By George Mauzy
That was what assistant professor Lawrence "Woody" Wood said he felt when a small group of students and faculty members sprang into his Lindley Hall office on Monday afternoon to present him with the Class of 1950 Faculty Excellence Award.
The endowed award, which rewards recipients with a crystal apple and $1,000, is annually presented to a professor who has demonstrated excellence in teaching. To be eligible, candidates must be nominated by their dean and accept the nomination by submitting a portfolio to University College that includes their curriculum vitae, teaching philosophy, evaluations and teaching history.
The award committee, made up entirely of students, then evaluates candidates' qualifications, interviews them, visits their classrooms and surveys their students before choosing the recipient.
Wood teaches in both the McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems and the School of Media Arts and Studies. His research and teaching areas include the digital divide, socioeconomic and rural development, E-government, and policy implementation.
"I try to teach to the strengths of my students, while injecting humor," Wood said about his teaching style. "Overall, my teaching goals are to be enthusiastic, organized and prepared, while making the class material appropriate, understandable and engaging."
Before coming to Ohio University in 2005, Wood taught geography at Penn State University and English in Japan between 1991 and 1997.
Faculty Excellence Award Committee Chair Gwen Hubach and committee member Lauren Romance said Wood was chosen because of his positive student evaluations and his commitment to students.
"The committee was really impressed by the fact that he tailors his teaching style to the students in the class," Romance said.
Roger Cooper, director of the School of Media Arts and Studies, said he knew Wood was worthy of the award.
"When he was chosen it was no surprise, because he is widely known as an exceptional teacher who connects well with his students," Cooper said.
Phil Campbell, director of the McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems, said not only is Wood an exceptional teacher, he also is admired for the variety of classes and students he teaches.
"He teaches such a breadth of classes and is incredibly versatile and well-loved," Campbell said. "For example, he teaches our 101 general education class and our 600-level research methods class and gets good evaluations in both. I wish I had five more of him."
University College Dean David Descutner said winning the Class of 1950 Faculty Excellence Award is quite the honor.
"This is a special award because it is entirely managed by students on the Student Alumni Board and is a very systematic process that requires considerable work and time," said Descutner, who was on hand for the presentation of the award. "For me, this is one more example, much like the University Professor Award, where students come to fore as leaders and take responsibility for recognizing professors who are extraordinary teachers."