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Six honored with Teaching Recognition Awards
Six honored with Teaching Recognition AwardsApril 24, 2006SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
On April 24, six Syracuse University faculty members will be honored as the 2006 recipients of the Teaching Recognition Awards, sponsored by SU’s Meredith Professors. They will be feted by the University community at a reception at 4 p.m. in the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center.
This year’s awardees are: Barbara Applebaum, associate professor of education in the School of Education; Chris R. Kyle, associate professor of history and the humanities in the Maxwell School of Citizen and Public Affairs and The College of Arts and Sciences; Leonard Lopoo, assistant professor of public administration in the Maxwell School and Arts and Sciences; Nicolas Scherzinger, assistant professor of music in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; Molly Voorheis, instructor in the Writing Program in Arts and Sciences; and Brenda J. Wrigley, associate professor of public relations in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
The program was established in 2001 through an expansion of the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship Program. The Meredith Professors themselves proposed that the Teaching Recognition Award program recognize excellence in teaching by non-tenured faculty and adjunct and part-time instructors. Recipients are selected for teaching innovation, effectiveness in communicating with students and the lasting value of courses.
To be eligible, candidates must have completed two years of service to the University and not yet received tenure. Each recipient is given $3,000 to further their professional development.
Barbara Applebaum is trained in philosophy of education and teaches both undergraduate and graduate-level students to not only understand this difficult coursework that involves ethical and diversity issues in education, but also works to insure an open dialogue for students to discuss and explore the sensitive topics that are part of this curriculum. By having her students read a broad range of texts and by teaching them the tools to analyze these materials through close reading and critical thinking, Applebaum is recognized for her ability to motivate students to develop their own opinions on these issues and encouraging them to listen to other’s opinions as given from different social locations.
Since joining SU in 2002, Applebaum’s scholarly interests have focused on the point where ethics, education and commitments to diversity converge. To most effectively teach students how to utilize these educational philosophies and theories in their future roles as educators, Applebaum develops innovative curricula for her classes using films, television, advertising and other forms of popular culture to make real the material and allow students to develop its analysis in a contemporary setting.
“Probably one criterion for a great teacher is that students who come to class well read and brilliant, as well as those who come and struggle with some of the material, both benefit from the professor and owe her a profound debt,” says Sari Knopp Biklen, Laura and Douglas Meredith Professor in the School of Education. “Both kinds of students have commented how much they learn from Barbara.”
Applebaum’s published papers have appeared in such journals as Educational Theory, Philosophy of Education, Educational Foundations and the Journal of Moral Education. She also has a special interest in teachers’ self-reflections on their own teaching process and has written topical articles on building trust in the classroom, and what teacher authority can mean for a feminist pedagogue.
“Teaching for me is an opportunity to inspire students to examine their assumptions about the social world they live in and to help them to be open to the possibility of different interpretations of social reality,” says Applebaum. “My objective is to provide students with a new lens through which to view their social world and to use this understanding to reflect upon their own teaching.”
Applebaum received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a doctorate in philosophy of education from the University of Toronto.
Chris R. Kyle
Bringing alive early modern European and English history with energy and getting students to both understand and question the decisions made centuries ago and how these actions affect their current lives is what Chris Kyle does best–both in teaching large lecture courses to undergraduates in Arts and Sciences and smaller, thematic history courses to graduate students in the Maxwell School.
Kyle joined SU in 2000 and holds research interests in print culture and the political and social history of Parliament in early modern Britain. Among the courses he teaches is Renaissance London, which involves intense reading and discussion on the history of London. As part of this course, Kyle leads a group of students through London during the University spring break so they may observe first-hand the history of the city they study.
“Chris’s success in the classroom stems from the generosity with which he approaches his work,” says Norman Kutcher, associate professor and chair of the history department at the Maxwell School. “For many faculty, Spring Break is a chance to relax and recharge one’s batteries. That Chris would be willing to spend it with his class speaks volumes of his commitment to students.”
