The Office of Academic Affairs and the Center for Teaching and Learning annually recognize individuals that have made exemplary contributions to creating an engaging academic learning environment through teaching, scholarship, and mentoring. A call for nominees is issued in February and candidates are reviewed and selected by a faculty committee appointed by the Provost. The award are announced at the Honors Convocation in April and at the Faculty Recognition Luncheon in May. The recipient of the award for excellence in teaching is invited to give the keynote address at the Opening Convocation in September.
2014 Distinguished Contributors
Shanna Watters, Phil Adamo, and Stacy Freiheit
Stacy Freiheit, Associate Professor of Psychology, Excellence in Teaching
Stacy Freiheit is recognized for her ability to teach across a range of course levels and in both face-to-face and hybrid course formats. Her ability to make the content of her courses in psychology approachable, relevant, and meaningful is notable. Student Amineh Safi, ’14, notes that “as a professor, she ensures that she engages students in the material that she is teaching and makes it personal….She does not just teach you something, she puts you in situations where you act it out. She is very creative and open, “and that she “implements a multitude of methods to help students learn, from videos, to interviews, to live demonstrations.”
Nominators and colleagues Bridget Robinson-Riegler and David Matz state, “Dr Freiheit’s classroom style reflects her diligent preparations. She begins every class with an overview of the goals to be achieved that day and reminds students of how new content fits with previously covered material. She puts students at ease with her relaxed and approachable demeanor and establishes an air of mutual respect. One notable aspect of Dr. Freiheit’s technique in the classroom is the care she takes to ensure that all students understand the material. She is known for showing great patience with students in the classroom and when meeting with students outside of class. She provides multiple channels through which students can engage course material, and she brings a strong sense of confidence and organization to each course she teaches.”
Phil Adamo, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Medieval Studies Program, Excellence in Scholarship
Phil Adamo, is an internationally recognized scholar of Medieval Studies, recently completing a second edition of the textbook, The Medieval Church: A Brief History; and with another book forthcoming, New Monks in Old Habits: The Formation of the Caulite Monastic Order, 1193-1267. History Chair Michael Lansing notes that the latter “represents original research and analysis and will be a major contribution to the field of monastic history…the production of such books is the most highly prized form of scholarship. They take anywhere between 6 to 10 years to produce and represent an enormous amount of work.” In addition to this, Adamo has produced essays and articles, and delivered over 20 scholarship presentations outside of Augsburg in both medieval history and the scholarship of history teaching and learning.
Alongside this impressive body of scholarly work, Adamo has “an ability to fold students into his scholarship, providing them with rich and meaningful experiences that develop them as young scholars,” notes Dixie Shafer, URGO Director. “Not surprisingly, knowing his rapport with students, Dr. Adamo provided some Augsburg students with the opportunity to contribute scholarship to the Medieval Church book. Currently, he is working on a book for Augsburg’s upcoming Sesquicentennial and once again, has provided opportunities for Augsburg undergraduates to be significant contributors. Further, Dr. Adamo has exposed students to scholarship by bringing, on average, ten students each year to the International Congress on Medieval Studies.”
Shana Watters, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Excellence in Advising and Mentoring
Shana Watters has been beyond active with students on campus: serving on the Student Standing Committee, volunteering for SOAR, Scholarship Weekend, and Sneak Peek; serving as AugSem Director, and working as faculty mentor in the McNair Scholar program. Computer Science chair Noel Petit notes that Watters “has done an amazing job as advisor, mentor, teacher, and scientist. This includes all of the above, along with being the advisor to the rebirth of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) chapter on this campus.”
Academic Advisor Carrie Shidla writes that Watters “really shines. She is interesting; she is supportive; she has high expectations; she is fun. She takes her responsibility to her students very seriously, but never takes herself too seriously. As a result, she has been a remarkable mentor to many students, even those who have not chosen to pursue computer science.” Students confirm Watters’ enthusiasm for her discipline and her commitment to them. Karin Driggers ’14 says that Watters “is understanding when students are struggling and does everything in her power to help…she is truly dedicated to helping others, teaching, and being there for her students.” Banna Kidane ’15 notes that Watters “has helped me receive four different scholarships with her outstanding list of recommendations. I have been able to go to [her] office with many problems, whether academic or personal…Shana is like a mother figure to many of her students. She has an unconditional love and care for all of us.”
Click the links below to read more about past recipients.