Teaching is not merely about imparting facts and figures to students. Truly great teachers also share their passion for the subject they teach with the hope of inspiring students to achieve greatness and to discover their own passions in life. The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University is pleased to recognize four incredible teachers who do just that with the annual Outstanding Teaching Award.

The winners of the 2011 Outstanding Teaching Award are Huey Hannah Lin, Jo Ann Dadisman and Jane Donovan.

Department of Foreign Languages J. Vance and Florence Highland Johnson Teaching Assistant Professor Huey Hannah Lin, or Lin Laoshi as she is known by her devoted students, built the Chinese Studies Program from scratch.

In line with her student-oriented approach to teaching, she takes into consideration the students’ needs in the design of curriculum, course content and the interactivity of courses. When she first offered Chinese 101 in Fall 2006, two students enrolled in the course. She now has almost 40 students majoring in Chinese Studies and a total of more than 120 students enrolled in Chinese language and culture classes. She has developed three summer study abroad programs and three long-term study abroad programs, including two full exchange programs. Lin has taught 14 different courses throughout her WVU career, is the advisor for the Chinese Club and holds a Chinese Table every week in the Mountainlair to provide students with a chance to practice their Chinese conversational skills outside of class.

She explains that her teaching is guided by “the belief that there is a perfect balance point that allows the teacher to be not only caring and fair but also demanding.”

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and both her master’s and her doctorate from The Ohio State University.

“I am thankful for the college’s recognition of my work during the last five years,” Lin said. “This honor has instilled an even greater sense of responsibility in me—to be more innovative in my teaching and more inspiring as a teacher.”

“I believe that the nurturing of humanity is the core value in education. It is a profound joy for me to witness our students communicating with and understanding people from a completely different language and cultural background. I would like to share this honor with all my teaching assistants, who selflessly support and share my students-first philosophy.”

Jo Ann Dadisman believes in the power of stories.

During her 42-year teaching career, including 20 years at WVU, she has helped hundreds of students, colleagues, and teachers discover the power of the story as they create and define their own personal and professional narratives.

She is directly involved in course development and assessment. She edits the standard text for English 103 and teaches multiple sections of the course annually. She also teaches Approaches to Teaching Composition in Middle and High School, a required course for all English Education majors.

“I remember a special week in August 1990 when I stepped into Armstrong Hall to teach English 102 at WVU for the first time,” Dadisman said.

“I sensed the electricity that filled the air then and have felt it each subsequent semester. That energy was a promise of new beginnings—new connections to be made and new challenges to be met—and has been inspiring me for 20 years.”

Dadisman interacts with numerous teachers around the state as co-director of the National Writing Project, a project that emphasizes the value of writing at all ages and across all disciplines. The program currently serves 200 teachers in the Northern West Virginia network. She also co-teaches the National Writing Project Summer Institute at WVU, a four-week intensive program for selected teachers who wish to promote writing across disciplines and grade levels.

She received her master’s in English education from WVU and her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Shippensburg University.

“As my final semester of teaching draws to a close, I am deeply grateful to my students, colleagues and college for recognizing me as a ECA&S Teacher of the Year.”

Religious Studies Program Lecturer Jane Donovan has a history of inspiring students through her dynamic classroom presentations. She believes in involving students in their learning, not just through lectures but through artwork, music, film and television clips, and even dramatic performance.

She created and taught the course Christianity in America, created special topics seminars including Theology of the Apocalypse and End Times, and developed the course Historical Theology. She has also developed several independent studies for students who wished to explore a topic more deeply than current course offerings permit.

In one of the most memorable moments in her Christianity in America, Donovan stages a reenactment of a Second Great Awakening camp meeting, recruiting current and former students to participate by simulating “conversion experiences” such as fainting spells, uncontrolled dancing, shouting, barking, and thrashing on the floor. It makes for a historically accurate and unforgettable cacophony of religious noise that brings the lesson to life.

She received her Doctor of Ministry degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary.

“It is a great privilege to teach at WVU, and I am deeply honored by this award,” she said. “As a WVU alumna, I experienced firsthand the difference that a dedicated teacher can make in the life of a college student and I do my best to follow in the footsteps of the people who taught me here.”

For more information, contact Brenda Riggle, operations coordinator for the Eberly College’s Dean’s Office, at (304) 293-4611 ext: 5200 or briggle@wvu.edu.


CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
304-293-7405, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.