Anthropology and Psychology Receives Teaching Kudos

The University Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, awarded annually through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and The University of Arizona Foundation, recognize excellence in teaching on campus.

This year's honorees were announced by Provost Meredith Hay this week. Winners are nominated by members of the UA academic community and will be honored at a luncheon in May.

Provost's Award for Meritorious Departmental Achievement in Undergraduate Instruction

The department of anthropology, part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and one of the longest-standing units at the UA, has more than 500 majors and minors and is actively engaged in teaching 16 general education courses in all three general education focus areas. Anthropology faculty, graduate and undergraduate students work in research activities across Arizona and around the world. An emphasis on hands-on learning is highlighted by the large number of internships mentored and the substantial list of departmental undergraduate scholarships, which support travel to research sites, special experimental analyses and acquisition of materials.

Provost's General Education Teaching Award ($2,500 award)

Elaine Marchello, of the department of veterinary science, has taught the general education course "Human and Animal Interrelationships from Domestication to Present" since 2003. Students describe her classes as being highly engaging. One wrote, "Her excitement was contagious and she taught the class with an air of confidence and expertise. She encouraged and motivated students so that they wanted to excel."

Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, of the department of anthropology, has taught the general education course "Origins of Human Diversity" since 2004. Some of her innovative teaching strategies include taking digital photos of her 100-plus students to help her learn their names, organizing field trips to the Reid Park Zoo and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and meeting individually with students who don't do well on the first exam. One of her students wrote that she "seemed a lot more involved than most. It was easy to tell that ... she was teaching to share this excitement, not just because it was her job."

The Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize – Public Service/Outreach

Trent Teegerstrom, a research specialist in the department of agricultural and resource economics, has consistently demonstrated the commitment, creativity and entrepreneurship necessary to reach out to a diverse clientele, especially small farmers, ranchers and Native Americans throughout Arizona, according to his nominators. During his 12 years on the UA faculty, he has created a nationally recognized program that helps traditionally ignored groups more effectively manage agricultural enterprises and make them profitable. He also has created a wide array of books, extension publications and workshops that provide valuable information used in Arizona and throughout the nation.

The Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize – Research/Scholarship/Creative Activity

Jane Hill, a Regents' Professor of anthropology and linguistics, has had an academic career that spans nearly 50 years, the past 25 of which have been spent at the UA. She is best known for pioneering work that examines sociopolitical investigations of bilingualism, studies of language and political economy, and the field of linguistic ideologies. She has authored eight books, 129 journal articles and book chapters, and numerous other professional publications. Her research has been funded by the American Philosophical Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Science Foundation.

The Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize – Teaching

Alexander Cronin, an associate professor in the department of physics, is known as a passionate and outstanding teacher inside and outside of the classroom. Described in course evaluations by his students as "awesome," "very eloquent" and "one of the best I've had," Cronin has mentored more than 50 undergraduates working on independent research projects in his lab. Cronin is the director of undergraduate studies in the physics department and has advised more than 20 undergraduate students. He also is active in graduate education, organizing teaching assistant training sessions for the department and serving on 40 graduate oral exam committees.

All Koffler prizes include a $10,000 award.

The University of Arizona Foundation Leicester and Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award ($2,500 award)

Felice Bedford, of the department of psychology, has educated more than 7,000 students during her 20-plus years of teaching, with the goal of getting "students to lead a life of the mind." Bedford's innovative approach to teaching often encompasses assigning projects and giving lectures to engage students in real-life scenarios. Bedford's main teaching interests include introductory psychology, perceptual learning and adaptation. She also takes a special interest in educating students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Bedford shares her expertise with people inside and outside of the UA through her classes, professional talks and a number of publications. She has published many manuscripts, newspaper and magazine articles on a wide range of psychology topics.