PULLMAN, Wash.— Washington State University faculty members Tahira Probst and Anna Whitehall are the latest recipients of the annual Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching.
First presented in 2013, the award commemorates the high value WSU places on those who teach University Common Requirements (UCORE) general education courses across the university, and who help undergraduates make progress toward achieving WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes.
“The Law Award selection committee was impressed with how both Probst and Whitehall have developed and refined innovative, student-centered pedagogies—ones that are process-oriented, collaborative, experiential, and curiosity-driven,” said William B. Davis, vice provost, at the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement award ceremonies in April.
Probst, a professor of psychology at WSU Vancouver, was cited for being actively engaged in UCORE design and implementation—including assessment—for many years. The committee noted her commitment to the program as evidenced through her teaching practices and outcomes as well as her involvement in service toward general education.
She is said to listen to student feedback about her courses, modifying them to make them meaningful and relevant. She has sought grants to develop easily scalable interventions to instill a growth mindset among students and instructors in math-intensive gateway courses. And she’s committed to using curricular design components to ensure equitable access to all students so they can achieve the learning goals.
Whitehall, a human development professor, was commended by the committee for being a faculty member who does not “rest on her laurels but instead continually strives to improve her craft, embodying the spirit of general education.” She uses a student-centered approach to teach and experiential activities that lead to learning, always encouraging students to integrate and apply course material to real-life situations. She incorporates evaluations to her courses, reads and acknowledges students’ written comments on evaluations, pursues professional development, and contributes to the scholarship of teaching and learning.
The award honors Dick Law, retired English professor who served as a university-wide director of general education from 1990 until his retirement in 2009.
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