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Fiscal Year 2010 Board of Regents’ Excellence Awards Announced

Atlanta — January 28, 2010

Four University System of Georgia (USG) faculty members and one academic program are this year’s recipients of the Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Awards.

The awards program recognizes and rewards outstanding teaching by individual faculty members and outstanding teaching in a single academic program or department. The awards honor exemplary teaching that significantly improves student success. They also recognize research demonstrating innovative teaching techniques that enhance student learning. Each year, recipients are selected from nominations submitted annually by the presidents of USG institutions. Each of the award winners receives $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 success.”

Three faculty members and one department have been chosen to receive the annual Regents Award of Excellence in Teaching, while one faculty member has been tapped to receive the Regents Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. The faculty members will be honored at the USG Foundation’s Sixth Annual Excellence Awards Celebration in March 2010.

The recipients are as follows:

Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards (Individual Faculty):

Representing Two-Year & State Colleges:

Dr. Candace Timpte, associate professor of biology, Georgia Gwinnett College. Timpte’s colleagues attested that her dedication to students guides everything she does, from working with beginning students in her First Year Seminar to seniors in a Biology Capstone Course. Timpte uses case studies and other teaching techniques that actively engage students in the learning process. Timpte has even developed cell phone “flashcards” to reach today’s technology-savvy students. As a contributor in the Partners in Active Learning (PALs) project, she is connecting biology to other academic disciplines and helping students understand the interdisciplinary nature of the world. One of Timpte’s students notes that, “she is simply a wonderfully optimistic, energetic professor, always prepared, always there to help outside of class.”

Representing Regional & State Universities:

Karen Robinson, associate professor of theatre & performance studies, Kennesaw State University. Robinson’s colleagues praise her for educating students through the scholar-artist model, also noting that he theatrical productions she directs take student learning well beyond the classroom. Robinson also has a long and deep record of promoting global learning and diversity. For example, in 2007, she secured funding for a residency at Kennesaw State for a 26-member Kenyan Youth Choir and directed a production of “Monkey King” both at the university and in Shanghai, China. Robinson also shares her teaching techniques through conference presentations and publications in hopes of increasing global learning at other colleges and universities.

Representing Research Universities:

Dr. Matthew Baker, associate professor of mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology. Baker teaches both undergraduates and graduate students at Georgia Tech. According to Georgia Tech officials, he inspires his students and amazes his colleagues with his use of magic to illustrate mathematical concepts. On top of his faculty responsibilities, he promotes the value of math to area high school students and community groups. In addition to training graduate students, Baker regularly involves his undergraduate students in research and helps them present their work at conferences and publish in professional journals. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the competitive Putnam Math Team and as the coordinator for the School of Mathematics Research Experiences program. Baker’s commitment to his students has not kept him from doing extensive research of his own.

Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards (Department/Program):

First-Year Experience Program, Kennesaw State University. The First-Year Experience Program at Kennesaw State University (KSU) is a longstanding program that has become part of the fabric of the institution. Using the best practices in the field, KSU strategically provides academic coursework and co-curricular activities that have been shown to enhance freshman success and boost student retention. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 30 best benchmarking first-year experience programs in the country, KSU’s program serves as a model for institutions within Georgia and across the country.

Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Award:

Dr. Laura Regassa, associate professor of biology, Georgia Southern University. According to Georgia Southern officials, Regassa has an impressive record of scholarship that clearly demonstrates the impact her innovative teaching techniques have on student learning. Her focus on project-based learning has received significant grant support from the National Science Foundation, and she is known nationally and internationally for her meticulous scholarly approach to improving teaching and student learning. Colleagues say her teaching and research projects serve as powerful examples of advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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