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Five University System Faculty Honored for Teaching

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Atlanta — December 3, 2013

Five University System of Georgia faculty members have been selected as the 2013 recipients of the System’s most prestigious teaching awards named in honor of Regent Felton Jenkins Jr., who served on the board from Jan. 2006 until his death in Jan. 2011. The Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award is given in two categories, the Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards and the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Awards.

“We are so proud of the faculty recognized through this year’s Regents Teaching Excellence Awards,” said Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the USG. “Our universities and colleges are exemplary because of the outstanding faculty that provide the teaching, research, and services that transform students’ lives and advance knowledge. To be selected by your peers and colleagues for excellence in the profession is indeed a high honor.”

The Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards for 2013 go to the following faculty members:

Dr. Kelly Comfort, an associate professor of Spanish at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Comfort’s demonstrated commitment to students in order to help them use Spanish proficiently, not just in the classroom, but in the community, was a key reason for her selection as a 2013 award winner.

Dr. Delena Gatch, an associate professor of physics at Georgia Southern University. Gatch was selected based upon her ability to gather data and adjust her teaching methods from a traditional style to one that involved an active learning strategy in which students engage the material they study through reading, writing, talking, listening and reflecting. Her outreach to colleagues in this transition also contributed to her selection for the award.

Dr. Richard Pennington, an associate professor of chemistry at Georgia Gwinnett College. Pennington is recognized for his innovative approach to teaching what is considered a difficult subject (chemistry) and his use of technology, particularly the flipped classroom approach in which normal classwork is done at home and homework is done in class.

• Receiving the System’s inaugural award for online teaching excellence is Dr. Kimberly Huett, an instructor in the Department of Educational Technology and Foundations, the College of Education at the University of West Georgia. Huett was selected for her innovative use of media in the development of online coursework and her outreach to the educational community through which she shares her strategies for success.

This year there was one recipient for the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award: Dr. Misty Loughry, a professor of management at Georgia Southern University. Loughry was selected as a result of her work in helping first-generation college students succeed, as well as the fact her efforts were not restricted to her area of teaching, but reached out to students throughout the University.

The Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for an outstanding department was earned by Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Computing Threads. The department was selected in this category for its focus on the improvement of advising as a key leverage point for connecting with students. The College’s efforts resulted in an increase in retention rates, which translated into greater graduation rates. Another factor in the decision to select the College for this year’s awards was the attention the College brought to recognizing teaching and support for teaching assistants.

Nominees for the awards are determined on each campus and then forwarded to the USG Office of Academic Affairs. A committee composed of faculty with many years of teaching experience selects the awards recipients. This year more than 25 faculty members were nominated in the two categories.

This marks the 17th year the University System of Georgia has identified and honored faculty for outstanding teaching and service to students, colleagues and the System.

All recipients will be formally recognized during the USG Foundation’s annual “Regents’ Salute to Education” awards event, slated for March 22, 2014 at the World of Coke in Atlanta.

EDITORS’ NOTE: for high resolution electronic photos of the award winners, contact the University System of Georgia Office of Media & Publications, 404-656-2250 or medpub@usg.edu.

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