2016 Teaching Award Winners


At its September 1993 meeting, the Board of Governors adopted a report on Tenure and Teaching in the University of North Carolina. The report, prepared jointly by the Board's Committee on Personnel and Tenure and its Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs, reaffirmed the Board's insistence that teaching is the primary responsibility of each of the 17 constituent institutions of the University. To underscore the importance of teaching and to encourage, identify, recognize, reward, and support good teaching within the University, the Board adopted a set of six specific recommendations, including the following:

That the Board of Governors create annual systemwide teaching awards with monetary stipends which are designated "Board of Governors Awards for Excellence in Teaching."

Each recipient is honored at their respective campus Spring commencement ceremony by a member of the Board of Governors and receives a $12,500 stipend and a bronze medallion.


2016 Teaching Award Winners

Lisa Adkins Runner | Appalachian State University

Dr. Lisa Adkins Runner is presently an Associate Professor of Music Education in the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University. She joined the Hayes School of Music as an adjunct faculty member in August of 2000 and began work as Assistant Professor of Music Education in August of 2006.

Visitors to Dr. Runner’s classes observe students listening, singing, moving, playing musical instruments and creating their own compositions. Students collaborate with partners, work in small groups, and participate in hands-on activities requiring analysis and reflection. Presentation of information and skill development in every class proceeds from the simple to complex, each activity providing a strong foundation for subsequent, more complicated assignments. Students are involved in relevant discussions and sample activities before completing individual or small group projects without instructor assistance. A former student, now a high school teacher, reflected “I still hold tightly to a quote she included in her course syllabus: “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.” Dr. Runner does this incredibly well; she goes beyond telling her students information or even showing them how to teach. She involves students every single day in activities, in discussions, in every process of learning, and the things she teaches stay with them.”

Communicating effectively with individuals from all walks of life undergirds Dr. Runner’s teaching and work as a club sponsor; knowing her students is first priority as conversations both inside and outside of the classroom help to create a learning community where it’s safe to take risks. One former student observed, “Her classroom truly felt like a comfortable place where we could develop creative compositions and try novel instrumental arrangements, all without the fear of “failure” or rejection.” Another reflected, “She showed me my strengths, but more importantly, she helped me to see the areas where I needed to grow, and she always did it in a way that was positive and nurturing. I think that is one of Dr. Runner’s most unique traits; she helps you to see the positive in everything.”

A colleague summarized Dr. Runner’s work at Appalachian State University saying, “Dr. Runner's instruction is marked by empathy and compassion for students, a deeply held commitment to teaching, and a dedication to excellence. When commenting on her work, Dr. Runner frequently remarks, "I can't imagine doing anything else." This belief is affirmed in her classroom daily as her demeanor and excellence provide evidence she has indeed found her life calling in teaching. This passion for and contentment with life work is evident to students and they freely reflect back to her and others they respect and love she offers them. I have heard many students unabashedly remark that Dr. Runner is the best teacher they have ever had . . . . "

Dr. Runner received the Bachelor’s of Arts in Music from Milligan College, the Master of Arts in Media Services from East Tennessee State University, and the Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Appalachian State University.

Richard Williams | East Carolina University

Dr. Richard Williams is Associate Professor of Recreation Therapy in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in the College of Health and Human Performance at East Carolina University.  He is a leader in his discipline, serving as the 2015 President-Elect of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists and of the North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association.  His scholarship includes work on therapy services for individuals with spinal cord injury, ethical practices in recreational therapy, and the role of the recreational therapist in public policy.  During his fifteen years at East Carolina University, he has led in curriculum development and delivery, developed a graduate teaching assistant seminar, and mentored students and colleagues in the use of instructional technologies.

“Good teachers,” Dr. Williams says, “can change the world in subtle yet powerful ways. When I teach the graduate student teaching seminar, I have the honor and humbling responsibility of providing guidance to novice college teachers.  Working with these students has taught me that not all good teaching happens exactly the same way.”  Dr. Williams believes that teachers have to be passionate.  “Teaching my students not only lends meaning to my life, but provides me with an opportunity to improve the world.  I can only light a fire in my students if there is a fire burning in me.”   Dr. Williams enjoys teaching large classes saying, “I like the challenge of keeping a big group of students engaged.”

Dr. Williams believes in using a variety of techniques both in and outside the class.  In a recent course, for example, his students helped facilitate an adaptive waterski clinic for people with physical disabilities.  He believes it is necessary to create an open and social classroom environment where trust and honesty foster greater learning.  Class should be fun, organized, and fair.  Good teaching is a debt owed to students and to the academy.  He says, “I am in a position of honor and privilege that I will not squander.  I feel incredibly lucky to have the best job in the world. “

His chair described Dr. Williams as “a terrific faculty member, who contributes greatly to all aspects of the university experience, and is particularly talented in the classroom.”  A colleague praised him as a mentor to younger faculty, graduate students, and seasoned faculty: “He gives of himself and raises the performance of others.”  A former student, now a university professor, said, “[Dr. Williams’s] amazingly effective, yet seemingly effortless, teaching style intrigues students and forces them to grasp the material covered in class, as well as alternative perspectives.”  A former student who is now a military officer wrote, “[Dr. Williams’s] passion for teaching has instilled a spirit of lifelong learning within his students which is unmatched.  He was unequivocally [my] most inspiring professor.”  

