Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2006

Faculty Award winner

Rani Vajravelu

 College of Sciences

 Biology

My goal in teaching is to promote student success without compromising quality education. I use an interactive teaching style in all my courses, which range from large non-major to small-enrollment Honors and upper division classes. I create a learning environment that is mutually enjoyable for the teacher and the student. My students start out the semester expecting a traditional teacher-centered classroom, but eventually realize their responsibility and value as learners. I make my expectations and course objectives clear, and I outline the ways we, as a team, can achieve the goals for quality education.

I ensure that I present a professional demeanor and follow the rules that I lay down for the class. I employ a variety of teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles. I involve the students by: creating learning communities; being enthusiastic about course content; allowing students to actively participate; and providing instant feedback to allow for corrections. I use humor and real-life anecdotes to spark student interest and to make my presentations intellectually engaging.

I feel that teachers have the power to affect the lives of students. Besides disseminating information, teachers have the responsibility to create informed citizens and to prepare them for real future careers. Such an education should be a fun experience, not a burden, so students can leave the course with confidence and a deeper appreciation of knowledge regardless of their final course grade.