College of Liberal Arts and Sciences names Collegiate Teaching Award winners

Alison Bianchi, Megan Gogerty, Kerry Howley, Pilar Marcé, Elizabeth Menninga, and Rachel Young receive the honor
Thursday, February 28, 2019

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has named six recipients of the Collegiate Teaching Award for 2018-2019.

The Collegiate Teaching Award winners, chosen by the college’s Teaching Awards Committee from nominations by students and colleagues, are Associate Professor Alison Bianchi  (Sociology), Lecturer Megan Gogerty (Theatre Arts), Assistant Professor Kerry Howley (English), Lecturer Pilar Marcé (Spanish and Portuguese), Assistant Professor Elizabeth Menninga (Political Science), and Assistant Professor Rachel Young (Journalism and Mass Communication).

Lecturer Rhonda De Cook (Statistics and Actuarial Science) and Assistant Professor Theodore Powers (Anthropology) received Collegiate Teaching Award Honorable Mentions.

Interim CLAS Dean Joseph Kearney said the awards are recognition of the recipients’ dedication to their students’ success.

“Excellent teaching involves much more than classroom instruction,” Kearney said. “Outstanding teachers are also role models and mentors who help their students develop as individuals, citizens, and lifelong learners. Each of these awardees takes that mission to heart, and our college is delighted to formally recognize their pedagogical innovation and their commitment to their profession.”

Alison BianchiAssociate Professor Alison Bianchi joined the faculty in the Department of Sociology in 2007. Her primary research interest is the study of group processes—or how members of a group work together—with an emphasis on structural inequalities within groups. A pioneer in using the university’s TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classrooms, Bianchi brings her research into her undergraduate teaching through strategies designed to ameliorate hierarchies within her classes and increase collaborative learning among students. She also teaches and mentors graduate students, and is director of the Center for the Study of Group Processes. Her work was featured in the Extraordinary Teaching Project, a 2015 initiative of the UI Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology.

Megan GogertyLecturer Megan Gogerty has taught in the Department of Theatre Arts since 2008, and also advises Theatre Arts majors. She created and teaches some of the department’s most popular classes, including the General Education courses “Comedy and Society” and “Musical Theatre History,” and revamped one of its capstone courses. A graduate of the Playwriting MFA program at the University of Texas-Austin, Gogerty teaches graduate students through the Playwrights Workshop, as well as undergraduate playwriting courses. Her plays are produced around the world—including a Spanish translation of Bad Panda, which recently completed a five-month run in Mexico City—and she has served as production advisor for seven undergraduate and eight graduate productions.

Kerry HowleyAssistant Professor Kerry Howley joined the Department of English faculty in 2015. A graduate of the department’s top-ranked Nonfiction Writing Program, she is the author of Thrown, which has been translated into several languages and was a New York Times Notable Book, New York Times Editor’s Choice, and pick for best-of-the-year lists in Time, Salon, Slate, and other venues. She is a contributing writer at New York Magazine, and her essays and stories have appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, Granta, and Bookforum. Howley is an innovative instructor of both undergraduate and graduate creative writing, and has mentored many Nonfiction Writing MFA students through their theses.

Pilar MarceLecturer Pilar Marcé has taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese since 2006. Her field of expertise is Language for Specific Purposes (LSP), in particular, Spanish for business and translation. She has created and teaches six popular courses in the department, and has taught more than 30 courses in the past three academic years, often using the UI’s TILE (Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage) classrooms. Her translation students are currently translating into Spanish the biographies of Latinx immigrants that appear in the Migration is Beautiful website, a digital humanities project drawn from the holdings of the Mujeres Latinas collections preserved in the Iowa Women’s Archives in the University of Iowa Libraries.

Elizabeth MenningaAssistant Professor Elizabeth Menninga joined the Department of Political Science in 2015, with primary scholarly interests in international relations and quantitative methodology. With a background in both mathematics and political science, she is a co-organizer and teacher in the UI’s Data Science Institute. She is a faculty affiliate of UI International Programs and the Iowa Informatics Initiative, and teaches departmental courses ranging from the large introductory lecture course for the International Relations major to a small graduate seminar in Network Analysis. Menninga is adept at connecting her coursework to real-world events, using news articles and polls to guide students through statistical and political analysis. She also is known as a caring mentor for students at all levels.

Rachel YoungAssistant Professor Rachel Young came to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2013. A former professional health and science writer/editor, her primary research focus is on health communication. Young teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including “Community Media,” a course she created for the Diversity and Inclusion section of the college’s general education curriculum. She has led students in engaging with Iowa communities on public relations campaigns, including helping the city of Washington, Iowa, pass a ballot initiative. Outside of coursework, she regularly oversees students’ honors projects and serves on graduate thesis and dissertation committees, and she has served as faculty mentor of the Public Relations Students Society of America.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.