His dean summarized, “Dr. Williams teaches with zeal and a passion for his subject matter.  He is known as a very innovative and caring teacher. . . . He is always willing to provide extra assistance and personal attention to students as they learn how to understand, assess, and provide appropriate care for their clients and/or patients.” 

Dr. Williams earned the BA in Literature from the University of Georgia, the BS in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis on Recreation Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the MS and EdD in Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Georgia.

Ngozi Oriaku | Elizabeth City State University

Dr. Ngozi Oriaku is a tenured professor in the Department of Business and Economics where she teaches undergraduate courses in Management, International Business, and Human Resource Management.  She joined Elizabeth City State University in 1988.   With nearly thirty years of teaching experience, Dr. Oriaku is very passionate about finding the most effective ways of motivating and sustaining intellectual growth and promoting active learning among the students that register for her classes. She is committed to developing new teaching methodologies and incorporating state of art technologies to ensure that every student can learn and understand course materials.   The creative activities in her classroom are well-known among her students.  A typical class might be found in team structure, lecture series structure, or project presentation structure. She enhances her teaching styles with classroom discussion forums and the use of Blackboard forum management.  For Dr. Oriaku, her role as educator is about opening hearts and minds, and changing lives for all those involved in the process.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Oriaku has served and continues to serve the University in its academic mission and growth. She has been actively involved in the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation of academic programs, which has reshaped and positioned the Department of Business and Economics and its graduates to be absolutely competitive in today’s marketplace. Professor Oriaku has also served extensively in departmental and university committees, and in community outreach projects.  She has served as Chairperson of the Department of Marketing and Management and Interim Dean of the School of Business and Economics.  In addition to advising students, she has also mentored student organizations such as Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) and the UNC Social Entrepreneurship Team for regional and national competitions with several trophies for first, second, or companionship awards.

With her focus on International Business, Dr. Oriaku has participated in faculty development activities in several countries including Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand. She has conducted professional presentations in many national and international conferences. Her recent research publications focus on the challenges of small businesses in developing countries, the effect of foreign direct investment in developing countries, the impact of podcasts in student learning outcomes, and instructional technologies in classroom.

Dr. Oriaku earned a PhD in International Affairs and Development from Clark Atlanta University, an MS in Business Management from Norfolk State University and a BS in Business Administration from the University of District of Columbia in Washington, DC.

Heather M. Griffiths | Fayetteville State University

Dr. Heather M. Griffiths, an Associate Professor of Sociology, has taught at Fayetteville State University for nine years.  During this time, she taught classes in the undergraduate program, the graduate program, the Sociology department’s online degree completion program, and the Cumberland International Early College High School. 

She teaches Sociology using techniques that encourage active learning, such as debating contemporary issues like reproductive rights, the Freddie Gray case, and the global response to the Syrian Civil War.  She challenges her students to understand the interplay of race, sex, gender, and class by guiding them through discussions that focus on the complexity of multiple perspectives and the lack of easy or simplistic answers to social problems.   In 2010, she developed a lower-level Sociology course called The Global Society. This now very popular course introduces students to pressing worldwide issues, equips them to live and work in a globally interdependent world, and encourages them to become responsible global citizens by recognizing their ethic and social responsibilities.    

Her students appreciate her hard-work in the classroom.  In one letter of support, a student wrote that, “Her class discussions were thought provoking and forced students to think outside of the box on various social issues and problems.  She often interrupted her lecture to ask questions about current and past events, and she utilized popular media and culture to discuss difficult course concepts.  This made learning in her class interesting and relevant.”     

Dr. Griffiths is also passionate about mentoring students, such as Ms. Chaniqua Simpson.  Simpson, after graduating with her BA, continued with her studies in a PhD program at North Carolina State University. In her letter of support, Ms. Simpson wrote that “Not only is Dr. Griffiths a great teacher…she actually reached out to me and suggested that I participate in the first cohort of the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program at Fayetteville State University. As my mentor, Dr. Griffiths taught me the basics of social science research and helped to develop and hone my skills as a social scientist.”

Some of the undergraduate students she mentored continued to work with her as graduate students in the Department of Sociology’s Master’s Program.  For example, Ms. Emily Shurtleff, a former undergraduate student preparing to graduate with her Master’s degree this year, wrote that “I decided to take on the daunting task of conducting research and presenting it at the Social and Behavioral Science Conference Graduate Paper Competition…In order to meet my deadline [Dr. Griffiths] spent many hours over our holiday break, editing and reediting work, pushing me to recognize my potential.  As a result of her mentoring, I received second place at the conference.”   

Dr. Griffiths holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.  She earned her Master’s degree from the University of Delaware in 2003, and her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Delaware in 2007.  In 2006, she began teaching at Fayetteville State University and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013.

