Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2014

Faculty Award winner

William Russell

 College of Education and Human Performance

 School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

I became a teacher because I wanted to have a positive impact on students’ lives. To ensure that I positively impact students, I follow three basic beliefs:

I believe students have different learning styles which require various instructional strategies, methods, and techniques.

I believe that the information should be relevant and meaningful to students’ everyday lives.

I believe that students learn and appreciate knowledge when it is presented in an appropriate manner and in a safe and welcoming environment.

The courses I teach are designed to align with my basic beliefs system. I offer an array of classroom activities that meet the individual needs of my students. This differentiated instruction is designed to meet all learning styles, but also make the content more relevant and meaningful to the students’ everyday lives. I assess students with a variety of traditional (e.g. exams) and non-traditional assessment techniques (e.g. rubrics, checklists, and observation). I also encourage active participation which allows students to feel safe and comfortable to share personal opinions, ideas, and beliefs. I strive to be a role model and lead by example. I attempt to adhere to the idea that actions speak louder than words. I attempt to foster an environment that enables students to develop much need skills (e.g. decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, and critical-thinking skills,) that are prevalent in social studies education.

By encouraging students to work hard and develop necessary thinking skills, students are better prepared to take on the difficult and admirable job of a teacher. Students want to learn, and positive interactions with faculty help produce a higher quality of learning. I teach from the heart and with passion. I believe that this sincere and genuine interest, love, and appreciation for teaching encourages students to participate in their own learning to become active life-long learners and reflective educators.