WSU Teaching Academy recognizes four faculty with three awards

The Teaching Academy at Washington State University presented three types of awards to four faculty in recognition of their impact on excellence in teaching and learning across the institution.

“The accomplishments of these educators underscore our goal to promote a culture centered around excellence in teaching and the scholarship of teaching,” said Kara Whitman, academy chair. “We are pleased to recognize them with these awards.”

Teaching Academy Conference Registration Award

This recognition is intended to help cover the cost of registration fees to attend a conference, meeting, or workshop that will directly enhance the applicant’s classroom teaching and/or scholarship of teaching. The recipient is:

  • Kathleen Cowin, Dept. of Educational Leadership and Sport Management, in the College of Education at WSU Tri-Cities. This is the second time in two years she has received this award. She will present at the conference on a student assignment and seek feedback for ways to improve it and further pursue her research.

Outstanding Publication in the Scholarship of Teaching in Higher Education Award

This award recognizes outstanding publications. The recipients are:

  • Michael Pelch, from the School of the Environment at WSU Pullman. In his paper, he reports the results of his qualitative study on science identities of first-generation college students. The paper is titled, “What Can We Learn from the Science Identity Narratives of First-generation College Students?” It was found that first-generation college students come to a university already identifying with science and that college educators can reinforce and build on that identity to support these students.
  • Andy Cavagnetto, from the Dept. of Teaching and Learning at WSU Pullman. He was primary author on a paper with co-authors Joshua Premo, of Utah Valley University, and former WSU students Zachary Coleman and Kate Juergens. It is titled, “Accuracy and Idea Consideration: A Study of Small-group Interaction in Biology.” The study investigates dynamics between members of small groups during cooperative learning in a biology-lab course. One outcome was that group members were more likely to consider the ideas of students who provided accurate information rather than students who talked more or were perceived as “better” students. Accuracy in group discussions also correlated with student-learning gains. 

Teaching Academy Award for Excellence in Teaching a Large Class

Presented for the first time in 2022, this award recognizes achievement in teaching in one of the most difficult contexts—class sections of more than 50 students. The recipient is:

  • Blythe Duell, from the Dept. of Psychology at WSU Pullman. It is noted that she encourages discussion in her class and makes students feel comfortable sharing in a large group. She effectively uses technology tools as well as active-learning pedagogies to engage every student.