Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2017

Faculty Award winner

Keri Watson

 College of Arts and Humanities

 School of Visual Arts & Design

An integral part of a liberal arts education, art history provides students with a visual narrative of historical styles, demonstrates how different styles operate within the socio-political atmosphere of their making, and teaches students the skills they need to navigate an increasingly visual world.

My aim is to introduce students to the significant issues of my discipline and enable them to put these issues into a broader, global context. By stimulating active learning through team-building exercises, student-centered learning activities, and the effective application of games, I strive to create an atmosphere that not only facilitates comprehension of course content, but also fosters a desire for life-long learning.

The ability to work effectively with others is a critical skill for today’s students. As such, I break classes into groups who work together to produce semester-long collaborative projects. These projects have several components—visual, written, oral, and hands-on—that provide students with opportunities to utilize different learning styles and skills. Working with others fosters interpersonal growth and development and stimulates interest in course content.

I also help students develop their writing and rhetorical skills by requiring multiple and various styles of written and oral assignments. Journaling helps keep students engaged with the material while also developing critical thinking skills. In-class writing assignments and discussions provide students with the opportunity to “think on their feet.” Students write formal analyses of pieces not included in the text or previously covered in lecture and discuss them with a partner before sharing with the class. Think-pair-share exercises provide students with the opportunity to apply terms and knowledge to new and unfamiliar material.

I believe in fostering diversity and respect for differences. I have found role-play and alternate reality games help students identify with others and make abstract or foreign concepts easier to comprehend. Similarly, curation assignments demonstrate the impact of point of view on the interpretation of art.

I am committed to providing a learning environment that is both stimulating and rigorous. I believe in empowering students and providing opportunities for various learning styles to be nurtured and developed. Above all, I treat students with respect. For all my classes, regardless of size, I pride myself on getting to know my students and treating them as individuals. Students reward my commitment to them by committing themselves to the furtherance of their education.