Six Win Outstanding Teaching Awards

Gary Creasey

Six members of the College of Arts and Sciences are the recipients of Illinois State University Outstanding Teaching Awards. Gary Creasey, Department of Psychology, has been named a 2010-11 Category 1 Outstanding University Teacher. Carol Lind, Department of English, is the Category 2 Outstanding University Teacher. The Outstanding University Teacher Award is given to faculty whose teaching accomplishments are unusually significant and meritorious among their colleagues. Maria Moore, School of Communication and Jennifer Friberg, Communication Sciences and Disorders each received The Teaching Initiative Award. This award is given to faculty members who have shown considerable promise in teaching early in their careers. Erin Frost, PH.D. candidate in English is the Level 1 Graduate Teaching Award recipient. Lourdes Liliana Fernandez Flores, graduate student in Biology, is the Level 2 Graduate Teaching Award recipient.

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Creasey joined the Psychology department in 1989. He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses; most of his undergraduate students are teacher education majors. Creasey has supervised a number of thesis and dissertation projects and is currently the chairperson of the Illinois State University Urban Teacher Preparation Steering Committee and assistant director of the TEACHER+PLUS grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, for which he mentors faculty members as they redesign their courses with an urban education focus, develops strands of classes that can be taken by teacher candidates interested in pursuing urban teaching careers and conducts assessment/evaluation work on the progress of these students. He authored the textbook, Research Methods in Lifespan Development, has received a number of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) grants and has published several papers in SoTL outlets.

Creasey’s teaching philosophy stresses the importance of forming strong connections with students and infusing culture and diversity in the curriculum, with a strong focus on ethics and social justice.  He has published a number of papers on the topic and has developed a measure that taps student-instructor connectedness. Creasey has included active learning assignments in his classes that allow students to experience these contexts via immersion trips to high-need Chicago schools and neighborhoods. He is also chairperson of the Institutional Review Board and has won two awards from the Illinois State Student Educational Association.

Lind earned her bachelor’s degree in art education and her master’s and doctoral degrees in English Studies from Illinois State. She taught classes in composition while completing her graduate degrees and, upon receiving her doctorate in 2007, began teaching full time as an non-tenure track faculty member in the Department of English. Lind has taught a variety of classes for the department, including British Literature, Introduction to English Studies, Medieval Literature, Growth and Structure of the English language, and Introduction to Literary Genres.

Outside the classroom, Lind is actively involved in The Old English Study Group and serves as faculty adviser for the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and for the Quidditch team. Her teaching philosophy is built upon the firm conviction that passion is contagious. Lind uses humor to build community and to help students become comfortable enough in the classroom to be willing to “play” with the subject matter – whether it be acting out the Norman Conquest of England (complete with swords and crowns and horned helmets) in the History of English class, or doing an American Idol version of Shakespearean sonnets in British Literature. In her philosophy, this sort of play helps students open up to the often very difficult subject matter, while encouraging the collaborative learning and sense of discovery that fosters scholarly passion. While in graduate school, Lind won the English Department’s Taimi Maria Ranta Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Ph.D. Candidate, and she has been named one of the Panhellenic Association Outstanding Professors in 2009 and 2010.

Friberg is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, where she has been on the tenure track since 2006. Since arriving at ISU, she has taught graduate and graduate courses centered upon typical and atypical development of language and literacy skills in young children. Friberg routinely serves as supervisor for her graduate students’ clinical efforts, helping to tie course content to clinical practice. Additionally, she has served as a mentor for over fifty graduate and undergraduate students over the last five years, assisting in the completion of honors, independent study, thesis, and dissertation projects. As an instructor committed to investigating the effectiveness of various teaching methods, Friberg has published work related to her research on teaching and learning. She has made numerous presentations at regional, state, and national conferences in the last four years to share her research outcomes. Friberg is currently serving as the national coordinator for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Special Interest Group on Issues in Higher Education, and in this capacity represents the professional interests of faculty in communication sciences and disorders programs across the country.