Kyle spent several years teaching and studying in the U.K., which brings great depth to the courses he teaches. Many of his courses have grown in popularity among students who praise Kyle for delivering lectures that are both informative and interesting. Kyle was also educated at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, where he received his doctorate in history.
“My goal as a teacher is to illustrate to students that history is now and to demonstrate to them how powerful their informed decisions can be. It is about showing them, from an historical vantage point, the ways in which personal choices can become collective decisions, and how the complex legal and social machinery creates political and social choices at critical moments in European history,” says Kyle. “In teaching history, my classes explore those turning points at any one of which the course of history could have taken a completely different turn, and I encourage students to ask whether or not that alternative course would have been a better or a worse one and what the impact might have been many centuries later.”
Teaching graduate students the Maxwell’s School’s master of public administration (MPA) program and the master of arts in public administration (MAPA) program, Leonard Lopoo has become known for offering classes that require students to challenge themselves to achieve a depth of learning in areas with which many students are unfamiliar. Lopoo is recognized for having high expectations from his students, but also having the preparation and background in the subjects he teaches–statistics, program evaluation and child and family policy–to guide their understanding.
Since joining SU in 2003, Lopoo has worked to create classroom experiences that combine his rigorous pedagogical framework with his research in child and family social policy. In only his second year of teaching at Maxwell, he was named the recipient of the Department of Public Administration’s Birkhead/Burkhead Teaching Excellence Award and Professorship. Particularly in his teaching of the required statistics course in Maxwell–noted as frequently causing wide-spread student anxiety–Lopoo has been successful, through his dedication and commitment, in helping students to grasp complex material at a fundamental level of understanding.
“Many people have noted that required quantitative courses are rarely enthusiastically received by students, especially those students who often cannot appreciate the relevance of these courses,” says Jeffrey D. Straussman, associate dean and chair of the Department of Public Affairs. “But through Len’s approach to teaching, he is able to convince them otherwise with superior teaching skills and a passion for and dedication to the student learning experience.”
Lopoo received a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in public policy studies, also from the University of Chicago. His research, which has been published in several policy, family and economics journals, focuses on welfare and poverty issues as they relate to families, as well as the effects of incarceration on family relationships.
On his approach to teaching, Lopoo says that a successful teacher is like a good tour guide, who needs to be well-prepared for the journey. “It’s been my experience that most students implicitly give you their trust, and it must be protected,” says Lopoo. “It is this trust that makes them open to taking risks: it provides the opportunity for learning.”
Both an active composer and teacher, as a junior faculty member Nicolas Scherzinger has chaired the Composition and Theory Department at the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music and served as the director of the electronic and computer music studio since 2001. During this five-year time as chair, he has revamped and modernized the department’s digital music facility and developed the course structure to accompany these updates. But above all, Scherzinger is recognized for his effective teaching of music theory, composition and electronic music classes from first year through graduate levels.
“He has an enviable talent for making students feel both challenged and at ease in the learning environment,” says Daniel S. Godfrey, professor of music and Composer-in-Residence in the Setnor School. “As difficult and uncompromising as some of the coursework he teaches may be, students have repeatedly voiced enthusiasm and support for his work in the classroom.”
Scherzinger joined SU in 2001 and has additionally taught courses in ear training, orchestration, contemporary analysis, advanced tonal analysis and electronic and digital music and composition. He has studied composition with Roger Briggs, David Liptak, Augusta Read Thomas, Christopher Rouse, Allan W. Schindler and Joseph Schwantner, and brings those experiences and knowledge into the classroom. He also works to improve his teaching capabilities through educating himself on the latest technologies and software programs used in electronic and digital music, as well as attending conferences and lectures on the teaching of music.
“Teaching is about a passion and a curiosity for learning,” says Scherzinger. “Without passion, students quickly lose interest. Indeed, music is often associated with an inherent passion and inspiration, but if I don’t bring my own enthusiasm about a subject into the classroom, then I cannot expect excellence from my students.”
