr. Balasubramaniam Ramesh, Board of Advisors professor of computer information systems, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. Ramesh, with an impressive record of teaching and research awards from Georgia State University, actively involves and mentors students in his research projects. He is a leader in creating opportunities for students to learn in a global environment and working with area public schools to advance science, technology, engineering, and math education. Ramesh has demonstrated outstanding responsiveness to industry needs, both in the development of new curriculum and in modifying his teaching methods to strengthen students’ problem-solving skills and critical analysis.

Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards (Department/Program):

Schwob School of Music, Columbus State University. The Schwob School has developed into a model department that sustains a culture of commitment to teaching and learning excellence. Based on the American Association for Higher Education’s “Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” faculty engage regularly in peer review of their teaching and have set clearly defined benchmarks for student learning that are routinely measured for program improvement. As a result of this commitment to excellence, students and faculty have hosted a number of national and international competitions and meetings, a growing number of outstanding students are selecting Columbus State as their institution of choice, and Schwob graduates are being accepted by prestigious institutions such as Yale, the Peabody Conservatory and Boston University.

Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Awards:

Dr. Charles H. Atwood, professor of chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia. Since his appointment as director of general chemistry more than a decade ago, Atwood has shown an uncommon devotion to instruction in freshman chemistry. He developed JExam, an online homework and exam system and has systematically researched its effectiveness as a teaching and learning tool. The results have been outstanding, demonstrating a significant effect on student learning and increasing student retention in the sciences. Atwood is a leader in working with other instructors to enhance the teaching of introductory chemistry at UGA, and the results have caught the attention of the national chemical education community.

Dr. Matthew Laposata, associate professor of environmental science, Department of Biology and Physics, Kennesaw State University. Laposata has developed a method to gauge the effectiveness of a professor’s teaching by measuring improvement in student learning. His methods serve as a model for others engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Whether he is teaching college environmental science or working with elementary-school science teachers, his approach involves the identification of a need, the design of a solution, a test of the solution’s effectiveness and, most importantly, the dissemination of results to advance the teaching of science nationally. The number of grants supporting his work, his impressive record of professional peer-reviewed presentations and publications, and the availability of his teaching modules and techniques on several highly respected online libraries all bear witness to the enthusiastic response to his teaching methods.

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