In recognition of their exceptional teaching and abilities to connect with students, Didier Dréau, Angela Jakeway and Andrew Goff have received the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards for the 2019-20 academic year.
Dréau, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, received the Integration of Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award.
Jakeway, a lecturer of German in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies, received the Outstanding Teaching by a Full-Time Lecturer Award.
Goff, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences, received the Outstanding Teaching by a Part-Time Faculty Member Award.
They received their awards during a virtual celebration designed to comply with social distancing measures in response to COVID-19. More than 100 guests attended the online ceremony to celebrate the nine finalists.
Creating connections makes the difference in student learning, said Nancy A. Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
“This intellectual and sometimes emotional connection that takes place is the space in which learning occurs,” Gutierrez said. “It is clear when you hear about the teaching accomplishments of our finalists today that they excel exactly because they have successfully identified strategies that allow meaningful connections whether virtually or otherwise.”
Integration of Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award
Dréau has effectively coupled his extensive research on the tumor microenvironment with his teaching. The awards committee was impressed by his long history of working directly with undergraduate and graduate students on a wide range of research experiences, inside and outside of the classroom. He has mentored more than 70 undergraduate students, 20 honors students and 13 graduate students and has been a member of more than 50 honors thesis committees and 60 -plus graduate thesis committees.
Alumnus Seth Flynn ’19 said Dréau helped him see research as more than a means to an end, but rather as an opportunity for interest-guided exploration and scientific advancement.
“I am so thankful for his encouraging nudges in that direction—his hands-on mentorship and the skills I learned both in his laboratory and classroom greatly influenced my decision to choose Duke School of Medicine, where I will have the unique ability to complete an entire year of basic science research,” Flynn said.
With $1.7 million in extramural funding, Dréau has engaged students in a variety of his projects. He also has collaborated with fellow faculty and graduate and undergraduate students to present at 95 international, national and local research conferences.
Outstanding Teaching by a Full-Time Lecturer Award
Jakeway has played a key role in developing the German curriculum and building relationships with German majors and minors. Drawing from her undergraduate degree in finance and several years of work in banking, she initiated the German business certificate program, creating five advanced level courses.
She currently directs the program and exposes students to a variety of opportunities, including paid internship placements in Germany. She invites German business professionals to her classes as guest speakers and organizes visits to regional German companies. She is faculty advisor for all German majors and minors.
Judges noted that she seeks to create a positive, welcoming relationship between her students and the German language by encouraging them to experiment with the language, talk about themselves in German, and she uses hands-on problem-solving activities to reinforce their learning.
Finalists for the award were Rebecca Agosta, a lecturer in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies and director of the Writing Resources Center, and Sarah Wells, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry.
Outstanding Teaching by a Part-Time Faculty Member Award
Goff is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences who sees one of the most important ways to help students is by being accessible.
“As an educator, I strive to be the person that my students will approach with questions when seeking guidance during their academic careers,” Goff said. “By making myself approachable to my students, I can have an honest dialogue with them regarding their study habits and preparation for lectures and exams. Through these seemingly simple interactions, I hope to impact each of my students in a way that fosters a lasting approach to understanding, appreciating and respecting the biology and science in the world around them.”
Students commend Goff for his enthusiasm and innovative teaching. “I greatly enjoyed this class,” one student wrote. “Professor Goff had great energy and passion towards biology that he brought with him to every class. This enthusiasm definitely helped to bring the material alive and made the overall class more interesting.”
Goff uses classroom polling and response-type activities to gauge students’ understanding and retention of the material, and uses nature documentaries in his lectures to demonstrate scientific concepts. He hosts creek cleanups each semester with students and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Storm Water Services. The work of a volunteer student group he founded, UNCC Trashtaggers, has been recognized in the community, including a nomination for the 2020 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.
Finalists for the award were Henry Doss, a part-time instructor in the Department of English, and Evan Nooe, a part-time instructor in the American Studies Program.
Image: Didier Dréau, Andrew Goff and Angela Jakeway.