Scherzinger is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), as well as the American Music Center and the Society of Composers Inc. Scherzinger received a master’s degree and doctorate in composition from the Eastman School of Music. He has received awards from ASCAP, SOCAN, the Barlow Endowment, the Jerome Foundation, the Canada Council and the Eastman School of Music, and his works have been performed in the United States, Canada, China and Europe. In addition to his work as a composer of mostly acoustic works, Scherzinger performs as a saxophonist with live, interactive acoustic/computer music.
Since The Writing Program’s inception in 1986, Molly Voorheis has taught students to develop and hone their writing and is recognized for being an extremely versatile teacher–teaching first year through senior level courses in writing–and for being able to effectively teach and balance several different preparations in one semester, even while taking on ones that are new to her. And as a writing consultant to students, her schedule fills up quickly as students seek her guidance on how to improve their writing.
Additionally, Voorheis has provided the framework for her students to share their writing talents with younger students in the Syracuse community. Through a connection that Voorheis helped develop with Levy Middle School in Syracuse, her introductory writing students worked with young people at Levy to help them become stronger writers at an early age. This experience also helped her students understand the benefits and importance of community engagement. As an extension of the success of this experience, Voorheis continues to work with Levy administrators in an effort to create a Writing Center at the middle school, which would be staffed by SU students and serve both students and adult learners in the community.
“Molly conveys her passion for civic engagement and gets her students interested in writing as citizens to improve their communities, their workplaces and their environments,” says Carol Lipson, chair and director of The Writing Program. “She pushes The Writing Program to further its commitments to the Syracuse University community surrounding the University.”
Voorheis has also worked to develop new courses in The Writing Program that allow students to improve their writing for purposes other than academic assignments. As a result of these efforts, students can now enroll in upper-division courses such as Civic Writing that help with writing for different audiences, such as non-profit and government agencies.
“Writing is a social act; it is meaningful when writers have something to say to readers,” says Voorheis. “As a writing instructor, I want to make that social relationship real for students via a strong connection to a community of readers.”
Voorheis has been a writing instructor at the University since 1983. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s degree in English from SU.
Brenda J. Wrigley
Noted for her extensive professional experience, strong research agenda and stellar teaching ability, all of which contribute to the classroom experience she offers students, Brenda Wrigley teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations management and organizational public relations at the Newhouse School.
Wrigley has 21 years in the professional world of corporate public relations, broadcast journalism and advertising, including experience as an account executive and sales manager in both radio and television, and seven years as a corporate marketing communications manager. This experience allows her students the benefit of hearing first-hand advice on career decisions in public relations, practical insight into the common demands made by clients and employers in the PR field and real-life examples of management and moral dilemmas–and strategies for solutions–that have emerged in communications and public relations. In addition to her professional experience, Wrigley is able to provide her students with insight into the contemporary research areas of gender and diversity in public relations, public relations ethics and crisis communications as it relates to various types of organizations.
“Brenda has a passion and talent for research, but instead of compartmentalizing that work and reserving it for conferences and peer-reviewed journals, she draws upon it to inform her courses, her syllabi and her lectures,” says Maria P. Russell, professor of public relations at the Newhouse School. “She helps students see the connection between the value of academic research and the jobs they will eventually take as practitioners.” Wrigley also teaches graduate courses in the executive master’s program in communications management, which Russell directs. “Brenda has the ability to take students who have been away from the classroom for many years–who are also balancing full-time jobs in addition to their coursework–and help them grow as researchers and critical analysts of contemporary public relations practices.”
Wrigley’s research has been presented at a number of conferences, including the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and has been published in several leading journals.
Each year, she takes Newhouse students to New York City for a “benchmarking” trip to meet with public relations professionals working in a variety of settings to help students stay updated on the latest practices and ideas in the field. “I think I have one of the best jobs in the world, being able to impact the lives of young people in significant and lasting ways,” says Wrigley. “I help prepare them for professional careers, inspire them to do their best work and challenge them to explore issues they might otherwise miss during their college experience.”
Wrigley holds an APR (Accredited in Public Relations) designation from the PRSA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri/Columbia, and a master’s degree in public relations and doctorate in mass communications from the Newhouse School.