2023 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honorees announced
Ten faculty members at The Ohio State University were recently honored with the 2023 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. The award annually recognizes a maximum of 10 faculty members for teaching excellence. Awardees are also inducted into the university's Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State. Established during the 1959–1960 academic year, it is one of the university's most prestigious awards for teaching. The honorees were notified of their awards through surprise announcements led by senior university leaders.
“I am thrilled to be a part of presenting these awards,” said Molly Ranz Calhoun, president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association. “These distinguished teachers represent the true spirit of who we are as Buckeyes in how they pay forward each day, preparing the next generation of thought leaders who will change the world in ways we have not yet imagined.”
“These faculty members are exemplars of the high-quality teaching that goes on each day in classroom, labs, and studio spaces across each of our university’s campuses,” said Melissa Gilliam, Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost. “I am proud of each of these instructors, and I have thoroughly enjoyed recognizing their exceptional commitment to our learners.”
2023 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching Honorees:
Sheikh Akbar, professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Widely known for creating an engaging classroom experience in which students feel supported and empowered, throughout his extraordinary career Sheikh Akbar has consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching to generations of students, noted his nominators. A 2018 Fellow of the Electrochemical Society, in 2016 and 2017, he received the Mars G. Fontana Outstanding Teacher Award in Materials Science and Engineering. Akbar's recent work focuses on synthesis-microstructure-property relations of ceramic bulk, thin-film and nano-heterostructure for electrochemical devices (sensors and fuel cells) and biomedical applications. He has co-edited two books on sensors and has published more than 260 technical papers and holds eight patents.
Steven G. Brown, associate professor of teaching, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences
An inspiration to his students, a mentor to graduate assistants and a tireless advocate for pedagogical innovation and inclusive teaching excellence, Steven Brown is an inspirational teacher who inspires students and changes lives, wrote his nominators. While at the forefront of utilizing emerging pedagogical practices such as ungrading and contract grading, Brown also plays a vital role in developing the department's curriculum. He is also highly involved in scaffolding the activities of the department's Philosophy Club and co-organizing the annual Philosophy and Critical Thinking PACT Summer Camp for high school students.
Amy B. Brunell, professor, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, College of Arts and Sciences
Noted for her dedication to teaching, Amy Brunell's work with students extends well beyond the classroom. She has advised more than 50 individual research projects since joining Ohio State and was honored with multiple teaching excellence awards at The Ohio State University at Mansfield and The Ohio State University at Newark. She is the psychology program coordinator and co-advisor of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, at Ohio State Mansfield. Brunell is a Fellow of the Midwestern Psychological Association, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. She recently co-edited the Handbook of Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and Controversies.
Christin E. Burd, associate professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine
Christin Burd is committed to teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists, wrote her nominators. Recognized for her consistent and evolving use of pedagogical innovations and evidence-based teaching, Burd is known equally for creating an open, welcoming and supportive environment. A highly regarded cancer researcher, Burd's current work focuses on the identification and dissection of genetic mechanisms involved in cancer and aging. She was the first researcher in Ohio to receive a prestigious Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award. Her work is featured in numerous journals, including Cell, Nature Medicine, Cancer Discovery, Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, and Molecular Cancer Research.
Lin Ding, professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, College of Education and Human Ecology
Noted by his nominators for his passion for teaching science, technology, engineering and math, Lin Ding consistently challenges his students to think critically and build strong research foundations. A pedagogical innovator, he has extensive experience in discipline-based physics education research, including students' conceptual learning, problem-solving and scientific reasoning, curriculum development and assessment design. He has worked tirelessly to incorporate diverse learning and teaching methods into instruction. His work embraces qualitative and quantitative techniques, often extending to ideas from other disciplines, such as cognitive psychology and statistics. In 2020, he won the College of Education and Human Ecology's Distinguished Teaching Award.
Theodora Dragostinova, professor, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences
Theodora Dragostinova is a passionate teacher whose achievements demonstrate a strong commitment to teaching excellence, student engagement and pedagogical innovation, wrote her nominators. From 2018-2020, she served as a Faculty Fellow of the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme, where she led the Migration, Mobility and Immobility project. This work brought together researchers, creators, community members and students to learn about and seek solutions to one of humanity's most pressing issues. In January 2020, the College of Arts and Sciences honored her with the Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award.
Ashley Hope Pérez, assistant professor, Department of Comparative Studies, College of Arts and Sciences
Proven to be an outstandingly effective and creative teacher, Ashley Pérez has taught at every level, including first-year seminars, high-enrolling 2000-level General Education courses, courses for majors and graduate seminars, noted her nominators. In 2017, she received the Margaret Lynd Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Comparative Studies. She worked extensively designing undergraduate and graduate classes and has participated in the Michael V. Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning's instructional redesign program. Trained in comparative literature and the author of three novels, Pérez is interested in the ethical implications of how we tell, read, mediate and interpret narratives.
Stephen John Quaye, professor and chair, Higher Education and Student Affairs Program, Department of Educational Studies, College of Education and Human Ecology
Highly experienced with teaching challenging course content and facilitating difficult conversations, Stephen Quaye's teaching is rooted in a philosophy that acknowledges the importance of vulnerability, attention to power, and joy as he uses a range of strategies to support the development of students' voices. For his nominators, Quaye is a strong model for teaching excellence who genuinely demonstrates care for students and is highly regarded for the positive rapport he has established within and beyond the program. He served as president of the American College Personnel Association: College Student Educators International and is an associate editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
Vincent Roscigno, College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences
Vincent Roscigno exhibits superb and inspired connection to his students across an extensive set of teaching contexts, noted a nominator. His impeccable course preparation, enthusiasm and availability to students are also tied to his holistic approach to student learning and hands-on method of teaching. He was recently elected a council member of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and chair of ASA's Task Force on First-Generation and Working Class Sociologists. He is also a council member of ASA's Organizations, Occupations and Work Section and an elected executive committee member of the Sociological Research Association.
Abdollah Shafieezadeh, Lichtenstein Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, College of Engineering
Abdollah Shafieezadeh is actively engaged in developing student‐centered learning approaches and building his cultural competencies to support students who are typically underrepresented in engineering disciplines. A College of Engineering Diversity Partner, he has also obtained an inclusive mentoring endorsement through the Better Science through Better Mentoring program. A thoughtful, caring teacher, Shafieezadeh works to create a learning environment where complex topics are grounded in real‐world problems and actionable solutions, emulating the team workplace culture of practicing engineers, noted his nominators. Shafieezadeh directs Ohio State's Risk Assessment and Management of Structural and Infrastructure Systems lab and is the associate editor of the Journal of Structural Engineering.
Full-time Ohio State faculty members on all campuses with the rank of instructor through full professor in the clinical or tenure track who have taught undergraduate and/or graduate/professional students in the past three years are eligible for the award. Recipients are nominated by current or former students or faculty colleagues. Awardees receive a cash award made possible by gifts from The Ohio State University Alumni Association, the Office of Advancement and the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA). In addition, OAA awards an increase to each recipient's base salary.