Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2014

Faculty Award winner

Premila Whitney

 College of Rosen

 Tourism, Events, and Attractions

My pedagogical philosophy is the belief that adults learn best when they are able to actively participate in the learning process. I firmly believe everyone can learn more from each other than they can on their own. Because of this I practice active learning and strive to maintain an energetic, interactive, and safe classroom. Teaching is not about lecturing students; rather it is about presenting concepts, theories, materials, and practical work in ways that allow students to integrate the information into their own life experiences. This is accomplished through interactive lectures, interactive question and answer sessions, and, in particular, heavy class participation and writing assignments.

I assert that the classroom should be an environment which encourages and welcomes all ideas, questions, and comments. Students should not be afraid to ask questions in or outside of the classroom. At the same time, I do believe adults must be taken outside of their personal comfort zones in order to spark a higher degree of learning. It is my belief that if we become too stagnant or comfortable in our surroundings, learning cannot take place. Because of this belief, while lecturing, I frequently walk around the classroom to help keep students alert and responsive. I do my best to learn each student’s first name so that I can randomly call upon them for input on the topics being discussed. I believe this approach fosters an energetic, interactive, yet safe classroom environment.

In addition to being concerned about the classroom environment, I emphasize critical thinking and real-world applications. To promote students’ critical thinking skills, I challenge them with practical event management problems. They are required to think and creatively respond to said problems as if the issue at hand were their own. Additionally, it is important to positively engage students in embracing diversity in the classroom since they will encounter it during real world experiences. For example, when planning and executing events within my event management class, it is mandatory for students to participate in brainstorming activities, listen to and consider all suggestions, and attempt to remove all biases they may have in order to plan an event that will be impactful for the intended audience. As an instructor, I am responsible for creating an environment where new and old ways of thinking are welcomed and challenged, so that ultimately, students will leave my classroom with a new perspective and an appreciation and tolerance of others.

I believe that teachers have a duty to their profession, their students, and themselves. Fulfilling this duty requires that instructors never stop learning, evaluating their performance among colleagues and students, and leading by example in and outside the classroom. If this teaching philosophy allows me to impart some of these ideals to my students, then I can consider myself a success as an instructor.