Department of
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College of LAS announces teaching award winners

Honorees will be celebrated in April along with last year's winners

The College of LAS has selected winners of this year’s teaching excellence awards. Twelve professors (including Wendy Yang from Plant Biology), graduate student teaching assistants (including Nicholas Anderson from Entomology), and an advisor (to be announced) are honored for their service.

The LAS Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is being awarded to professors Teresa Barnes, history and gender and women's studies; Lisa Guntzviller, communication; Ryan Shosted, linguistics; David Wright, English; and Wendy Yang, plant biology and geology. The award consists of a $1,000 discretionary account to support teaching and a one-time increment of $2,000 added to their salary.

The LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Instructional Staff is being awarded to teaching assistant professor Pilar Martinez Quiroga, Spanish and Portuguese. The award consists of a $1,000 discretionary account to support teaching and a one-time increment of $1,000 added to their salary.

The LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Graduate Teaching Assistants is going to Nicholas Anderson, integrative biology; Leah Becker, English; Ander Beristain Murillo, Spanish and Portuguese; Emily Blevins, psychology; Kate Bruner, communication; and Jone Vicente Urrutia, Spanish and Portuguese. The award consists of a $2,000 cash award.

An award winner for advising will be announced soon.

“Our teachers and advisors have had to work especially hard during the past year,” said Gene Robinson, interim dean of the College of LAS and Swanlund Chair in Entomology. “This year’s winners of the college teaching awards have demonstrated innovation, hard work, flexibility, and an ability to connect with their students that’s been so critical to effective learning during the pandemic.”

This year’s winners will be honored in a ceremony on April 20. The ceremony will include last year’s teaching and advising award winners, as last year’s ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic.

Nicholas Anderson is a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Entomology, and he instructs both introductory courses and an upper-level elective. “Nick has established himself as one of the most effective instructors in the School of Integrative Biology through his abilities to connect with students, explain complex concepts clearly and succinctly, and stay on top of the nuts and bolts of running a course smoothly,” said a colleague.

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Wendy Yang is a professor in the Departments of Plant Biology and Geology. She works to develop courses and led efforts to improve teaching practices, including remote learning. She is described as a dedicated teacher engaged in the teaching mission beyond her own departments. “Dr. Yang has excelled in her contribution to the undergraduate experience through her work in the classroom, her mentoring of undergraduate research students, and her service on multiple teaching-related committees,” a colleague said.

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Publication Date: 03/09/2021
Editor: Kimberly Belser