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A&M-Commerce faculty receive recognition

By Savannah Christian
On March 10, 2011


Texas A&M University-Commerce had 36 faculty named in the Fall 2010 Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence.

Faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Technology, and the College of Education and Human Performance were chosen for this award – amongst them were Dr. Kent Montgomery, Omar Brown and Dr. Leah Wickersham. 

"I am truly appreciative [of this award] because this confirms the true reflection of the quality level of teaching that I aim for," Brown said. 

The award is decided on by students who have been taught by the professors at hand, echoing their positive performances in the classroom.

"The fact that students are able to honestly, anonymously and voluntarily give their feedback is a testimony to the fact that students welcome challenges, active participation and application of concepts, because that is the foundation of my courses," Brown said. 

The top faculty from the Texas A&M University campuses are selected through results from evaluations completed by students.  Faculty chosen for this award have positive feedback from students, reflecting their ‘teaching excellence.'

"I believe [the qualifications are] a measure of what teaching methods are used to ensure information is conveyed to students, setting high standards, taking an interest in students' learning and wellbeing, being resourceful, practical, as well as ensuring that students receive value for their money," Wickersham said.

Wickersham also had a few personal top qualifications for earning such recognition.

"I believe the qualifications for earning such an award are many," she said, "but to name a few I would have to say timely feedback on how students are performing, responding to the student emails/questions, and being present online are my top three."

Wickersham, along with Brown and Montgomery, has received this award prior to the fall 2010 semester.

"This is the second time I have received this award and I truly value it because it is based upon student feedback," she said.  "I only teach online and this award confirms for me that I must be doing something right."

Montgomery reiterated the feelings Brown and Wickersham expressed toward the award.

"It is always nice to be recognized," Montgomery said.  "This award in particular is nice because it comes from students.  After all, by the time they reach college they have [typically] been in school for 12 years and by then they know what is good and bad."

Wickersham said she thinks this award is proof of the effectiveness of teaching through online courses.

"I continually tweak my courses based upon student feedback in the course evaluations and from informal feedback," she said.  "I want to know what was done well and what I need to improve on.  They are honest and tell me what worked and what did not work so well."

This award can be used for motivation and self-evaluation, something Montgomery chooses to utilize.

"I am always trying to improve and I'm constantly changing my [teaching] style," he said.  "I want my students to feel like their classes are worthwhile."

Along with the student feedback through evaluations, Brown said he uses his personal experiences to create a constructive learning environment.

"I use multiple styles and methods to ensure that the students understand the material and are able to apply it to working-world situations, while making it fun and exciting," he said.  "I also tend to reflect on my past experiences as a student and try to apply the principles that helped me to grasp the material better and revamp those that did not work.  My aim is to allow students the opportunity to reflect and see the true value of why what is being taught to them is important."

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Larry Lemanski was unavailable for comment.

There will be an awards reception on Friday, April 15 to honor the recipients.

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