The West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences has named four recipients of the 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award: Joshua Arthurs, Rosemary Hathaway, Joseph Lebold and Rachel Stein.

“It’s exciting – indeed an honor – to recognize these four individuals, coming as they do from four different areas of the Eberly College,” said Rudolph Almasy, interim dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “Each is not only a fine representative of what we do, but a model and mentor to so many others – both students and faculty colleagues.”

Joshua Arthurs, associate professor of history and director of graduate studies, challenges his students to question what they already know. Instead of assigning texts built around established narratives of historical events, this method allows his students to look further than often simplified, inflexible ideas about the past.

“Many history courses revolve around the questions of who, what, and where?” one student wrote in a recommendation. “Dr. Arthurs designs his courses around the question of ‘why?’”

His research interests include modern Italy, western and Southern Europe and the commemoration, conflict, political culture and everyday life during the Fascist period. Arthurs received his doctorate in 2007 and master’s degree in 1999 from the University of Chicago, and his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in 1997.

Rosemary Hathaway, associate professor of English, believes flexibility is the key to connecting with students. Keeping a loose hand on the wheel of class activity, she recognizes teachable moments aren’t created, they’re presented through interest and understanding of the texts presented. Her students are forced to confront their own biases and assumptions of texts, because without doing so, they cannot understand how their experiences mesh, or stand apart from, others’.

“It is crucial for me to provide students with the tools and the sense of safety they need to understand why the material I’m teaching is relevant—why it matters and how it speaks to their own experiences,” she said.

Her areas of interest include folklore, young-adult literature, 20th-century American literature and English education. She received her doctorate from The Ohio State University in 1998.

Joe Lebold, teaching assistant professor of geology, keeps his students on their toes by incorporating a dynamic nature of study. By incorporating content from almost every required course in the geology curriculum, he jumps from one topic to another. This keeps students from getting bored with the material, as the focus could shift while still being relevant to his courses. This method was adopted from an unlikely source – his days as a salesman. Communication is everything, and now it helps his students fully engage with his work.

“I try to introduce information in a simple framework, based on observations that anyone can make,” he said. “I then draw upon examples from nature that have a connection to my students’ lives. My goal is to give them the confidence needed to make key observations and interpret the patterns that they see every day.”

His research interests include paleoecology, paleontology and regional geology. He received his doctorate and his bachelor’s degree in geology from WVU in 2005 and 1994, respectively, and his master’s degree in geology from The Ohio State University in 1998.

Rachel Stein, associate professor of sociology, has shifted away from lecture-based teaching. Instead, she has adopted a team-based learning model. Her goal is to promote student learning and provide an element of accountability for students in the classroom to become more aware of their learning processes and to emphasize skills they will continue to use after graduation. Stein feels strongly that students are more likely to care about the course material if they understand why and how the class is relevant to their lives.

“This method is designed to empower student learning,” she said. “If students take responsibility for their learning, they will have a greater learning experience in the classroom.”

Stein’s research has focused primarily on the multilevel analysis of cross-national victimization within a routine activities/lifestyles theoretical framework. Her research also explores the portrayal of violent females in popular film through content analysis. She received her doctorate in 2008 and master’s degree in 2004 in sociology from the University of Akron and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Union College in 2002.



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Director of Marketing and Communication, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

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