Excellence in Teaching

Wittenberg University is committed to excellence in teaching. There are several awards given out to recognize this excellence.

Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty excellence in teaching award: The ODK award honors a current faculty member with less than five years of dedicated service to Wittenberg and is selected and awarded by students.

  • 2024: Dr. Layla Besson, Education
  • 2023: Ms. Erin Hill, Education
  • 2022: Dr. Suanne Barthol, Business & Economics
  • 2021: Dr. Elizabeth Schultz, Biology
  • 2020: Dr. Kelly Dillon, Communication & Digital Media
  • 2019: Dr. Michael Daiga, Education
  • 2018: Dr. Brooke Wagner, Sociology
  • 2017: Dr. Nancy Woehrle, Psychology
  • 2016: Dr. Kate Polak McDonald, English
  • 2015: Dr. Amber Burgett, Biology
  • 2014: Dr. Julius Bailey, Philosophy
  • 2013: Dr. Richard Phillips, Biology

The Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching: The Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching is presented in recognition of superior classroom teaching and contributions to the academic life of the students and faculty of Wittenberg University. This award is given by alumni and is the highest award a member of Wittenberg University's faculty can receive. Click Here for complete list.

  • 2024: Dr. Amy McGuffey, Education
  • 2023: Dr. Matt Collier, Biology
  • 2022: Dr. Sally Brannan, Education
  • 2021: Dr. Cynthia Richards, English
  • 2020: Dr. Brian Yontz, Education
  • 2019: Dr. Elizabeth George, Physics
  • 2018: Dr. Adam Parker, Mathematics
  • 2017: Dr. Jeffrey Brookings, Psychology
  • 2016: Dr. John Ritter, Geology & Environmental Science
  • 2015: Dr. Robin Inboden, English
  • 2014: Dr. Catherine Egley Waggoner, Communication
  • 2013: Dr. Wendy Gradwohl, Business

The Collegium Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching is an annual award that recognizes outstanding teaching as well as a faculty member's commitment to growing and improving as a teaching scholar. It is the only teaching award at Wittenberg that is awarded by the faculty itself. Any faculty member who has taught at Wittenberg for at least three years is eligible for this award.

2024: Dr. Scot Hinson, English

2024 Award Announcement

The Faculty Development Board is pleased to announce that this year's Collegium Award winner is Dr. Scot Hinson.

Scot joined the English department at Wittenberg in 1995 and teaches courses in expository writing, Modern and Contemporary American literature, American Gothic literature, film and literature, and Cinema Studies.

One peer comments, "I have always marveled at Scot’s meticulous planning and his way of interweaving the texts he chooses with his overarching themes and theories. I also know that year after year, his courses attract students, and students rave about the courses once in them."

Student evaluations and comments reaffirm Scot's excellence in teaching. One student shared that the deep discussion Scot facilitates in his courses, "... promoted a kind of learning rarely seen in higher education and education in general. It is a special kind of ability and consideration that enables that kind of deep reflection in students, enough to show them how to live their life to the best of their ability. The course's design helps students to become their very best possible selves."

Scot has continued to innovate his teaching in unique and impactful ways. In his own words, "Over the past several years I have increasingly incorporated art into the study of poetry and fiction. I use drawing, collage, assemblage art, painting, and silhouettes to help students understand and interpret literature. In more and more of my classes we study a variety of art forms including painting, photography, dance, installations, etc., as visual analogs to literature." As one peer noted, Scot is providing his students with an experience that undoubtedly "enriches and broadens their lives."

  • 2023: Dr. Michael Anes, Psychology
2023 Award Announcement

Dr. Michael Anes, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology, joined the Wittenberg faculty in 2004. During his time at the University, Michael has consistently demonstrated creativity, dedication, and compassion in his teaching. The Faculty Development Board (FDB) was particularly impressed with his commitment to an atmosphere of openness in the classroom. Michael comments: “Openness is important in general for student learning but is also a prerequisite for discussion of sometimes sensitive topics, which are often close to the student experience.”