The cornerstones of Friberg’s teaching philosophy are grounded in engaging students, facilitating lifelong learning, and encouraging collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the learning process. Staying true to this philosophy, she has endeavored to make the community her classroom, and as worked with students to facilitate the completion of two large-scale service-learning projects, both of which meshed with course content while providing a venue to apply learning to real community needs. Friberg has won teaching awards from several Illinois State University student organizations, including the Student Speech-Language Hearing Association (2007, 2010), Red Tassel/Mortarboard (2007, 2010), and the Panhellenic Association (2009, 2010).

Moore is an assistant professor of communication law and media ethics in the School of Communication at ISU. She received her Ed.D from National Louis University Chicago. With a 25-year career as a senior media manager and journalist, she brings workplace relevancy and professional experience to her teaching. She is an Emmy Award winning producer of documentaries and is also the recipient of awards from the New York Festival and the Chicago Film Festival. She mentors journalism, interactive media, television, and radio students aspiring to work in media, and initiated a capstone experience this spring for students graduating in a new sales and marketing sequence.

Her students describe her as caring, passionate, and creative and express deep appreciation for her course design that brings relevant information and case studies to her classes. Moore comes to her teaching responsibilities with a belief that each student is unique, and must be allowed meaningful experiences designed with purposeful intent within an environment of respect to grow through their own singular process. She sees the teacher as a facilitator, helper or partner participating with the community of student-learners who are highly individualized. Within her collaborative,
provocative, and supportive classroom, learning takes place through experiential and relevant discovery and is unique to the situation or problem and to each learner. She highlights student strengths and motivates them with kindness and respect to reach for their highest level of creativity.

Frost is a graduate student working on a PhD in English Studies. She holds bachelor degrees in journalism and composition from Truman State University, and she completed her masters in Professional Writing and Rhetorics at Illinois State University in Spring 2009. During the time she was working on her MA, Frost was also working as an investigative reporter and news editor at The Courier newspaper in Lincoln. During her tenure there, she received first place awards for news reporting, editorial excellence, and general excellence as well as honors in innovative project design and photography from the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association. Frost brings her journalism experience into the classes she teaches, which include Professional & Technical Writing and Composition as Critical Inquiry. Students study publication design as visual composition and engage with the idea of writing in public spaces.

Frost’s teaching philosophy is based on being proactive, critical, and community-oriented. Her proactive and critical theory approaches encourage students to see the traditional classroom structure—including the teacher’s authority—as a meta-text for applying critical inquiry, which leads them into using the skills they learn in other areas of their lives. To work toward engagement in classroom, local, and global communities, Frost’s students often use social media as platforms for writing. Frost encourages students to take their work outside the classroom by helping them prepare to present at conferences, including, for example, the upcoming first annual English Studies at Large conference on February 12. Frost’s contributions to the scholarly community include presentations at conferences ranging from international to local, and she has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Computers and Composition and the online multimodal journal Xchanges: An Interdisciplinary Technical Communication and Writing Journal. In Spring 2010, Frost received the Sigma Tau Delta Scholarship for Outstanding Service and Leadership in English Studies. Frost is set to graduate in 2013 and plans to continue working as a university-level instructor.

Lourdes Liliana Fernandez Flores has been a teaching assistant for the School of Biological Sciences since January of 2009. She received her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Missouri State University and is currently working to complete her Master’s degree at Illinois State University.  As a teaching assistant for the laboratories of Microbiology and Society (BSC 160) and Animal Physiology (BSC 283), Flores has focused on establishing a strong instructor-student relationship, offering diverse active learning experiences, and relating material to students’ lives. Students’ comments on course evaluations often characterize Flores as cheerful, approachable, helpful inside and outside of class, straightforward, and striving to make the best use of the students’ time. Flores is very proud to be an educator at Illinois State University and continues to seek out opportunities to teach a variety of courses and improve her teaching skills. She credits her faculty mentors, parents, fellow teaching assistants, and professional development opportunities at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, for her success as a teacher.

All six will be honored during the Founders Day Convocation on Thursday, February 17 at 2 p.m. in the Brown Ballroom.

Teaching Award Candidates

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