Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2012

Faculty Award winner

Denise Gammonley

 College of Health and Public Affairs

 School of Social Work

My teaching is inspired by the work of Paulo Freire. I strive to create a sense of shared community within the classroom by promoting thoughtful dialogue, critical reflection, and acquisition of empirically based knowledge. My teaching goes beyond lessons about intervention strategies, research, and theory to incorporate attention to professional values and ethics and developing self-awareness.

In my view, undergraduate instruction should emphasize: (1) genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter and the process of discovery; (2) a classroom environment where both individual and collaborative learning is valued; and (3) opportunities for each student to demonstrate mastery of fundamental content before applying this knowledge creatively to new situations.

As a discipline, social work promotes human rights and well-being. Students enter the field highly motivated to combat oppression and poverty. However, to be competent practitioners they must first learn to take action based on reflection grounded in evidence-based knowledge. As an instructor, I hope to inspire their determination to tackle complex situations, provide them the tools they need to create social change, and help them value the dignity and worth of the individuals and communities they will serve.