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Presidential Teacher Award recipients announced


The four winners of the 2011 Presidential Teacher Award (PTA) have been announced by the selection committee.

The PTA is a three-year title that honors professors who have made a substantial, positive contribution to the learning experience at Ohio University both in and out of the classroom. Each of the four recipients will receive $1,000 each year for a total of $3,000.

"It is an honor to recognize individuals who have contributed so profoundly to our students' transformational learning experiences," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "We are extremely pleased that the Ohio University Presidential Teacher Award will again be bestowed on faculty members who have been selected for the inspired, masterful teaching they provide our students."

This year's awardees are:

•    Frederick Lewis, associate professor, Media Arts and Studies
•    Harvey Ballard, associate professor, Environmental and Plant Biology
•    Nancy Tatarek, associate professor, Sociology and Anthropology
•    Lisa Wallace, associate professor, Communication Studies

Lewis was given this award for his significant role in transforming the curriculum of the Media Arts and Studies program.

"Fred's advanced narrative class has made a phenomenal impact on students ... as exemplified by their post-graduate productions," said Roger Cooper, the Media Arts and Studies director.

Lewis is the founding faculty adviser for the annual 48-hour Shootout competition, as well as the student-produced showcase Guerrsfest. He serves as a role model and mentor for his colleagues in the Media Arts and Studies program.

Ballard was nominated by a committee of faculty within the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology. The PTA committee commended his "student centric" approach to teaching, in which he develops comfortable and respectful relationships with students.

Brian McCarthy, the Environmental and Plant Biology department chair, also praised Ballard's long-lasting impact on the program.

"He has been instrumental in providing a variety of field experiences for plant biology students and, in many cases, it is these experiences that students cherish the most and stick with them as alums for years afterwards," said McCarthy.

Tatarek impressed the PTA committee with her creativity in the classroom through the use of innovative learning tools.

"[She] demonstrates equal effectiveness and imagination in the teaching of large lecture classes and the instruction of smaller hands on laboratory courses," said Marty Tuck, associate provost for academic affairs.

Wallace, who teaches on the Chillicothe campus, was nominated by two of her students, Neeley Clary and Rae Fout. The PTA committee saw Wallace as an excellent candidate because she has already become a highly respected teacher and mentor to other faculty in her short tenure at Ohio University.

"Wallace epitomizes what we want on our faculty ... She has a strong focus on our access mission," said Dan Evans, executive dean of Regional Higher Education.

The process to become a Presidential Teacher begins in the fall with peer nominations. The nominees are later contacted to apply for the award. The PTA committee evaluates the applicants and determines the top contenders. During spring quarter, the committee interviews the finalists and visits their classrooms for further review.

"The requirements for this award are quite rigorous," said Tuck. "Those who win really are the best of the best."

This PTA award is funded by an endowment, which had been put on hold for the past three years. During this time, the Executive Vice President and Provost's Office has helped maintain the award.