Dr. Salil S. Desai | North Carolina A&T State University

Dr. Salil S. Desai is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering.  He directs the Integrated Nano & Bio Manufacturing Laboratory and has been a faculty member at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University since 2004.  Dr. Desai specializes in the areas of multiscale-multiphysics modeling, direct-write technologies, nanoimprint lithography, and combinatorial additive manufacturing with applications in biomedical implants, semiconductor electronics and energy devices.

Dr. Desai believes that education is the mission of “igniting the spirit of inquiry to transcend knowledge that benefits humankind.”  As an engineering educator, he promotes students' ability to think analytically and independently using real-life case studies within a collaborative learning environment.  He implements a holistic education plan using a variety of pedagogical and assessment strategies that prepares students for life beyond the classroom.  Dr. Desai has been instrumental in securing educational/research infrastructure and funding over $5 million from several agencies including the NSF, DoD, DoE and private industry for developing innovative curricula in the area of advanced manufacturing.  

Dr. Desai’s genuine passion for student learning and engineering mentorship is aptly captured by one of his students: “Undoubtedly, Dr. Desai is one of the most introspective, empathetic, and informative instructors that I have worked with throughout my college career, both undergraduate and doctoral.”  Another student notes: “Dr. Desai stresses the impact that engineers have on society and how engineering principles and ethics can be applied to life. He is a role model for any profession.” His Department Chairperson, Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson, echoes this theme: “Dr. Desai’s targeted and sustained mentoring of African American students via different programs has led to a steady pipeline of minority engineers who have gone on to careers in industry, academia and national laboratories.” Over the years he has expanded his teaching role beyond the university to disseminate nano-bio technology concepts and ideas to K-12 students and the general public via several outreach programs, including science shows, live exhibit demonstrations and podcasts for the Natural Science Center of Greensboro.

In addition to being recognized for teaching excellence, Dr. Desai has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and Outstanding Young Investigator Awards from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the American Society of Engineering Educators.  Dr. Desai is also the recipient of the Department of Defense and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Young Faculty Awards.  Dr. Desai serves as the faculty advisor for the Alpha Pi Mu honor society where he engages students in peer mentoring, community service and volunteer activities.  He was chosen for the Triad’s 40 Leaders under 40 Award and the UPS Minority Advancement Award for establishing advanced manufacturing educational programs within the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina.

Dr. Desai received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Mumbai in India, MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Peggy P. Whiting | North Carolina Central University

Dr. Peggy P. Whiting, Professor and Coordinator of the Counselor Education Program within the Department of Allied Professions, joined the faculty of North Carolina Central University in 2006. Dr. Whiting states that she views teaching as a privilege, a responsibility, and a calling – an identity she lives with enormous humility. Her teaching style is based upon “the kind of storytelling that rouses the heart and engages motivation for learning.” Dr. Whiting believes that “narratives instruct and give concrete illustrations of the course material given the human story has both diverse and universal components.” Students say that her stories help them own and live the material and construct professional identity. They describe her as possessing “wisdom, grace, passion, and inspiration.”

Dr. Whiting believes that student success is linked to student engagement, higher order learning and transformational leadership. Her philosophy of teaching has “the intention of building a community of interactive learners through structure, novelty, passion, safety, and memorable information processing experiences.” She values research-based knowledge, rapport, rigor, relevant learning, and reflective thinking. For Dr. Whiting, teaching is linked to influential mentoring and the creation of “an educational holding environment balancing encouragement, support, praise, feedback, challenge, tolerance, and reliability.” She views herself as a teacher who expects for students to instruct and impact her and describes herself as “both a creator and a beneficiary when learning occurs.” Dr. Whiting welcomes technological advances as “methods for bridging knowledge into usefulness for diverse learning styles.” 

Under her leadership as Coordinator of Counselor Education, North Carolina Central University received the 2015 Outstanding Master’s Counselor Education Program Award given by the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, a 14 state region. North Carolina Central University was highlighted for the program’s extensive use of technology, absolute commitment to social and cultural diversity, and development of the nation’s first online career counseling program nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs. Dr. Whiting is the 2013 recipient of the North Carolina Outstanding Tenured Professor Award given by the North Carolina Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. A colleague said, “Dr. Whiting mentors faculty through quiet, patient actions.”

Dr. Whiting is currently serving as an elected member of the Board of Directors for the international Association for Death Education and Counseling and has consistently researched and published in the areas of grief, crisis, and trauma. She is assisting in the association’s draft of the scope of the body of knowledge required for certification in thanatology globally. Dr. Whiting has initiated some of the first graduate counseling courses in thanatology during her teaching career and North Carolina Central University presently has two such classes. She sees the generation of new knowledge as integral to graduate education. Dr. Whiting maintains a clinical private practice as a grief counselor and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor.

Dr. Whiting earned her EdD in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University. She received her MEd in Counseling and BA in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of West Georgia.

Jeffrey A. Joines | North Carolina State University

Dr. Jeffrey A. Joines, Associate Professor and Associate Department Head of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, joined the faculty of North Carolina State University in 2000. 

