Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2010

Faculty Award winner

Bruce M. Wilson

 College of Sciences

 Political Science

I see teaching as a multi-faceted endeavor where the role of the teacher is to provide students with excellent training in Political Science, to equip them with the skills to succeed in their careers, and to become lifelong learners. In my classes, I emphasize critical-thinking and writing skills and expose students to a diverse and global political world while facilitating student-centered learning through interactive assignments, small online discussion groups, and research projects.

I also see myself as a lifelong learner and regularly attend and benefit from FCTL workshops and national teaching conferences to learn new technologies and teaching techniques. Because I believe teaching and learning outcomes should be evaluated in a systematic manner, I frequently seek and obtain funding to assess what students actually learn in my classes, and I evaluate how well they learn from different learning environments.

I believe it is important to disseminate and broadcast the pedagogical research findings from these studies and to incorporate the results in my own class design. For example, results produced through years of co-authored research have been incorporated into an ongoing redesign of the department’s GEP course. The lessons learned about online discussions and student-centered assignments formed the starting point for the creation of a large, student-centered online section to enhance student interaction, learning, and retention rates. These results have also allowed us to understand useful teaching techniques that we have been able to apply to other courses.

I believe exposing undergraduate students to the research process is an enormous learning opportunity. I include undergraduates in my research wherever possible. I have trained and supervised students as editorial assistants for a peer-reviewed journal I edited, sought and funded undergraduate research assistants, and helped establish and edit UCF’s Undergraduate Research Jo