Student and peer evaluations reaffirmed his excellence in teaching with one student commenting on his course “Psychology of Gender:”

"I would, and have, strongly recommend this course! Dr. Anes' passion for what he is teaching truly rubs off on his students; He makes this class an inviting and engaging atmosphere for his students to learn. He also genuinely cares and respects his students as individuals, and does everything in his power to help them succeed.

One faculty peer evaluator also commented:
"Dr. Anes engaged students in a range of personal and educative conversations that helped to set the stage for a highly interactive class session until the end to draw out student understanding and promote engagement…He was supportive and encouraging of student’s answers to questions; even incorrect answers received praise and constructive redirection. Students seemed to respond well to this support."

Michael's research interests include visual cognition, specifically in the processes by which humans recognize objects and faces. In addition to teaching and researching, he also co-directs "Wittenberg in Poland," a summer study abroad program, with Heather Wright, associate professor of political science. Moreover, Michael is the co-director of the FY 2023 Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) grant, “Exploring the tension between democratic pluralism and nationalistic exclusion of the ‘other,” an award funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

A Fulbright U.S. Scholar, Michael previously conducted research in cognitive neuroscience in Poland during the 2010-11 academic year with the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw. He received his B.A. in communications from DePaul University in 1991, his M.A. in psychology from Michigan State University in 1996, and his Ph.D. in psychology from Boston University in 2000.

  • 2022: Ms. Erin Hill, Education; Dr. Danny Marous, Chemistry
2022 Award Announcement

Erin was hired as an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Education Department in 2018 after 20 years of teaching high school English. As an experienced practitioner, Erin has demonstrated passion, creativity, organization, and hard work in her teaching since joining Wittenberg. Erin herself comments: “I feel a tremendous sense of pressure to do this work well… I don’t think that means I need to have all the answers, but I should certainly know how to listen to students, organize a class, create community, lead a meaningful discussion, and provide opportunities for authentic learning.”

Student evaluations sing the highest praise almost unanimously and in every category. One faculty peer evaluator commented:

"Erin’s class left me inspired and energized because of the intentionality of her discussion plans and her willingness to walk the tightrope of letting students discover all the things she wants them to discover as they do their work. She gives each student space to share things with her, whether about the class or about their lives. I observed a teacher at the top of her game."

Another noted: “I have yet to see a more skilled teacher on our campus.”

Danny is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department and has been at Wittenberg since 2017. Danny thoughtfully engages his students with his creative, interactive Chemistry lessons and his sincere concern for students’ lives. Danny reflects about “how incredibly motivating it is to have a teacher who deeply cares about the subject matter and the student as an individual person.”

Student evaluations echo the highest possible praise consistently over his career and in every category. One student commented “Despite this class being at 8:00am, I look forward to coming here every day. Dr. Marous makes learning interesting and fun, so I enjoy being here. This is by far my favorite class this semester.”

One peer evaluator concludes:

"Dr Marous has built an instructional environment that is highly conducive to learning…There was constant participation… the class session was designed to capture and maintain students’ attention…This is the best class I have ever been a part of as a student, instructor, or peer evaluator. Dr Marous did so many things well that I am 1) in awe and 2) self-conscious about my own teaching."

  • 2021: Dr. Cherie Rebar, Nursing
2021 Award Announcement

The Collegium Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching is an annual award that recognizes outstanding teaching as well as a faculty member’s commitment to growing and improving as a teaching scholar. The FDB is pleased to announce that this year’s Collegium Award is Cherie Rebar.

Cherie joined Wittenberg’s fledgling Nursing Department in August 2016 and has been key to its growth. Students and colleagues attest to her commitment to student success. She describes her aim as preparing “curriculum, courses, and activities for [students] that are current, evidence-based, and applicable to current nursing practice.” To make her courses  relevant, for example, she recently developed a telehealth exercise for her students.

A colleague wrote in support of her nomination: “Dr. Rebar capitalizes on each student’s liberal arts education by connecting nursing education concepts to courses taken, or that will be taken, while a student at Wittenberg. This fosters a sense of holism in the ways in which Nursing students approach patient-centered, evidence-based Nursing practice.”

