CTE Honors Faculty and Graduate Students for Creativity, Excellence in Teaching

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has announced the honorees for the 2020 Creative Teaching Awards and Graduate Student Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The awards, which are sponsored by the Office of the Provost, are administered annually by the CTE.

The Creative Teaching Award recognizes faculty who have implemented innovative ways of teaching and have assessed the impact of the innovation on student learning. The award proposals are reviewed by a committee made up of a faculty representative from each of Duquesne’s schools.

The winning project, Leveraging Multidisciplinary, Community-Engaged Research Mentoring to Foster Cultural Humility, Research Skill, and Informed Career Decisions among Duquesne Students, was created by Dr. Cathleen J. Appelt in the Department of Sociology, Dr. Jessica A. Devido in the School of Nursing and Dr. Andrew T. Simpson in the Department of History.

The project is a voluntary, multidisciplinary teaching intervention designed to:

  • Engage both undergraduate and graduate students in multidisciplinary, community-engaged research
  • Provide voluntary mentoring to help students develop relevant professional skills and interest in further professional education
  • Build on existing faculty research projects and established community partnerships that expose Duquesne students to real-world issues facing our country and our region
  • Provide pilot data for a potential future teaching intervention that could more formally be part of the humanities and health sciences curriculum, further supporting the University’s strategic plan and mission.

The winning project was conducted from 2016-2019 by the three faculty members. Instructional methods included direct supervision, research mentorship and exposure to community engagement for two cohorts of student mentees. Direct and indirect evidence of student learning was based on qualitative research findings, students’ writing and research presentations, and student feedback.

A photo of a Duquesne University Lecture Classroom full of students“Faculty colleagues on the evaluation committee praised the project for its innovative promotion of undergraduate research through creating a collaboration between the humanities and nursing,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, director of faculty development and teaching excellence in the CTE. “They also remarked on the vast scope of the project involving undergraduate students, graduate students and community partners. The committee also noted that the learning experience designed in the project’s mentoring model contributes to students pursuing graduate study opportunities and their ability to work in diverse settings.”

The Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching promotes and rewards teaching effectiveness by current graduate students and provides nominees with training on how to present evidence of teaching excellence. Dossiers are evaluated by a cross-disciplinary committee. Winning dossiers demonstrate mastery of basics of teaching, insightful reflection on teaching, the ability to apply what they learn from feedback, significant and meaningful professional interactions about teaching and learning.

This year’s awardees include:

  • Autumn Marie Chilcote, from the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program: she uses a student-centered approach and a commitment to using an inclusive lens to view all aspects of her teaching. Chilcote’s knowledge of inclusion-orientated teaching practices comes from her firm grasp of the goals of inclusive teaching and in her practical application of universal design techniques. She also has used innovative ways to integrate technology into her teaching, including the use of Flex-Tech classrooms.
  • Jeff Lambert, a graduate student in philosophy: He is known throughout his department as an excellent teaching resource sought out by teaching assistants and faculty alike. Lambert brings an inclusive approach to his teaching and in the course content he offers by creating student-centered and low-stakes assignments. In addition to the variety of courses he has taught at Duquesne, he has designed a unique course that integrates community engagement. In many ways, Lambert encourages students to apply philosophical concepts to their experiences.
  • Ngoc Pham, Pharm.D. in the School of Pharmacy: Ngoc’s success lies in her extensive preparation for her TA sessions, including attending the same lectures as her students and planning alternative ways of explaining a concept before she meets with a student. She is a reflective teacher who meets her students where they are, and she provides a variety of ways to deconstruct the material to make it more adaptable to students’ learning needs.
  • Kayce Tomcho, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry: Tomcho excels at clearly communicating complex course content to her students and is adept at transparently describing course expectations to her students. She utilizes a variety of pedagogical strategies and puts a lot of thought into conceptualizing the classroom experience. Tomcho successfully created online learning modules and has engaged in considerable mentoring of undergraduates in research.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CTE is planning an event to celebrate the winners and their accomplishments when campus re-opens in the future.