Roosevelt University is brimming with talented and passionate faculty members who work hard to provide their students with quality educational experiences. Premiering during the 2017–18 academic year, the Roosevelt University Teaching Awards sought to honor deserving faculty members in three different categories: Innovative Course Design, Research, and Service. According to the official description of the award, "The Roosevelt University Teaching Award honors a faculty member(s) who demonstrates teaching excellence in course innovation in any course mode (face-to-face, online and/or hybrid)."
With peer driven submissions to the Deans Council, department chairs and faculty members were able to nominate their colleagues for this honor based on the criteria provided for each category. The framework for submission included well-designed classroom approaches, interactive learning, instructor-student interaction, assessment of student learning, and peer recommendations. Nominees were awarded points based on these criteria and how effectively they achieved each component.
Below are the award recipients, and their thoughts on the honor and their tenure at Roosevelt:
- Service Award: Kelly Wentz-Hunter
“It is not easy to find a career that brings one happiness, fulfillment and a sense of purpose," Wentz-Hunter said. "However, being a professor at Roosevelt has done that for me. I find that the mission of social justice and inclusion aligns with my personal beliefs and desire to help improve the lives of others. I enjoy learning from my colleagues and the students about many different aspects of life that I would probably not be exposed to it I wasn't at Roosevelt.” Wentz-Hunter works hard to serve her students in her role as director of health professions, and she says she feels honored to have been recognized by her peers.
- Research Award: Norbert Cordeiro
“Teaching is less about knowing everything and more about positive interactions with people. Teaching encourages creativity, problem-solving individually or as a team, and learning from each other — I embrace the curiosity of others because it excites me and gives me the energy necessary to complete my day,” said Cordeiro, who loves the insight of both his students and international colleagues alike. “I also embrace the diversity of our student body because it provides avenues for new ideas, different ways of thinking, creativity, and fosters togetherness. At the end of the day, if one small thing we do can benefit the environment from a conservation standpoint, then maybe we can mitigate pathways toward a more sustainable future.”
- Teaching Award: Marjorie Jolles
Jolles said that her biggest inspiration is her students. “A professor’s teaching is only as good as her students’ learning, so I design my courses and my research based on what I think others want and need to learn. Roosevelt’s social justice mission also inspires my work as a professor, in that it motivates me to ensure my work is relevant and engaged with pressing social, political and cultural issues. My job is not to tell students what to think about these issues, but to help them discover a variety of ways to think about them.”
- Teaching Award: Erin Mackinney
Mackinney finds fulfillment in moments when she knows her time with a Roosevelt alumnus or alumna has impacted or influenced their path. “A happy day is when I hear from them years later in their teaching professions,” Mackinney said. She also appreciates that Roosevelt has allowed her to explore her passion for dual language education. “I was involved in the creation and launch of Roosevelt's Dual Language Teacher Leadership MA program, the only one in the Midwest. I appreciate the innovation and leadership opportunities that come with working at a smaller university.”
- Teaching Award: Daniel Majerczyk
“As a professor, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is engaging and I try to show students my enthusiasm for the subject,” Majerczyk said. “I strive to communicate that enthusiasm and subject knowledge to others in a clear manner. As educators, we must offer choices to our students as we will encounter different types of learners in every class we teach. “ He believes in the power of the classroom as a vehicle for touching many lives, so as to take advantage of “the opportunity to make someone see the world in a different way.”
What’s next for these esteemed award recipients? They will form a committee to maintain the evolution of the Teaching[NB1] and Service awards going forward, ensuring that other faculty members are given proper recognition for their efforts and talents. Perhaps most importantly, however, they’ll continue to be leaders and role models in the dynamic network of educators Roosevelt University calls its own.