Teachers Receive Top Award for Hitting Mark with Students
Professors Bill Wallace (left) and Dr. Tracy Andrus
Alaska Pacific University, Eunice R. Lott, Adjunct and Clinical Supervising Teacher in Education
Albright College, Suzanne Palmer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics and Business
Baker University, Trilla Lyerla, Professor of Music
Baldwin Wallace University, Tom Sutton, Associate Professor of Political Science
Bennett College, Rachel Obie-Winstead, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Birmingham-Southern College, Robert Slagter, Professor of Political Science
Brevard College, Kathryn Rasmussen, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Carrollton Christian Academy, Lisa O'Rear, Kindergarten Teacher
Centenary College, Meredith Drew, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Centenary College of Louisiana, Edwin E. Leuck, Professor of Biology
Central Methodist University, Sally Hackman, Associate Professor of Business and Accounting
Columbia College, Calley Hornbuckle, Assistant Professor of English
Dakota Wesleyan University, Derek Driedger, Associate Professor of English
DePauw University, Mona Bhan, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Francoise Coulont-Henderson, Professor of Modern Languages
Duke Divinity School, Grant Wacker, Professor of Christian History
Emory & Henry College, Melissa Taverner, Associate Professor of Biology
Ferrum College, Chris R. Aylesworth, Assistant Professor of Biology
Florida Southern College, Gabriel J. Langford, Assistant Professor of Biology
Green Mountain College, Jennifer Powers, Assistant Professor of Education
Greensboro College, Michael A. Dutch, Professor of Business Administration
Hamline University, William Wallace, Professor of Theatre Arts
Hendrix College, James Jennings, Professor of Education and History
Hiwassee College, Alan Eleazer, Assistant Professor of Music
Huntingdon College, Lisa M. Olenik Dorman, Professor of Sport Science and Physical Education
Huston-Tillotson University, Janice Sumler-Edmond, Professor of History
Iowa Wesleyan College, Jeff Martinek, Professor of English
Kansas Wesleyan University, Susan McDonald, Professor of Physics
Kents Hill School, Caitlin Hussey, Science Teacher
Kentucky Wesleyan College, Bernard S. Bettinelli, Associate Professor of Psychology
LaGrange College, Greg McClanahan, Professor of Mathematics
Lindsey Wilson College, Brian Hilker, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Lydia Patterson Institute, Veronica Tovar, Algebra I and II Teacher
Martin Methodist College, Ralph Johnson, Instructor of Biology
McKendree University, Neil Quisenberry, Associate professor of Sociology
Meharry Medical College, Rudiane Toussaint, Assistant Professor, OB/GYN
Methodist University, Jeremy Hustwit, Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy
Morningside College, Jill M. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Music
Nebraska Methodist College, Cathy Barnes, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Nebraska Wesleyan University, Kristin A. Pfabe, Professor of Mathematics
North Carolina Wesleyan College, Patricia G. Brewer, Associate Professor of Education
North Central College, Norval Bard, Professor of French
Randolph College, Elizabeth A. Perry-Sizemore, Associate Professor of Economics
Randolph-Macon College, Catherine L. Staples, Professor of Accounting
Reinhardt University, Elizabeth A. Smith, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Rust College, Debra Butler, Instructor of Social Work
Shenandoah University, Bryan R. Pearce-Gonzales, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies
Simpson College, Debra Czarneski, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Southwestern College, Jackson Lashier, Assistant Professor of Religion
Southwestern University, Benjamin Pierce, Professor of Biology
Spartanburg Methodist College, Lori Merck, Professor of Spanish
Tennessee Wesleyan College, Chris Dover, Instructor of Religion and Church Vocations
Union College, Melissa M. Garrett, Associate Professor of Library Science
University of Evansville, Wesley T. Milner, Professor of Political Science
University of Indianapolis, Scott Lawrance, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Education
University of Mount Union, John Kirchmeyer, Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems
Wesleyan College, Edward Eikner, Professor of Music
West Virginia Wesleyan College, Deborah Bush, Assistant Professor of Education
Wiley College, Tracy Andrus, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Wyoming Seminary, Anthony Kubasek, Director of Instrumental Music Orchestra, Upper School
Young Harris College, Johnathan Davis, Assistant Professor of Biology
Although he doesn't have a specific philosophy about teaching, Professor Bill Wallace says he does want to "listen carefully, to think about the kinds of challenges and opportunities that I am engaged in with students and to encourage them to see (and) realize their own potential."
He says most of his job is to provide opportunities, a little advice, and "then literally get out of the way."
It's a teaching method his students seem to appreciate. Several nominated him for the 2012-2013 Exemplary Teacher Award given by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry's Division of Higher Education.
Wallace is a professor and chair of the theatre arts and communication studies departments at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.
He is one of 62 faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities nominated and selected by their institutions to receive the award for exemplary teaching, service to students beyond the classroom and commitment to values-centered education.
Wallace teaches courses in stagecraft; scene, lighting, and makeup design; theatre for children; and methods of teaching theatre and dance. He also offers a study-abroad course titled "Theatre in Britain."
His students are mostly undergraduates.
"I am fortunate, working in the arts, to have students who come in the door already motivated and interested," he said.
What he enjoys most about teaching, Wallace said, is the moment when a student "gets it" and then takes off with a project, design or idea with "the self-confidence and courage to see it to completion."
"Once that happens, when the student sees how (to) solve problems, then all the rest is easy," he said.
Wallace says he was quite surprised to have won the award.
"I have some very generous students who nominated me for this award," he said. "Many, many of my colleagues here at Hamline are much more talented and deserving, so this award was an unexpected honor."
Not just a job
Dr. Tracy Andrus says he felt equally honored to receive the award.
"I was all smiles," he said of learning about the recognition. "I gave God a ‘fist bump' and thanked him . . . and many of the faculty members for the recommendation. Winning this award has reinvigorated my energy and commitment to strive to be the best teacher I can be."
Andrus is an assistant professor and director of the Lee P. Brown Criminal Justice Institute at Wiley College in Marshall, Tex. He teaches four classes on criminal justice, mostly to younger undergraduates.
Andrus says he teaches because he loves it. "I do not consider teaching to be a job. To me, teaching is a hobby," he said. "I love to present my students with dilemmas and gather their thoughts about how they would resolve certain types of situations and conflicts in criminal justice."
That includes providing real-world experiences. Andrus says his department recently coordinated having a live trial on campus "with a real judge, real defendants, prosecutors," giving students a chance to see a bench trial from start to finish.
He says that kind of experiences, plus class debates and lectures from practitioners in the field, "make for great teaching."
"I love to see students learn," he said. "I love to see the excitement on their faces when they learn new knowledge. I have never attended a graduation ceremony in which I have not shed tears of joy for our students."
Gerald Lord, associate general secretary of GBHEM's Division of Higher Education, said the award aims to show GBHEM's support and appreciation for outstanding teachers.
"Quality teaching is a critical piece in educating young leaders for The United Methodist Church and the world. We are proud of the talented faculty at our 119 UM-related educational institutions, and this award recognizes a few of those who are especially outstanding," Lord said.
In addition to support and appreciation for outstanding teaching, the Division of Higher Education provides a certificate and monetary award to the faculty members nominated and selected by their institutions to receive the award.
Recipients of the 2013 award are listed in the sidebar on the right.
* Tita Parham is a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant based in Apopka, Fla.