President & Provost Award for Teaching Excellence, 2011

John Durham PetersJohn Durham Peters, Baird Professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies, has earned a reputation as a generous and supremely effective teacher and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students alike. He is known for using innovative and interdisciplinary strategies to help students grasp concepts and adopt new perspectives, and for his own boundless intellectual curiosity. He thrives on the challenges of teaching in very different course formats, from first-year seminars to large lecture classes. His many contributions to the curriculum include creating and continuously revising the introduction-to-the-major course "Core Concepts of Communication," and he worked with the Department's Undergraduate Affairs Committee to redesign the undergraduate major. He received the Collegiate Teaching Award in 2007.

Irina KostinaIrina Kostina teaches beginning through advanced courses in Russian language, culture, folklore and history. Believing that a good teacher is "an expert, an artist and an actor," she engages students by fostering a varied and creative environment in which students not only learn through traditional methods such as grammatical drills, but also correspond with Russian pen pals, act out verbs of motion or sing Russian folk songs during breaks between intensive class sessions. Kostina created many of the courses she teaches and has taken the lead in curriculum development for the program. Her work on two U.S. Department of Education grants has helped earn the UI national recognition for teaching innovation, and her advanced Russian textbook is used in multiple countries around the world.