Dr. Joines, honored in 2012 as an NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, is passionate about teaching and creating the best environments to foster student learning. His teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that a teacher must have passion for his or her subject and must create active learning environments emphasizing “real-world” experiences that will challenge students to reach new levels of success.

Armed with an unfailing enthusiasm for his subject matter and the faith that students, when properly motivated, will embrace the opportunity to learn and engage with each other, Dr. Joines provides students the freedom to collaboratively test their creative skills to solve real-world problems. To facilitate his students’ success, Dr. Joines not only has designed new classes that have become a cornerstone of the textiles engineering curriculum, but also has implemented a new classroom design with reconfigurable pie-shaped desks and computer monitors on all sides, allowing faculty and students to more easily engage with each other. 

It is not surprising, given this commitment to his students that Dr. Joines continues to engage with and encourage students beyond the classroom and after graduation. As just one example, a former student thanked Dr. Joines for helping him to master supply chain modeling and problem-solving, and that the company with whom he had a summer internship considered him a “superstar,” offered him a permanent position. 

Dr. Jon Rust, colleague and former Head of the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science, praises Dr. Joines as “exceptionally gifted in his ability to lead effective learning in the classroom” and for his “keen sense of interest in demonstrating through verifiable assessment practices what really works best for students’ long-term professional development.” A recent survey of Textile Engineering alumni attests to Dr. Joines’ impact beyond the classroom. Ninety-five percent of respondents stated that Computer-Based Modeling for Engineers (TE/ISE 110) a course he co-created with College of Engineering colleague Dr. Steve Roberts, made a significant difference in their careers.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate classes, mentoring students and designing courses, Dr. Joines believes that serving on teaching-related committees is essential for realizing continuous improvement in curricula and in student learning outcomes. For the past three years, he chaired NC State’s Evaluation of Teaching Committee. This group developed a template to ensure more consistency in peer reviews of teaching and created educational materials for all faculty on the use of mid-semester student evaluations as a way to enhance teaching practices. Dr. Joines currently serves on the university-wide Council of Undergraduate Education and chairs the course and curriculum committee of the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science. 

Dr. Joines earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Industrial Engineering (1990), a MS in Industrial Engineering (1993) and a PhD in Industrial Engineering (1996), all from North Carolina State University.

Sally Wasileski | UNC Asheville

Dr. Sally Wasileski, Associate Professor of Chemistry, describes teaching as her "career, hobby, and passion" and evidence of this deep commitment to student learning is abundantly clear. During her 11 years in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina Asheville, Dr. Wasileski has proved herself as a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher who thoughtfully organizes her courses and out-of-class activities to maximize student learning.

In the classroom, Dr. Wasileski offers students a dynamic pedagogy, a commitment to civic engagement, and a contagious enthusiasm for chemistry. She is committed to the learning of all students, whether they be chemistry majors or non-science majors. One of Dr. Wasileski's signature courses is Food of Chemistry, in which students learn the essential chemistry curriculum through an innovative approach that utilizes food and cooking in all course demonstrations and labs. Students conduct experiments with real world consequences such as measuring the sodium content of foods served on campus, thus learning chemistry in a way that is exceptionally more accessible than a traditional lab setting. One of Dr. Wasileski's students from this class commented that she "has a gift when it comes to explaining complex ideas so everyone can understandwhile another noted that she "creates a fun learning environment" and "makes me eager to learn."

Dr. Wasileski's commitment to student learning also extends to students outside of chemistry through her work on curricular developments that enhance thinterdisciplinary liberal arts mission at UNC Asheville. As founding member of a faculty collective teaching students about food from several disciplinary perspectives, she spearheaded efforts to craft projects where students from multiple courses learn together and teach each other the content of their respective courses. Each yeardozens of students who have never stepped foot in a chemistry classroom thus learn chemistry due to Professor Wasileski's commitment to making science accessible for everyone.

Dr. Wasileski's students also benefit from her commitment to undergraduate researchThe rigorous research opportunities she provides her students include communitybased projects that stretch the impact of her teaching into the larger Asheville community.

Dr. Wasileski directs the Chemistry Scholars program, a National Science Foundation-funded program that provides scholarships for students interested in Chemistry. Professor Wasileski is Primary Investigator on this project which has yielded a more than 170% increase in the number of Chemistry majors since its inception in 2011

Professor Wasileski mentors high school students and regularly conducts Chemistry demonstrations to school and community groups, thus amplifying the impact of her teaching to those in the broader Asheville area.

Dr. Wasileski has previously been recognized as winner of the University of North Carolina Asheville's Award for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences and as a Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities Leadership FellowWith several colleagues, she was awarded the William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science for her work integrating STEM and nonSTEM courses.

Dr. Wasileski earned a PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University and a BS with Honors in Chemistry from Juniata College.

Michael T. Crimmins | UNC-Chapel Hill

Professor Crimmins has made exceptional contributions to teaching throughout his 34-year career at UNC-Chapel Hill, and his current activities in chemistry and around campus are overwhelming in their breadth and impact. He is a beloved instructor in both large and small class settings, as well as in both graduate and undergraduate courses – especially impressive since he teaches the more typically dreaded organic chemistry course.

