The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences named six recipients of the Collegiate Teaching Awards for 2016-2017. The awardees, chosen by the college’s Teaching Awards Committee from nominations by students and colleagues, are Rebecca Blair (Rhetoric), Ronald McMullen (Political Science), R. Tyler Priest (History, Geographical & Sustainability Sciences), Eric Stone (Theatre Arts), Stephen Voyce (English), and Joshua Weiner (Biology).
Dean Chaden Djalali hailed the commitment to innovation and excellence in teaching exemplified by the award recipients.
“These faculty members are all outstanding teachers, and I am proud that they are in our college, working with our students,” Djalali said. “Great teachers do more than classroom teaching. They are mentors and role models who care deeply about the personal as well as academic development of their students. That is true of these individuals, and I am delighted that their passion and commitment are being recognized.”
Dr. Rebecca Blair, Lecturer in the Department of Rhetoric, joined the UI faculty in 2012. In addition to courses in rhetorical theory and practice within the disciplines, her interdisciplinary interests have been represented through her teaching of graduate and undergraduate courses on, among other topics, Early American Literary Culture, American Romanticism and Realism, Classical Myth and Literature, Early and Modern World Literatures, American Women’s History, The Harlem Renaissance, and Iowa History. In addition, she is collaborating with the UI Honors Program to develop Honors Rhetoric courses in self-discovery. A contributing research partner to the Oxford Education Research Symposium at Oxford University (U.K.), her scholarly research concerns the rhetoric of science, writing assessment, interdisciplinary pedagogies, 19th-century American literature and culture, gender in American culture, and the rhetoric of humor.
Ambassador Ronald McMullen of the Department of Political Science is the University of Iowa’s Ambassador in Residence and teaches a variety of courses on comparative politics, diplomacy, and international politics. He is a former career diplomat with over 30 years of experience as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, including serving as ambassador to the State of Eritrea. He has authored many scholarly works, is a three-time recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award, and holds the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.
Associate Professor R. Tyler Priest joined the UI faculty in 2012, with a joint appointment in the Departments of History and Geographical & Sustainability Sciences. His primary interests are in the fields of energy, environmental, global, business, and public history. He is the honors director in the Department of History and co-creator of the popular, innovative, and interdisciplinary Big Ideas course, “The History and Science of Oil.” A winner of the UI’s Distinguished Achievement in Publicly Engaged Research Award, he is a mentor for students at all levels, erasing the lines between classroom and community.
Associate Professor Eric Stone, the Head of Design in the Department of Theatre Arts, joined the faculty in 2008. He teaches beginning and intermediate undergraduate students, as well as graduate students at all levels, working to inspire and nurture these emerging scenic designers as they study, explore, and analyze the host of possibilities in their designs. Throughout their training—in the classroom, the studio, and one-on-one—he helps students develop their ability to collaborate effectively and to communicate their design ideas with fellow artists and technicians. He has advised 120 designs by MFA and BA students for productions, including 4 large-scale Mainstage productions per year.
Associate Professor Stephen Voyce joined the Department of English in 2011. He is an innovative and energetic teacher and mentor at both the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as an influential scholar in the study of contemporary poetry and poetics, with an emphasis on media history, print culture, and the digital humanities. He teaches courses at all levels, and regularly directs and serves on committees for theses and independent studies. He is also the Director of the Fluxus Digital Collection and a member of the UI’s Digital Studio for the Public Arts and Humanities.
Associate Professor Joshua Weiner of the Department of Biology is a neurobiologist who teaches majors and non-majors alike. He teaches the large and popular course “How the Brain Works (and Why it Doesn’t),” which fulfills a General Education science requirement for students of all majors, as well as advanced courses in neurobiology for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates. He regularly directs research by doctoral candidates, and engages students at all levels in the laboratory, making himself available for one-on-one instruction and mentoring. The associate director for education and outreach of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute, he is actively involved in bringing biology and science to the public.