Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2012

Faculty Award winner

Robert Cassanello

 College of Arts and Humanities

 History

I teach because I am drawn to the rewards and challenges of teaching. The classroom provides me the opportunity to mentor students, contribute to their intellectual growth, and collaborate with them in the production of original knowledge that shapes the field.

I teach courses on state and local history, modern Southern US history, and the philosophy and methods of history as a distinct discipline. My learning goals and outcomes for my courses are (1) the evaluation of historical content, (2) the synthesis of historical debates and knowledge, and (3) the application of original ideas within a broad body of knowledge.

To achieve my goals I employ a number of methods and strategies. Because my classroom is filled each semester with students who have varied learning preferences and skills, I have found that mixing traditional methods, such as lectures, readings, discussion, research, and writing along with service-learning, team-based learning, and cooperative learning, creates a student-centered learning environment that maximizes the opportunities for differentiated instruction. Although students do engage in content lectures, class discussions, and written assignments, my classes often break into small groups to brainstorm or problem solve or to collaborate on a project with an outside institution such as a historical society or museum in a service-learning project. I believe content is important, and I can deliver content successfully through lectures, readings, and discussions. In addition to these traditional methods, I have found that partnering students with institutions, such as the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, and UCF’s LGBTQ Services, provides them with the means to apply the concepts from class in real-world environments.