Dr. Crimmins utilizes numerous multimedia innovations and new educational methods in the classroom, and his passion for chemical content and his inspirational teaching methods have motivated students to achieve mastery levels beyond their wildest expectations. He consistently scores enviable marks in student reviews while maintaining commendable standards of excellence. Furthermore he has provided exceptional leadership in the implementation of innovative educational methods for the entire College of Arts and Sciences. Throughout his career Dr. Crimmins has excelled as a graduate mentor and classroom instructor, but recently has made extraordinary strides in educational innovation.

Students attest to the learning environment created by Dr. Crimmins, especially for courses that cause most students fear and anxiety: ““This previously intimidating course made me shake in my boots but I would retake this class with this teacher 100 times over” and “I have really enjoyed this class and am very glad that my fear of taking organic chemistry turned into a positive, successful experience”. Another student notes: “Dr. Crimmins has cultivated an environment that is extremely conducive to learning and is the most knowledgeable and caring professor. He is an expert at chemistry, but also at teaching.” His impact is inspirational with quotes such as “I wish that Dr. Crimmins taught every single class at UNC; if he did, I would probably become a chemistry professor”. Finally, a student quote, in full CAPS ““EXCELLENT PROFESSOR. NORMAL DUDE (which is weird for the chem dept). WOULD RECOMMEND FOR A RAISE, PROMOTION, CLONING”.

During peer observations, you can see his passion for teaching and the students. He chats with students before class and even sat on the steps besides students groups as he helped walk them through the problems posed during class. He makes student think by showing them the process and using the process in a variety of formats. Students were engaged - no laptops present and a stream of “clicker” questions. A room of 200+ students was full of noise talking about about organic chemistry. 

For his passion, commitment to students, consistently high standards coupled with efforts to help students achieve those standards, innovation and support of University-wide support of teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michael Crimmins awarded the 2016 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Stanley Schneider | UNC Charlotte

As a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Stanley Schneider wants to change the way students think about and live on this earth.  “I want them to experience awe and a sense of privilege and responsibility for living on this planet.”  Professor Schneider’s passion for animal behavior, social insects (especially honey bees), and the evolution of social behavior is infectious and his students thrive under his guidance.  

According to Professor Schneider, teaching is a social interaction.  It is the contagious enthusiasm of the teacher that captures students’ imagination and helps them dream. Excellent teachers are rigorous, fair, and demonstrate respect for students by holding them to high standards of performance by providing clear, organized, and relevant lectures.  Importantly, Dr. Schneider firmly believes that active participation by students in the learning process is central to inquiry-based learning.  To this end, his living legacy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is his excellence in integrating his teaching and research in the classroom.  For Professor Schneider, exposure to the process of conducting research is the primary means by which students learn how new information is generated and synthesized into an existing body of knowledge. Since joining the University of North Carolina at Charlotte faculty in 1985, Dr. Schneider has worked with approximately 140 graduate and undergraduate students through individualized instruction, many of whom have gone on to become productive biologists, teachers, researchers, and entrepreneurs.  

Because of his research on honey bees, Professor Schneider frequently is invited to give talks to beekeeping associations, gardening clubs, and birding clubs. Given the worldwide decline of pollinators, he sees these talks as one of the most important public services he can provide. His years of teaching undergraduates have taught him how to engage and motivate audiences and, therefore his public speaking is a direct consequence of his teaching experience. 

Throughout his career, as principle investigator or co-principle investigator, Dr. Schneider has been awarded five major grants totaling more than $1 million dedicated to support undergraduate student research participation and training. He was a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences and attended the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Institute for Scientific Teaching. Because of his outstanding ability to integrate teaching and research, 

Professor Schneider was inaugural recipient of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Award for the Integration of Undergraduate Teaching and Research in 2014.

Professor Schneider earned his PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis.  He earned an MS in Zoology and BS in Education from Southwest Texas State University and has been a faculty member since 1985.

Gregory Price Grieve | UNC Greensboro

In his thirteen years, Professor Gregory Grieve has made an indelible mark in teaching, research, and service at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Professor Grieve is a highly productive and respected researcher, a former Lloyds’s International Honors College fellow (2008) and was selected as a Lloyds’s International Honors College Chancellor’s fellow (2015). Religion is a challenging subject to teach. Discussions and discourse of religion are usually avoided in polite company, and yet, religion remains a topic of utmost importance in modern society. It is a topic that both binds and divides people; it is the source of conflict, yet it is a reason for peace. Professor Grieve’s goal is to bring a student to a level of understanding from Ricoeur’s first naïveté, ‘the practice of one’s religion’, to Ricoeur’s second naïveté, ‘the critical evaluation and discussion of religion as a scholarly topic in the context of society and history’. His goal is not to turn people away from religion, but to have students think more deeply about their own beliefs and understand the implications that other faith systems have on the world around them. Because of this, his students are better prepared to navigate an ever growing and complex multicultural world. 

