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2015 Excellence in Teaching

Excellence in Teaching is bestowed by the Office of the Chancellor and the Teaching Council of the Faculty Senate to honor outstanding work in the classroom.

Michelle Brown

Michelle BrownMichelle Brown believes good teaching combines careful, prepared presentation of knowledge but leaves open the possibility for spontaneous open dialogue. She strives to make her sociology classes civil and open learning communities. Her role as facilitator and moderator supports critical thinking. One student said, “I felt very well respected, as though we students were colleagues of Dr. Brown and not lowly pupils. This changed the mindset of ‘we are at school and this is a requirement to graduate’ to ‘we are discussing real-world issues, and how do we work as a team to possibly make advancements in sociology?’”

Hahn Choo

Hahn ChooHahn Choo, who teaches materials science and engineering, makes sure his students understand the importance of what they are learning. He believes the greatest reward of teaching students is the idea that he’s shaping the next generation of scientists and engineers. “I often talk to my students about how they are under lifetime warranty. For me, simply being a teacher is a worthy reward that fuels me to work on continued improvements and innovation toward excellence in teaching,” he explained. One of the his students said, “Dr. Choo stands out from other teachers because of his poise and ability to convey the material very effectively to the point where the level of detail is not overwhelming, which makes the class as a whole more enjoyable.”

Terry Ishitani

Terry IshitaniTerry Ishitani finds joy in teaching the type of course from which most students shy away: statistics. To help students overcome their fear of math and specifically statistics, Ishitani relies on building strong one-on-one relationships with his students. It’s an element he sees as key to his teaching success. One nominating student said, “Dr. Ishitani has a knack for making a very dense and demanding class make sense by constantly engaging students in class and by ensuring that the foundation of statistical literacy builds upon itself in a logical and meaningful way.” Another student added, “Dr. Ishitani has created a class that fosters and cultivates a passion for budding researchers and scholars to investigate the world through the lens of statistical analysis.”

Jaye Thiel

Jay TheilJaye Thiel is an assistant professor of child and family studies. Her students describe her as a professor who is deeply committed to understanding her students. The student who nominated Thiel said, “Every single Tuesday and Thursday I am genuinely excited to go to Dr. Thiel’s class. I have never felt more welcome in a classroom in my entire life. Getting the opportunity to be a student in Dr. Thiel’s class has been one of the greatest privileges in my life, and I do not say that lightly. She is intelligent, accomplished, and leaves an impact.” Thiel believes that when she teaches others, she teaches herself as well.