Augusta University Announces Teaching Excellence Awards

Staff Report

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

Augusta University’s Center for Instructional Innovation and the Teaching Excellence Awards review committee have announced the 2022-23 award winners.

This year’s winners include:

Christina Heckman, PhD, AU Individual Teaching Excellence Award
Rhia Moreno, PhD, AU Online Teaching Excellence Award
Master of Public Administration, AU Program Teaching Excellence Award
Robert Bledsoe, PhD, AU Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award
According to the Center for Instructional Innovation, the Augusta University Teaching Excellence Awards are designed to recognize the excellence of AU’s educators and educational programs and to select nominees for the University System of Georgia Regents’ Teaching Excellence Awards. Winners will move forward as Augusta University’s nominees for the Board of Regents’ awards.

Individual Teaching Excellence Award: Christina Heckman, PhD
This award celebrates excellent instruction by a full-time faculty or staff member and recognizes that individual’s strong commitment to teaching and student success. The winner should be an individual who is strongly committed to teaching and learning, which might be demonstrated through activities designed to advance the quality and practice of teaching and learning, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and/or develop global and multicultural understanding.

The winner also uses effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning, including innovative uses of technology, active learning, learning communities, student portfolios and assessment. The winner has a strong commitment to fostering the academic success of students through interaction with students outside of the classroom (e.g. advising, mentoring, recruiting).

Online Teaching Excellence Award: Rhia Moreno, PhD
This award honors a full-time member of the teaching faculty and teaching academic staff at Augusta University who demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and student success and has taught a minimum of 12 credit hours of fully online instruction across the last three consecutive semesters.

The winner should be an individual who is strongly committed to quality online teaching and learning, as evidenced by teaching and scholarly activities designed to advance the quality of online teaching and learning. The winner uses effective and innovative online teaching practices that result in student engagement, student satisfaction, and effectiveness in achieving desired learning outcomes. The winner also demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to fostering the academic success of online students through the development of rapport with individual learners in and beyond the virtual classroom

Program Teaching Excellence Award: Master of Public Administration
The award honors a program, department or academic unit at Augusta University that demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and student success via:

Individual and collective faculty efforts to improve teaching and student learning.
Individual and collective faculty efforts to improve teaching and student learning.
Methods of assessment of student learning and achievement that go beyond student evaluations, and the use of assessment results to inform teaching practices, curriculum development and revision;
Active support to enable faculty to use innovative and effective forms of pedagogy and technology such as critical thinking, collaborative learning, cooperative learning, problem-based learning and learning communities;
Strong links between good teaching and various rewards, e.g. compensation, promotion, tenure, grants, leaves, travel, and departmental or program-based awards;
Department/unit policies that encourage collaborative faculty efforts, including team teaching, teaching discussion groups, common assessments, interdisciplinary courses, learning communities and mentoring;
An ongoing and data-driven process for reviewing and reshaping curricula so that achieving academic excellence and serving the needs of all students remain top priorities;
Exemplary programs for advising, mentoring, recruiting, and retaining students; co-curricular work with students and out-of-class learning;
Success of the department’s or program’s students, evidenced by graduation, job placement and acceptance in graduate school; and
Clear articulation of how quality is defined, promoted and assessed by the department or program.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award: Robert Bledsoe, PhD
This award honors faculty members whose scholarship focuses on the art and science of teaching. These nominees have:

Engaged in the systematic examination of issues about student learning and instructional conditions which promote learning, building on previous scholarship;
Documented the use of strategies for investigating and evaluating the impact of teaching practice on student learning, anchored in the research literature;
Engaged in scholarship that is public, peer-reviewed and critiqued;
Produced scholarly work which contributes new questions and knowledge about teaching and learning;
Developed a well-articulated teaching philosophy that drives research questions; and
Documented the dissemination of their scholarship results.
The Teaching Excellence Awards review committee includes:

Raymond Whiting, JD, PhD (Chair)
Tiana Curry-McCoy, PhD
ChongWoo Park, PhD
Nicole Meyer, PhD
Craig Albert, PhD
Rebecca Harper, PhD
Ryan Carrick, PhD