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University Professor

Marty Tuck, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs speaks during the ceremony

Photographer: Dave Talmage

James Petrik

James Petrik accepts his University Professor award

Photographer: Dave Talmage

Buffet

University Professor ceremony attendees enjoying the food

Photographer: Dave Talmage

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Four faculty earn University Professor honors


Ohio University's Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in Alden Library celebrated excellence in teaching with the annual naming of the University Professors for 2011-2012.

Each University Professor is given $2,000 and the opportunity to design and teach two courses of their liking during the next academic year. This offers the professors the opportunity to teach classes that reflect their personal interests and allows students the opportunity to explore new and unique classes.

About 10-14 undergraduate students make up the University Professor Selection Committee. The students conduct intensive interviews with nominees regarding their research interests, philosophy of teaching and a discussion of interactions with students in and out of the classroom and even observe the nominees classes.

This year's recipients are:

Raymond Frost, professor and chair of Management Information Systems, Honors Tutorial College. He will teach "Game Dynamics in Education." The class will examine whether or not educators can use some of the same motivational dynamics inherent in games in order to make the classroom a more engaging experience for students. The class will collectively help to design a platform that would utilize dynamics in education.

Julia Paxton Pagan, associate professor of development economics, Department of Economics. She will teach "The Economics of Altruism." Students will become familiar with altruism literature and will replicate many cutting edge experiments on altruism in the classroom. Altruism will be examined in many different contexts including parenting, dating, religion, humanitarian work, acts of heroism, and "random acts of kindness." The class will have a highly interactive atmosphere based on in-class experiments and discussions of the theory and readings. The concepts of anonymity, positive externalities, greed, inequality, fairness, and reciprocity will be analyzed.

James Petrik, associate professor, Department of Philosophy. He will teach "Contemporary Philosophy of Religion." The course is a seminar on contemporary philosophy of religion. It will survey some of the work done over the last 50 years advancing theories and arguments pertaining to the existence and nature of God and the implications of God’s existence or non-existence for human life.

Lauren McMills, assistant professor and assistant chair, Department of Chemistry and BioChemistry. She will teach "Chemistry in the News." The course will focus on current topics in chemistry such as energy, climate change and medicine. The class focuses on the importance of citizens to be informed about current developments in science and be able to critically evaluate the material they are exposed to whether in a newspaper, magazine, on the internet or on television.

For many University Professors, the real honor is being recognized by the students.

"I am consistently and painfully aware of my shortcomings, and it's very nice to a get a vote of confidence from the students," Petrik said. "I was surprised, but very pleased."

Frost, now a two-time recipient of the honor, said it is always great to work with the University Professor Selection Committee.

"What really means a lot to me is the process," Frost said. "It's not faculty deciding this, it's the students, and the way the committee runs the process is so professional. I enjoyed every part of it. It's fascinating to be with students who took the time to improve education."

The University Professor program was established in 1970 and has recognized more than 200 OHIO faculty members. Past winners have their names inscribed on a bronze plaque in the informal "Teaching Hall of Fame," outside the University College offices in Chubb Hall.

For more information about the University Professor program, click here.