Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2014

Faculty Award winner

Ray Sturm

 College of Business Administration

 Finance

As an educator, I am simultaneously on two joint and inseparable missions. I am on a mission to serve the students by transforming their lives through the imparting of knowledge and the modeling of intellectual curiosity, but I’m also on a mission to serve the community at large by sending them intelligent, disciplined and respectful individuals.I hold many diverse beliefs about education and teaching, all of which serve both of these missions.

  • I believe that regardless of a person’s chosen endeavor in life, the most likely path to success is through a holistic education that provides students with multiple views of the world.Herein lies the value of the general educational requirements of universities.
  • I believe that part of higher education is a process of certification.Thus, I strive to maintain the integrity of performance metrics and design the standards to the appropriate level of rigor.
  • Yet, I believe that acquiring a college degree is more than just a certification process. I believe a person’s degree also says that the person has the determination and perseverance to succeed at any endeavor to which they apply themselves and that they are capable of meeting the demands that ensue.
  • To be challenged appropriately, I believe that students should be met at their current level of understanding.Once their level is discovered, I then challenge them through a critical analysis of previously learned material and the addition of new material. To do otherwise risks either boring them through excess repetition, or confusing them with material for which they are not prepared.
  • I believe that real understanding occurs through dialogue rather than monologue.Accordingly, my classes are rarely lectures per se, but group discussions during which students are encouraged to ask questions and express their own views of the subject matter.
  • Ultimately, I believe that the purpose of higher education is to help students learn how to learn.The world is perpetually changing and to be effective, we all must change with it.

If I am successful on my joint missions, the result will be people who are not only prepared for a career, but also prepared for life.Because of such preparation, the graduates will be able to contribute to the community through perseverance and respect by making sound decisions based on polished skills of critical thinking and a broad perspective of interrelated studies.Together with my colleagues, my successful missions will hopefully transform individuals to an understanding of how their chosen endeavor in life contributes to the whole.I believe that such understanding is perhaps the most important key to success and satisfaction in life.