In each and every course, Professor Grieve merges humor, enthusiasm and scholarship into his teaching as he constantly emphasizes critical thinking which “develops their power to perceive the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves. Through critically thinking about religion, media, and popular culture students come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation.” Professor Grieve is a leader in the application of digital technologies to religion studies. Professor Grieve has embraced the potential that social media and gaming technology have in facilitating a student’s exploration of new perspectives on religion. In his courses popular video games, such as Shyrim, have become powerful tools for a technology savvy generation to develop their critical thinking skills and place religion and religious discourse into their own ethos. “Why think, write and create digital products about religion media and popular culture? While not always easy to think about critically, its study helps students map contemporary life. It allows them to understand what cultural texts and ideas build our society, and aids in seeing the forces that threaten, as well as those that enable responsible human communities.” 

Professor Grieve received his B.A. in Media Studies, summa cum laude, from San Francisco State (1987); his Master’s degrees in General Studies of Humanities (1993) and in the History of Religions in (1994) from the University of Chicago, and his doctoral degree in the History of Religions from the same institution in 2002. He joined the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as an Assistant Professor in 2002 and was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2008 and is Department Head of Religious Studies. Professor Grieve also is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Religion and Digital Games. 

Steven Bourquin | UNC Pembroke

On behalf of the Faculty Awards Committee at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, it gives me great pleasure to submit our choice for the 2016 Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, Dr. Steven Bourquin. In the twelve years that Professor Bourquin been at UNCP, he has established a reputation for teaching mathematics to our students unmatched by any other faculty member. The Committee believes that there is no other  faculty member more deserving of this award on the campus than Dr. Bourquin. He has received the UNCP Outstanding Teaching Award twice since assuming his position in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.  

Dr. Bourquin has taught a wide range of courses in mathematics at UNCP. His teaching philosophy aims at awakening what he believes is a natural desire for the “mathematical perspective” in all students.  This philosophy is demonstrated in a natural ability to stimulate interest in math especially statistics in the classroom. He succeeds in rendering the abstract conceptual nature of statistical methods easily understandable for undergraduate students. His successes, therefore, are heightened by the fact that large numbers of UNCP students are among the first in their families to attend college. 

His courses employ many hands on examples to provide the skills to solve problems in the statistics course that I observed. If you walk by his classes, you are likely to hear laughter coming out of the room. According to Dr. Bourquin’s teaching philosophy, all of the concepts taught in his courses center on the idea that “mathematics is a participation sport.” Therefore, Dr. Bourquin encourages generous interaction and discussion among students, and he uses the entire class when teaching. In his words, he tries to “exceed their needs in the process of learning mathematics.” His dissertation centered on math anxiety and math self-efficacy in performance. His findings indicated the need to reduce math anxiety and empower students by increasing their math self-efficacy to augment math performance. And that is what he does in the classroom.

Student response to Dr. Bourquin’s teaching has no limits in their amount praise. A common refrain from students is that,  “Dr. Bourquin made me understand math,” or “Dr. Bourquin is a gifted mathematics teacher.” Much of his success in teaching can be attributed to his beguiling personality, and pedagogical methods, which center on leading students to problem solving success by way of example. When reading his portfolio, it was very common for students to heap praise on Dr. Bourquin in terms of his ability to have them overcome a “math anxiety” or a “math phobia” by instilling a confidence in their skill in the subject. Clearly his philosophy of teaching is reflected in the outcomes among his students.

Dr. Bourquin’s work in the classroom extends beyond the confines of UNCP. His students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, work in local schools as teachers. He has indirect roots in this predominantly rural Native American community through the service and work his students are doing to cultivate new generations of college students; something our current Chancellor, Robin Cummings has placed as one of the top priorities for his administration. Dr. Bourquin is carrying out the goal of the Chancellor to make UNCP a national leader in American Indian scholarship, teaching and research in preparing UNCP students for the future.

Dr. Bourquin has over 25 years of teaching experience in higher education. He received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Master of Science in Mathematics, and Doctor of Philosophy in Administration in Higher Education from Ohio University. Professor Bourquin has been in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science since 2003. He has been the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science since 2007. 

Sridhar Varadarajan | UNC Wilmington

The University of North Carolina Wilmington’s nominee for the 2016 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is Sridhar Varadarajan, Associate Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Dr. Varadarajan joined the faculty in 2003 and teaches a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The recipient of a UNCW Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, a Distinguished Teaching Professorship Award, and a Discere Aude mentoring Award, Dr. Varadarajan is a gifted teacher, scholar, and mentor.  But teaching was not the career he intended until his post-doctoral advisors and his wife advised him to consider it.  After teaching his first class at UNCW he “knew that [he] had made the best decision of [his] career.”  Over twelve years later he states: “My excitement and enthusiasm for my interactions with students has only grown over these years.  I believe that I am making more of a difference now than I ever could have if I had followed my initial ambition to work in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Of his approach to teaching he writes: “Inspire! This single word has been my guiding principle for all that I do with students. . . .  It is the goal that gets me excited at the beginning of each semester. It is the yardstick by which I evaluate my performance at the end of each semester: How many students did I inspire this semester? How many students did I convince to reach higher, and achieve more than they thought was possible?”

