LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 13, 2015) — The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences is proud to announce the recipients of this year’s college teaching awards, They are Renee Fatemi, physics and astronomy (Outstanding Teaching Award), Moisés Castillo, Hispanic studies (Outstanding Teaching Award), Charley Carlson, psychology (Outstanding Teaching Award), Anna Voskresensky, MCLLC (Outstanding Teaching Award), Michelle Sizemore, English (Teaching in Large Classes), and Ruth Brown, Hispanic studies (Innovative Teaching).
There will be an awards ceremony to honor the recipients of these and other college awards on Wednesday, April 22, at 4 p.m. in the William T. Young Library Auditorium. A reception will follow the ceremony.
Outstanding Teaching ‒ Natural and Mathematical Science
Renee Fatemi has been a member of the physics and astronomy department since 2007. She teaches at all levels of the curriculum, from introductory physics to topical graduate level courses. Fatemi has been a leader in implementing active learning and adaptive learning strategies into physics courses, thereby allowing students to actively engage with the course material, wherever possible. In addition, she mentors both graduate and undergraduate students in her research lab and serves as the department’s faculty advisor to the Student Physics Society. Fatemi’s enthusiasm for teaching is clearly outstanding, and this is reflected in her Teacher Course Evaluations. Her students appreciate both her passion for the course content and her challenging expectations. In addition, as one student puts it, “I have never seen someone who legitimately cares about the students as much as she does.”
Outstanding Teaching ‒ Humanities
Moisés Castillo joined the Department of Hispanic Studies in 2010. Since then, he has rebuilt and renovated courses within his specialty of the Early Modern Period. His nomination letters speak to his dedication and "tireless" efforts to improve graduate education at the university. As one colleague stated, "He has the heart of a teacher." His commitment to furthering students' cultural competence and their analytical skills is reflected in his syllabi and supporting letters from students: "He inspires his students to use their minds and explore their interests."
Outstanding Teaching ‒ Social Science
Charles “Charley” Carlson joined the University of Kentucky in 1988, and has made an impact teaching both undergraduates and graduate students. He has reached many students through his large lecture course on Developmental Psychology, and more recently developed a senior capstone course that was also very successful. One student was particularly impressed by the way Carlson incorporated student comments into an ongoing learning experience. He also developed an online version of his Developmental Psychology course, which was so successful that it expanded from its original use for summer courses and is now offered year-round. His impact on graduate education has also been important ‒ most recently he developed a clinical internship program for doctoral students, which recently secured an accreditation site visit from the American Psychological Association. As one of his colleagues put it “…Charley consistently has had a positive impact on his students’ lives to a degree not routinely seen in a major research university.”
Outstanding Teaching ‒ Lecturer
Anna Viktorovna Voskresensky is recognized for both her effort to enhance students’ learning experience in Russian and her determination to help students succeed. Since joining the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures as a lecturer, she has been tirelessly committed to the promotion of the Russian language and culture within and outside the classroom. Indeed, Voskresensky has created many innovative activities for facilitating the acquisition of Russian, including three extracurricular activities that give students opportunities to further their mastery of the language: a Russian singing group, a Russian reading group, and a study group. Her students recognize her dedication and professionalism and rave that Voskerensky has “gone above the duties of any professor we have known.” For them, “her innovative selfless teaching coupled with a driving passion for her students…make her the amazing instructor that she is.” She is a great ambassador for all things Russian, an excellent instructor but most importantly a caring counselor that helps students achieved their goals.
Award for Excellence in Teaching Large Courses
Michelle Sizemore is the recipient of the inaugural Award for Excellence in Teaching Large Courses because of her work developing the large lecture course English 191 “Literature and the Arts of Citizenship.” This course has had an incredibly positive impact on the students who take it. They characterize the course with comments like: “I found myself trying harder because if she cared so much, I could care too!”; “…really feel that it was taught in an effective and engaging way that helped me strengthen my analytical skills”; “Everything we did seemed important, and I never felt like a slide or point of topic was pointless.” Furthermore, the course’s success has fostered shifted attitudes in the English department from initial concern about undertaking large lecture courses to a recognition of the potential benefits of such classes. Clearly, though, it is not just the course structure, but Sizemore’s skillful and impressive execution that makes all the difference. The care she takes is evident to her students and has the desired effect of making a large lecture format an effective pedagogical tool. Says one student: “I loved how seriously you took teaching us, you learned everyone’s name even though it’s a huge class and took effort to know us. It didn’t feel like a huge class because of this.”
Award for Innovative Teaching
Ruth Brown joined the Department of Hispanic Studies in 2013. Since then, she has developed several new undergraduate courses for healthcare professionals. She has also dedicated class time and course work to service learning projects with students to foster real world experience and profound cultural competence. She makes a great effort to incorporate her students' professional goals into their coursework, thereby allowing them to show how "Spanish had impacted their lives." Her innovations in and out of the classroom give "students the opportunity to learn and use the language with real people in real situations."