Three faculty members in the Franklin College, all former Lilly Teaching Fellows, have been named recipients of the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early career teaching honor:
Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, associate professor of linguistics:
Lee-Schoenfeld uses an inductive approach to her introductory and advanced syntax courses that guides students to collaboratively explore and analyze data, questioning conclusions they may have taken for granted. Through strategies developed as part of the Online Learning Fellows program, she revised the online introductory course in linguistics to incorporate new video lectures and interactive projects that engage students in the material. Lee-Schoenfeld played a significant role in revising the linguistics curricula for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, her research collaboration with a professor at the University of Hannover in Germany has resulted in a number of opportunities for students, including a recently established exchange program offered to undergraduate students at both universities.
Amy Pollard, associate professor of music:
Pollard engages students in goal-setting, peer-review and discussion, and her success has spurred growth in enrollment in the bassoon studio. Her use of technology to maximize student learning and provide performance feedback has become a model for music educators across Georgia. Pollard’s First-Year Odyssey Seminar course “The Art of Performing,” which focuses on physical health and dealing with anxiety in auditions and performances, has spurred an emphasis on wellness issues for musicians throughout the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. She co-created a career-building course that is now a requirement of all undergraduate music majors and championed X-Week, an experience where instrumentalists and vocalists trade teachers for a week to learn from other mentors on campus.
Sarah Shannon, assistant professor of sociology:
Shannon offers an experiential learning course called “Inside-Out,” part of a national program that brings together college students with people who are incarcerated at the Athens-Clarke County Jail in a shared learning environment. The course has been the highest rated in the sociology department every semester that Shannon has taught it. In addition, she engages students in her criminology courses with weekly interactive assignments to extend class discussions using a variety of media, including online data tools, podcasts and articles.
These are three of the best professors not just at UGA but at any university. The ways they distinguish themselves as teachers, guides, mentors, experts and scholars provides a model far beyond the classroom, one that affects the lives of many and inspires the excellence that propels a great university forward.