His success is undeniable.  All past master’s graduates from his laboratory are either currently pursuing PhD degrees at prestigious institutions, or are gainfully employed in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry.  The majority of undergraduate students who worked in his laboratory (over 30, including 4 African-American students, and 19 women) are currently working in the chemical industry, or went on to graduate, medical, dental, or pharmacy school. Two are teachers.

A former student writes:  “Dr. Varadarajan has a gift for making complex teaching material understandable.  He is dedicated to seeing his students succeed and always makes time to discuss subject matter issues even outside of office hours.  Working in his lab as an undergrad student was one of the best experiences in my life.”  Another, currently pursuing a PhD in pharmaceutical science, writes:  “He has taught me life-long lessons, not just about education, but also about family and responsibilities, about building relationships that last, as well as building a team with the same goals, no matter their personal differences.”  

A colleague writes:  “The students flock to his courses and love his lectures. This is the more remarkable as organic chemistry is usually among the courses most dreaded by the students at the outset.”  Another writes that he “has a gift for getting students excited about research, working hard and sharing their excitement and knowledge with others.”

Dr. Varadarajan earned a BS in chemistry at Bombay University, a BS in chemical technology at Bombay University and a PhD in physical organic chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University.

Dale M. Pollock | UNC School of the Arts

Mr. Dale M. Pollock serves as Associate Professor in the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he has served on the faculty since 2006. He also is the inaugural recipient of the Dale M. Pollock Endowed Chair, and holds the position of Distinguished Scholar. Prior to joining the faculty, Mr. Pollock was Dean of the School of Filmmaking for seven years. 

In his Philosophy of Teaching Statement, Mr. Pollock describes his current role as a faculty member as “…the most satisfying and gratifying of my near-50 –year career.” He brings a phenomenal breadth and depth of information to the classroom, and strives to give his students examples of effective moviemaking from the past 120 years, in order to “…inspire them to reach higher in their own content creation in the 21st century.” 

Mr. Pollock’s pedagogical approach has clearly resonated with his students. One nominator spoke to this, stating that “Mr. Pollock is a passionate teacher with a vast amount of experience and knowledge. He engaged sophisticated class discussions that opened students’ eyes to successful filmmaking techniques.” Mr. Pollock also commits substantial time to one-on-one mentorship of students, far beyond what is simply customary or required. A student spoke of the impact this approach has had on their development. “In my first year of college, I remember being overwhelmed and constantly doubting my actions. Mr. Pollock approached me and said that if I ever needed help with anything, I could stop by his office. Without thinking of it twice, I met with him, and it became a weekly meeting that has lasted three years.” 

Colleagues on the faculty hold Mr. Pollock in the highest regard. One individual wrote a compelling letter of nomination touching on just a few of the reasons why this is the case. “Mr. Pollock is an invaluable resource, and he is unfailingly generous with his time, his support, and his feedback. I have had him as a guest in my courses on multiple occasions, as have many of my colleagues. I am continually impressed with his energy, his enthusiasm, and his extensive knowledge.” 

Mr. Pollock is the author of Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, currently in its fourth printing, with over 100,000 copies sold. He has had articles published in Esquire, GQ, People, Life, and Rolling Stone. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Producers’ Branch, the Producers’ Guild of America, the Writers’ Guild of America, and the Governor’s Task Force on Film. Prior to joining the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Mr. Pollock was Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Producing Program at the American Film Institute. 

Mr. Pollock holds an MS in Communications from San Jose State University and a BA in Anthropology from Brandeis University. He also completed the Management Development Program in the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2004. 

Carmen Huffman | Western Carolina University

Dr. Carmen Huffman, Western Carolina University’s 2016 winner of the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, is associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences. Since joining the faculty in 2005, Dr. Huffman has taught chemistry, specifically physical chemistry classes. Dr. Huffman has receive numerous grants during her time at Western Carolina. Her focus has been on grants that enhance the undergraduate research experience.

Dr. Huffman’s teaching philosophy seeks to prepare students by emphasizing germane skills that cross disciplinary boundaries. In addition to teaching fundamental chemistry concepts, Dr. Huffman’s teaching goals include the following: developing independent thinkers with creative problemsolving skills and cultivating future professionals with transferable skills. She defines these skills as important abilities that transcend chemistry and equip students for the professional world. At Western Carolina Dr. Huffman has transformed her instruction by incorporating inquirybased methods to create engaging and interactive learning environments. Endofsemester student comments often mention how Dr. Huffman has allowed them to work with and apply content in new, engaging ways. Her classes use POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) as a way for groups to investigate challenging real world questions. In endofsemester evaluations students rave about the POGIL activities calling them challenging yet rewarding. One peer observer revealed how “Dr. Huffman discovered this approach by turning the practice on herself, i.e. through a process of guided inquiry about what was working… in her classroom. The resulting approach is fairly radical…[h]er students do not just learn physical chemistry, or just science, but rather she teaches them how to be curious about what they are learning, to ask good questions, and to have their own courage to seek answers for themselves.”

