Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2009

Faculty Award winner

Harry Coverston

 College of Arts and Humanities


At the heart of my teaching philosophy is the principle of engagement. There is much research documenting that students who are not engaged in their own learning do not learn as much. In pursuit of that goal I create a wide range of exercises which I collect and grade designed to help students analyze and apply ideas from the course material. I use group work extensively, often breaking down course material into smaller chunks which groups analyze and report their consensus back to the larger class.


A second focus of my pedagogy is an approach which seeks a deeper understanding of ideas, not the mere collection of data. My questions often focus on why rather than what. Indeed, a favorite response to any point raised in class is simply, “OK, that’s the what. Now, so what? What difference does this make?” My goal is to encourage a critical consciousness of the status quo which is often described as “common sense” — Common to whom? Sensible in what way?


My teaching strategies always contain elements of student accountability. Aside from traditional assessments such as tests and papers, these include students working in groups, evaluating their own efforts, those of their group members and serving as an