Professors earn Teaching Excellence Award

Recipients of the 2019 Teaching Excellence award: (from left) Dr. Matthew Beauregard, Dr. Jason Reese, Dr. Mark Montgomery, Dr. John Mehaffey, Jackie Rosenfeld, Dr. Debra Scott and Dr. John Pruit.

An award ceremony to honor seven professors on campus who were awarded the Teaching Excellence Award for 2019 is slated for 1:30 p.m. April 4 in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Twilight Ballroom.

Dr. Deb Scott of the College of Fine Arts, Dr. John Mehaffey of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, Dr. Mark Montgomery of the James I. Perkins College of Education, Dr. John Pruit of the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, Dr. Matthew Beauregard of the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. Jason Reese of the Nelson Rusche College of Business and Jackie Rosenfeld of the School of Theatre are all recipients of the award that acknowledges performance in the classroom.

Montgomery came to SFA in the fall of 2015. He said that throughout the years he’s spent here, he’s glad to have been able to provide new opportunities to his students. Although he was surprised to receive the award, he said he is humbled.

“Being that selection is humbling because of the knowledge and expertise of the other candidates,” Montgomery said. “I believe that working in such a dedicated department and college, full of amazing educators, makes me want to be better at what I do every day.”

Beauregard has taught at SFA for four and a half years. Although, he said he has a lot to learn, his teaching style is best described as innovative and changes as he sees fit. From technology to inquiry- based learning, Beauregard’s goal is long-term professional success.

“My department has some of the most innovative teachers that I have ever met,” Beauregard said. “For instance, this past semester our chair, Dr. Lesa Beverly, put together a single PDF of innovations that our faculty are implementing into their courses. Over 30 faculty members contributed, and the document was 27 pages long. The mathematics and statistics department is passionate about teaching, and this award that I am receiving is recognition not of myself, but of our entire department’s unified and collective passion for teaching.”

Rosenfeld attributes her success to the teaching mentors she’s had throughout her education. Her secret to success is to treat teaching as a conversation, working hard and creating a classroom where everyone feels welcome and excited to contribute.

“In addition to teaching our course content, we are also teaching our students how to be adults and grow into the people they want to become,” Rosenfeld said.

Reese started teaching at SFA in 2014. He focuses on solving industry problems through critical examination of case studies and brings case studies to the class shortly after presenting a new idea to students. The studies cause the students to think critically about industry- related problems and try to find innovative solutions.

“Education is the path to improving people’s lives,” Reese said. “To me, a business teacher, that means not only improving the lives of the students I teach but improving the lives of the people my students encounter later in their careers.”

Scott, professor of trombone, said she focuses her teaching primarily on her students and is glad to be able to meet with them individually so often.

“I want students to feel as comfortable as possible,” Scott said. “In a performance environment, they must not develop anxiety about what they are doing. However, they know that I have high expectations and will not let them do less than what they are capable of.”

Mehaffey said the students in his classes are the most important thing to him.

“I have discovered most struggles come from having no real-world example or application to their current situation, but you must take the time to understand the situation,” Mehaffey said. “My most successful students know that I get them. They can come to me for advice, learning and instruction on almost any topic.”

Pruit said he is humbled to receive the Teaching Excellence Award. He said that the College of Liberal and Applied Arts’ mission is to teach people how to think critically, write proficiently and synthesize ideas from multiple areas.

The Teaching Excellence award was first introduced in 1994 with the purpose of recognizing individual instructors, professors and teachers from each college of the university.

Every college selects a member of its faculty to receive the award. The selection is based upon several features, including knowledge of subject matter, quality of lectures and assignments, enthusiasm for teaching, interest and availability to students, sensitivity to the learning environment, and many more.

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