According to her department colleagues, Dr. Huffman takes some of the most difficult courses and teaches them exceptionally well semester after semester. Students rave about how well she teaches a difficult course and embrace the stimulating but rewarding activities in her classes. A former student calls her the most challenging and the most inspiring teacher she has had. Colleagues note that she “has found an ideal balance between encouraging and challenging her students and demonstrating genuine care for them.” Another colleague explained Dr. Huffman classroom philosophy as, “want[ing] the student to go on their own voyage of discovery.” Dr. Huffman has also participated in campuswide and discipline efforts to implement inquirybased methods in classroom instruction. In this way she has become a catalyst for change impacting her students, chemistry students and all students at Western Carolina.

Other recognition for Dr. Huffman’s exemplary work includes the College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award (2012) and a commendation as a previous finalist for the Board of Governors Award. Dr. Huffman earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI), and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Maryland (College Park, MD).

Manjunatha Bhat | Winston-Salem State University

Dr. Manjunatha Bhat is an Associate Professor of Physiology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He has been a  faculty member at WSSU since January 2008, where he teaches courses in Anatomy & Physiology, Biology and Neuroscience to undergraduate students majoring in Biology and allied health sciences. Dr. Bhat views his role inside and outside of the classroom more as a facilitator of student learning rather than as a traditional teacher and focuses on guiding his students through the learning process providing them with a variety of resources and tools to help them understand concepts and self-assess their learning.

Dr. Bhat is a strong believer in the use of “high tech and high touch” approaches to improve both student learning experience and outcomes. These include digital learning resources such as active and adaptive learning tools, data analytics and metacognitive analysis to monitor student learning, as well as innovative pedagogical practice and peer to peer teaching and mentoring. Dr. Bhat is regarded as an expert in the use of teaching and learning technologies to engage students both inside and outside the classroom. He not only helps his colleagues but also trains faculty at other institutions in the best practices of using these tools to improve student success. He conducts both face to face and virtual workshops and presents seminars on the use of teaching and learning technologies.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Bhat is actively involved in advising freshman students in the general education curriculum. He also serves on the UNC GA advising committee for WSSU and helps with campus-wide implementation of GradesFirst, a web-based student performance monitoring system used to provide support services to students.

Dr. Bhat has mentored more than 15 undergraduate research scholars in his laboratory involving them in his research projects. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications and his research students have presented at local and national meetings.

Dr. Bhat received his undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. He obtained a Masters in Pharmacology at Indian Veterinary Research Institute, India and M.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. After getting his PhD in Physiology & Biophysics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, he worked in Cleveland Clinic where he established his current research on understanding the role of calcium in acute and chronic pain. When he is not in a classroom or in the laboratory, Dr. Bhat enjoys photography, hiking, and politics. He and his wife, Leena, are proud parents of Himani and Mandira.

Philip Rash | NC School of Science and Mathematics

Exceptional teacher and extraordinary mentor—Philip Rash, as an Instructor of Mathematics over twelve years at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), has led hundreds of highly capable students to discover the beauty of mathematics and the importance of learning throughout life. He expects his students to take ownership of their learning, as mathematics “is not a spectator sport.”  He sees his role as “not only a teacher, striving to be an expert in my field; but also a student, always learning something new about both the content and the students that I teach.”

A versatile instructor, Mr. Rash typically takes on multiple preparations each Trimester and has taught an extraordinary range of courses at NCSSM—including Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics, Numerical Analysis, Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Advanced Math Problem Solving.  His motivated students characterize him as “always enthusiastic about teaching” and “always willing to offer help on assignments and concepts I don’t understand. . . .he introduced me to a whole new way of thinking about math.”

National Board Certified, Mr. Rash is a regular presenter at professional conferences, including the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) and NCSSM’s Teaching Contemporary Mathematics.  Yet beyond NCSSM, he likely is best known for his involvement with mathematics competitions.  He is the current Co-Chair of the NCCTM State Math Contest Committee, which organizes North Carolina’s state competition at fifteen local qualifying sites and the finals at NCSSM.  He is a coach for North Carolina’s American Regions Math League team which won first place nationally in both 2006 and 2012.  And he coached the NCSSM team that won the 2012 Singapore International Mathematics Challenge.

Always readily accessibility to both students and colleagues, Mr. Rash has won previous NCSSM Teaching Awards for Outreach as well as Service to Students.  He has been an essential faculty member in NCSSM’s Step up to Stem summer program for rising 9th grade underrepresented minority students from across the state.  And the Mathematical Association of America has recognized him with its Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching.

Mr. Rash has even translated his primary avocation--flying--into a learning opportunity for students, by offering his popular Introduction to Aviation Mini-Term course for over a decade.  He also has served multiple years as a Hall Parent in our residential school, and was elected by his peers to a two year term as President of NCSSM’s Faculty Senate.

In all of his various capacities at NCSSM—teacher, mentor, colleague, coach, and role model to both students and faculty—Philip Rash has proven himself a superlative candidate for the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award.

Mr. Rash earned both a BS in Computer Science and BSEd in Mathematics at Western Carolina University in 1999; then completed his MAEd in Mathematics at Western Carolina University in 2003.

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