Among her accomplishments, she is co-author of Medical-Surgical Nursing: Concepts for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, a popular medical-surgical Nursing textbook. She recently completed a post-master’s certificate in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner studies at the University of Cincinnati and is on target to complete her Certified Nurse Educator certification in early 2021.

In her personal statement, Cherie speaks powerfully about her dedication to preparing students for a career in nursing. In the innovative spirit of the Collegium Award, she states: “It means never taking for granted that what I taught last year, last semester, or even last week as the most accurate information. I must constantly stay vigilant to share the most credible evidence-based information that will help my students become compassionate, considerate, and competent nurses who provide holistic care.”

  • 2018: Dr. Cynthia Richards, English
  • 2016: Dr. Justin Houseknecht, Chemistry
  • 2015: Dr. Darlene Brooks Hedstrom, History; Dr. Rick Incorvati, English
  • 2013: Dr. Heather Wright, Political Science
  • 2012: Dr. Stefne Broz, Communication

The Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching: recognizes the highest level of teaching excellence by a visiting or adjunct faculty member at Wittenberg University.

  • 2024: Dr. Veronica Torres
2024 Announcement

Dr. Torres is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. She teaches courses in Spanish and in Latin American Literatures and Cultures. Verónica's energetic and fast-paced teaching style is highly engaging and features a wide variety of activities and pedagogical techniques.

One peer highlights Verónica's unique contributions to Wittenberg through "... the course she initiated, developed, and has taught multiple times on Latinx Diversity in the U.S. – a course which fulfills the Connections Curriculum US diversity requirement and which adds an immensely valuable cultural learning opportunity on campus. A number of heritage speakers and students of Hispanic descent have let me know how particularly meaningful the course has been for them."

Verónica's courses come highly recommended by students. One colleague described how a rising senior told them "completely unprompted that Dr. Torres’ Latinx Diversity in the United States course from her first year at Wittenberg has been her favorite during her college career and that if she could take it again, she would."

Another student noted how Verónica clearly "cared about students' learning and their success. She created other ways of learning and promoted outside opportunities to better their understanding and cultural exchange. Students who take the course will leave with a greater understanding of the language and of the varying aspects of culture."

  • 2021: Dr. Stephanie Eveland Parrott, Chemistry
2021 Award Announcement

The Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching recognizes the highest level of teaching excellence by a visiting or adjunct faculty member at Wittenberg University. The FDB is pleased to announce that this year’s Provost’s Awardee is Stephanie Eveland Parrott.

Stephanie has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department since Fall 2019. In this short amount of time, she has made significant contributions to her department. In addition to teaching several new courses, she navigated successfully in the past year the challenges of pivoting to remote and hyflex teaching while providing guidance to the rest of the department in these endeavors. Additionally, she has mentored summer research students, formed a reading group on women in science, and served as advisor to the Chemistry Club. In all these activities, “She has a clear passion to help her students succeed,” her nomination letter reads. Stephanie further attests to that commitment: “Over the years, I have learned to be a resource to students, and I aim to temper my high expectations for academic excellence with humility, compassion, and patience. I try to connect chemistry to life outside of the classroom and aim to promote personal growth by giving students the skills to take ownership of their success.”

  • 2020: Ms. Kim Anderson, English
  • 2019: Dr. Daniel Marous, Chemistry
  • 2018: Dr. Sha'Dawn Battle, English
  • 2016: Dr. Cara do Amaral, World Languages & Culture
  • 2015: Dr. Joshua Paddison, History
  • 2014: Dr. Sunny Jeong, Business

The Matthies Award: recognizes worthy teachers and their work:

  • 2023: Mr. Michael Daiga, Education
  • 2022: Dr. Kelly Dillon, Communication & Digital Media
  • 2021: Dr. Carolyn Gersch, Nursing
  • 2019: Dr. Sha'Dawn Battle, English
  • 2018: Dr. Brian Yontz, Education
  • 2017: Mr. Scott Dooley, Art
  • 2014: Dr. Cynthia Richards, English
  • 2012: Dr. Steven Bogaerts, Computer Science
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