CLAS announces 2014-2015 Collegiate Teaching Awards

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has announced six recipients of the 2014-2015 Collegiate Teaching Awards. The recipients, chosen by the College’s Teaching Awards Committee from nominations by students and colleagues, are Christopher Cheatum (Chemistry), Andrew Forbes (Biology), Naomi Greyser (Rhetoric and English), Rosemary Moore (History), Aaron Stump (Computer Science), and Teresa Treat (Psychology). In addition, Elana Bruch (Anthropology) was named as an honorable mention.

“These awards are the highest recognition the College gives to faculty for their teaching,” said CLAS Dean Chaden Djalali. “In addition to their outstanding classroom instruction, these  teachers mentor students, innovate in our course offerings, and involve students in research. I am delighted to honor the commitment of our Collegiate Teaching Award winners to our academic mission.”

Christopher CheatumChristopher Cheatum, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, teaches undergraduate and graduate chemistry courses. He works diligently to expose students to different research interests and engaging examples of chemistry, and was instrumental in establishing an Honors section of the Principles of Chemistry course sequence, a course for which he is particularly well known. He begins each 8:30 a.m. session with his signature opening: “Good morning, everyone. It’s a beautiful day for chemistry.” Comments on student evaluations evidence Cheatum’s outstanding enthusiasm for his field of study, prompting a colleague to note, “Even students who are not naturally inclined toward chemistry find themselves drawn to the subject by Professor Cheatum’s extraordinary teaching ability.”

Andrew ForbesAndrew Forbes, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, studies the origins and maintenance of insect diversity, with a focus on plant-feeding and parasitic insects. Forbes is the co-director of the Environmental Sciences program, serves on the Learning Spaces Committee, regularly attends Center for Teaching events, and is an active member of the Iowa City Darwin Day Committee. He is also a gifted mentor. A current PhD student said Forbes’ lab serves as an “intellectual home” to many students. Forbes believes strong empathy leads to successful teaching. As one colleague says, he “instantly puts students at ease” by frequently acknowledging that he is still very much a student himself, and hopes he always will be.

Naomi GreyserNaomi Greyser is an assistant professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and English and also teaches courses in Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies. Her research and teaching interests include nineteenth-century U.S. literatures; affect studies; critical race, gender, and sexuality studies; the rhetorical arts; and American studies. Greyser’s students leave her classes as inspired by histories of resistance to oppression as they are sobered by America’s violent legacies. Her classroom strikes an unusual balance between rigorously honing students' critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, and attending to inquiry as a lived experience—where students find their curiosity, ambition, writing anxiety and unknowing taken seriously as part of the curriculum. One colleague writes that her contact with students is characterized “not only by expertise, but by an exceptional degree of caring, personal interest, and guidance.”

Rosemary MooreRosemary Moore, lecturer in the Departments of History and Classics, studies Greek and Roman history and military history. She draws from her own personal experience in the military to contextualize subject matter for her students, and is particularly skillful at engaging students in hands-on activities. Moore believes that “telling is not teaching”, and students call her “a superb elicitor of discussion” and “an ideal professor” who knows each of her students’ names. One colleague refers to her as “fantastic at one-on-one teaching.” Many students remember instances where Moore offered invaluable guidance and mentorship, even with projects for which she was not the primary advisor.

Aaron StumpAaron Stump, professor in the Department of Computer Science, studies computational logic and programming languages theory, and co-leads the UI Computational Logic Center. Last year, Stump made a major revision to his undergraduate Programming Language Concepts class, switching the mainstream functional programming language taught in class to an advanced research language called Agda. Stump further challenges his students with intellectually demanding homework assignments, often in the form of puzzles. One former student remembers these assignments by saying, “This lesson of ‘getting to the answer’ was far more valuable than ‘knowing the answer’.” Stump comfortably welcomes students’ feedback on his teaching and distributes an informal midterm professor evaluation. Students highlight his thoughtful and enthusiastic teaching style, and several name his courses as the best they’ve taken in their careers at the UI.

Teresa TreatTeresa Treat is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, whose research interests include clinical-cognitive science, acquaintance-initiated sexual aggression, and disordered eating. Treat is a highly sought-after graduate mentor within her department. She offers her students rigorous professional training and a tremendous level of support, but additionally, Treat frequently publishes papers with her students as first authors. Of 21 papers she has published in the past five years, 16 of them are first authored by current or former students. Colleagues and students say Treat conveys “enormous enthusiasm” and devotion in her teaching. One student said of her mentorship experience, “The highlight of each week for me is the hour or so I spend with Dr. Treat.”

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.