The six faculty members receiving this years West Virginia University Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award share a commitment to being accessible to students and to enhancing studentscritical thinking skills.
The honorees will receive their awards Friday, April 6, at a 7 p.m. ceremony in the Mountainlair Ballrooms that is part of WVU ’s Weekend of Honors celebration. Each will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
Making learning interactivesometimes even turning it into a gamehas been a key component in Norman D. Ferraris success at preparing tomorrows doctors.
Dr. Ferrari, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine, created weekly teaching sessions called”professor rounds”in which he gives medical students going through the pediatrics rotation a mini-quiz on a particular theme. Students work on their answers individually, then discuss each question as a group. Students must defend their own answers while learning why other people came to different conclusions.
Ferrari has also developed a Jeopardy -style game to test studentsknowledge and teaches about health care costs using The Price is Right as a model.
A graduate of WVU s Department of Chemistry and School of Medicine, Ferrari joined the WVU faculty in 1986. Since 1990, he has coordinated the schools rural health education programs. He is vice chair for education in the Department of Pediatrics and currently acts as dean of student services. He is a two-time winner of the schools distinguished teacher award and the first winner of the John W. Traubert Award. Students choose a student-centered professor to receive that honor.
Ferrari is a diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He serves on the executive committee of the AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics West Virginia Chapter and was a member of the national committee on medical education awards from 1997 to 2000.
WVU Assistant History Professor Elizabeth Fones-Wolf has an ability to instill critical thinking skills in students.
She is known for her active-learning teaching style and her ability to tie past events in meaningful ways to studentspresent worlds.
For example, in her economic history course, her students write about and share with the class their familiesmigration to America. In her History 53 class, students engage in formal debates over key issues like immigration and the legacies of Vietnam.
Dr. Fones-Wolf came to WVU in 1990 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she was first a teaching assistant and then a teaching fellow in the history department beginning in 1984. She earned a bachelors and masters degrees in history from the University of Maryland, in 1976 and 1979. She earned her history doctorate from the University of Massachusetts in 1990.
Using innovating teaching methods to make nursing education accessible in rural areas has been a major contribution of Associate Professor of Nursing Imogene Foster , a 29-year WVU faculty member.
In her role as coordinator of the Rural Health Nursing Education Program, Foster led the development of an innovative Internet-based community health nursing curriculum for nursing students in the rural health rotation.
In partnership with D. Alex Yohn, she designed and implemented the first web-based course at the HealthSciencesCenter; lectures are available on streaming video.
Dr. Foster earned her bachelor of science in nursing at WVU in 1968 and received her master of arts in guidance and counseling in 1971, a master of science in nursing in 1986 and a doctorate in education in 1993, all from WVU .
She has received awards both on campus and in the local community, including the 1989 Outstanding Teacher Award in the School of Nursing and, most recently, the School of Nursings 2000 Innovative Teaching Award. In 1990, she was recognized for her outstanding service to the Monongalia County Head Start Program.
Discussing complex topics like photons and microelectronics may be difficult for some but Larry Hornak has a gift for making complex topics understandable and enjoyable to WVU students, without compromising the challenging components of the subject material.
In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Hornak is chair of the Biometrics Systems Curriculum Committee. Biometrics is a university-wide, multi-disciplinary degree under the Forensic Identification program �€the first of its kind in the world.
Hornak came to WVU in 1991 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1994. Since 1996, he has directed the MicroelectronicSystemsResearchCenter at WVU .
He was interim chair of the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department from 1996-97, co-interim chair of computer science and electrical engineering from 1997-98, and research director of computer science and electrical engineering from 1999 to the present.
He holds degrees from BinghamtonUniversity and the Stevens Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. from RutgersUniversity.
Hornak has won numerous awards including the National Science Foundations National Young Investigators Award in 1992, among many others. Most recently, he received the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Researcher of the Year Award.
Preparation, planning and a penchant for the learning process are some of the reasons why John Kilwein, political science associate professor, is considered a campus favorite by many students.
He received a bachelor of arts degree in economics and psychology and a master of arts in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in political science from OhioState.
Kilwein strives to be as accessible to students as possible. He maintains long office hours, keeps in regular contact with all his students and does his homework on each students background before appointments.
Kilwein teaches undergraduate courses that are designed to provide students with substantive factual knowledge about the American legal system, as well as theoretical tools that can help explain how this system and its actors behave.
He also teaches a graduate seminar and courses in WVU s Legal Studies Program in Charleston.
His lectures are liberally interspersed with questions, and students are expected to raise issues in class. His reputation is enhanced by his contribution as an advisor and his extensive mentoring of pre-law students.
For Professor of Geology John J. Renton , teaching is all an act�€an act in which the script is carefully rehearsed and never performed the same way twice.
After finding as a beginning faculty member that lecturing from notes left no room for interaction with students, Dr. Renton began approaching teaching as an actor would a one-act play. To this day, he prepares a good script, rehearses it for hours�€then destroys the script to avoid using the same presentation year after year.
Renton began teaching at WVU in 1965, after receiving his master of science and his Ph.D from the University. One of his first responsibilities was to initiate a geochemical program for the department, which had previously had little or no emphasis on geochemical aspects of the natural environment. He is currently the advisor of the bachelor of arts program in environmental geosciences.
In 2000, Renton received the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award. He also was recognized in 1994 by the WVU Chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon with an Outstanding Teacher award.