ATHENS, Ohio (July 19, 2005) -- The Honors Tutorial College recently announced its faculty awards for the academic year 2004-05. Betsy Partyka, Modern Languages, and Richard Greenlee, Social Work, were named as Honors Tutorial College Outstanding Tutors. Soichi Tanda, Biological Sciences, and Raymond Frost, Management Information Systems, received Honors Tutorial College Distinguished Mentor Awards.
Outstanding Tutor Awards are given to faculty members who have exhibited sustained excellence in the teaching of tutorials. Tutorials, a form of undergraduate education developed at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, involve faculty members in teaching students either one-on-one or in a small group setting. According to Ann Fidler, dean of the Honors Tutorial College, successful tutorial instruction requires a special set of teaching skills.
“We tell potential Honors Tutorial College students that there are no backseats in a tutorial,” Fidler said. “You must always be prepared and willing to engage in substantive conversation. Likewise for faculty tutors, there is no lectern to stand behind. Our best tutors know how to convey ideas and a passion for their disciplines through informal dialogues. They also welcome the opportunity to be pushed intellectually by their tutees.”
Several factors go into the selection of the Outstanding Tutor Award including student nominations, student evaluations of tutors, and observations by colleagues. Dean Fidler emphasized that in the cases of Partyka and Greenlee, who in addition to their work as tutors also serve as directors of studies for Honors Tutorial College programs in Spanish and social work, there was a clear pattern of exceptional tutorial instruction.
“Both Partyka and Greenlee exhibit a genuine respect for the intellectual capacity of their tutees,” Fidler said. “Over the course of a number of years, they have devoted time and attention to making sure their students understand and activate their potential. It is a pleasure to be able to acknowledge their work as gifted teachers in the tutorial setting.”
Honors Tutorial College Distinguished Mentor Awards recognize faculty members who have been exceptional academic mentors. Nominations for the award are solicited from graduating seniors. Sarah Grace Weed nominated Tanda. A faculty tutor and the director of studies for the Honors Tutorial College Biological Sciences program, Tanda worked with Weed for four years and served as the adviser for her honors thesis, which studied the functioning of the Wnt pathway in Drosophila as a means of better understanding the development of leukemia.
Weed, who will begin medical school at Duke University in the fall, praised Tanda for being a compassionate professor who understood how to help his students reach their academic and personal goals. Similar traits were described by Jacqueline Pike in her nomination of Frost, a faculty tutor in the Honors Tutorial College Business program. Pike, who will begin work shortly on a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, highlighted Frost’s consistent and inspirational support throughout her undergraduate career. She noted that in addition to serving as her thesis adviser, Frost worked with her as a colleague on a number of academic projects including co-authoring a paper in a major refereed journal, assisting in the creating and teaching of undergraduate classes, and contributing to a textbook he has written. Dean Fidler stated that the Distinguished Mentor Award honors the dedication and effectiveness of Frost and Tanda’s work.
“Both Dr. Frost and Dr. Tanda are to be commended as exemplars of the generosity that should be at the heart of all academic enterprises,” Fidler said.
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