UC Excellence in Teaching Award
Recognizing an Inspiring Instructor
Has a University Center faculty member made a significant difference in your life? Has he or she gone above and beyond to help you succeed? If you answered yes to either question above, consider nominating your instructor for the University Center Excellence in Teaching Award.
What’s The UC Excellence In Teaching Award?
Since 2011, the University Center Excellence In Teaching Award recognizes individual faculty members for high quality teaching and outstanding dedication to student learning in the unique and diverse learning environment of University Center.
- Demonstrate a high level of classroom preparation
- Maintain well-organized courses
- Maintain rigorous courses and high standards of academic performance
- Communicate clearly and be accessible to students
- Make significant positive contributions to the academic environment of University Center
- Stay current in one’s own discipline and/or the field of educational research
How Do I Nominate Someone?
Students may nominate faculty members by completing this form (Due the last Friday in February):
Past Award Winners
2011: Nicole Graves
2012: Brian Nowell
2013 Lindy Obach
2014 Liz Heeren and Patricia Ahmed
University Center announces the selection of Liz Heeren and Patricia Ahmed as the winners of the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award. They were both presented with the award at UC's annual Welcome to Fall event on September 16, 2014.
Dr. Ahmed has been an SDSU Instructor for 4 years and credits her most valued experience as working one-on-one with students and helping them to achieve their academic and career goals. Additionally, she has set up a research internship with the SDSU Data Center here at UC allowing mentees to present their research at the SDSU undergraduate research showcase as well. She also enjoys working with newly arrived immigrant students who are new to the academic system and face a variety of challenges. Dr. Ahmed’s interests include comparative/historical sociology, deviance, cross-cultural sociology, and globalization. In conjunction with these interests she has conducted fieldwork in South Asia, Egypt and Mexico. Her publications include articles in Social Forces, the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy and Connections.
Liz Heeren is an SDSU Visual Art Assistant Professor (since 2002). She earned an MFA in painting at the University of South Dakota in 2007, an MA in art theory at the University of Arizona in 2000 and a BA from Saint Olaf College in 1997. Heeren is Assistant Professor of Art for South Dakota State University and director of Ipso Gallery at Fresh Produce, downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Heeren’s current work incorporates elements of drafting and technical drawing in addition to traditional painting techniques. With a background in biology, Heeren finds inspiration in documenting zones of biological reconfiguration – often times resourcing areas of new construction/development or dwellings that are reabsorbed into the wild.
2015: Jamie Ladonski
Jamie Ladonski has been teaching general biology for SDSU at University Center since the fall of 2006. Prior to coming to South Dakota, he worked at the Field Museum in Chicago for nearly six years. His previous teaching experience includes adjunct positions at Lake Michigan College and Ivy Tech Community College. For professional development, he is a member of the following organizations: National Association of Biology Teachers and Association of College and University Biology Educators. To learn more, check out Jamie Ladonski's Website.
2016: Sara Madsen
Sara Madsen has been teaching Chemistry at University Center since 2004. From Dr. Cartrette: "Sara’s involvement in teaching at University Center-Sioux Falls has had a strong and significant impact on how chemistry is perceived among students. The subject is one that students more often than not fear, but Sara’s work in and out of the classroom demonstrates that chemistry can be successfully mastered without fear. She has given our Department a “face” at UC, and we have actually recruited a few majors into our undergraduate programs, thanks to Sara. I am proud to say that Dr. Sara Madsen belongs to our faculty. Her contributions to the undergraduate mission of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU have substantially impacted her students, her colleagues, and the University Center teaching/learning environment as a whole." From Marla Williams: "I value Sara as a colleague in our chemistry department. She has a wonderful personality, gets along well with others, and always puts her students first. She has been great to work with on research projects, as she has a way of looking at things from a different angle than others do. Sara's ability to think outside-the-box is one of the reasons I feel she is a great instructor, as she has the ability to teach the material from several angles and try and find ways to help students understand the concepts."
2017: Melody Jewell
Melody started teaching for SDSU at the UC campus in the spring semester of 2003, took a one semester absence to move to Milwaukee, WI and then returned in spring semester 2004, where she has remained. She returned to SDSU for many reasons, the main one being that she loves teaching and enjoys helping others achieve their goals. One thing she really loves about the UC atmosphere is the diversity and variety of students on campus. The learning environment at UC lends itself to open communication and participation in the classroom where all learn from each other. She has formed meaningful relationships with many of her students and several keep in touch with her after the course has finished. She often gets invitations to attend graduation ceremonies, and write letters of reference for professional programs and employment. She enjoys teaching, mentoring, and seeing student growth and development and finds it very rewarding as an educator.
Her education background:
B.S. Biology - University of Minnesota Twin Cities (1997) - http://www.cbs.umn.edu/ B.A. Chemistry - University of Minnesota Twin Cities (1997) - http://www.chem.umn.edu/ M.S. Paper Science and Engineering - University of Minnesota (1999) - http://www.bbe.umn.edu/ Ph.D. Paper Science and Engineering - University of Minnesota Twin Cities (2002)
If you have any questions regarding the UC Excellence In Teaching Award, please contact Melinda Obach at Melinda.Obach@usd.edu.
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