Ohio State Marion faculty, Senior Biology Lecturer, Melissa Petreaca; Senior English Lecturer, Peter Dully; and Assistant Professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Jonathan Calede were formally recognized with the 2023 Marion Campus Teaching Excellence Award during the campus's annual Academic Recognition Ceremony, Friday, April 21, in Morrill Hall Auditorium.
Students and faculty were encouraged during the academic year to nominate faculty members they felt worthy of recognition in both the category of associated faculty, who are primarily charged with teaching and tenure track faculty, whose work includes research and university governance in addition to teaching.
The Marion Campus Teaching Excellence Award recognizes faculty who challenge students to articulate connections between their coursework and their lives outside of the classroom; who foster high-level critical and analytical thinking skills; who create inclusive and equitable cultures of learning for students; and who develop strong mentoring relationships with students, encouraging students to reach their full potential.
According to Associate Professor of English, Katie Braun, who served as committee chair for this year's award, both Petreaca and Dully tied for the award honor in the associated faculty category and the evidence of teaching excellence shared with the committee in both was outstanding.
Braun shared that in their support letters, colleagues praised Petreaca's classroom practices, particularly her blending of multiple modes, such as lecture, class discussion, and collaborative application activities.
One wrote that the recipient "is a model teacher. He praised her scaffolding of assignments to effectively structure and support student learning," said Braun. "He also praised her ability to link students’ on-the-spot questions and observations to real-world scenarios and clinical applications."
One student wrote, “The course was structured really well (interactive and fun).” Another observed that she “does an excellent job in every aspect involved with teaching and preparing students,” Braun shared. Many more students wrote on course evaluations that she is “highly recommended” as a teacher.
"It is unusual that we have a tie for this award," said Braun. "In fact, I think this is a first. But we had two portfolios that rose to the top this year and it seemed appropriate to recognize both," she added.
This instructor, in the words of another English faculty member, said Braun, “has a long and storied reputation as a particularly fine teacher on our campus.”
The student who nominated Dully wrote that he “always cared more about the students than the material and was invested in what we put our time into outside the classroom,” Braun said.
"This care and mentorship beyond classroom walls were a theme throughout this person’s materials," she added.
"The past few years have been difficult for everyone but especially for students," said Braun, "and this teacher not only recognizes those struggles but actively works to help students feel tethered to campus and to each other, which enriches their intellectual experience in untold ways."
According to the nominating committee chair, Dully went above and beyond with his students, finding in unique and interesting ways to connect with them, such as forming a book club, taking students to see live performances of plays, and having discussions regarding the performances, and even informal cereal breakfasts on campus.
As he wrote in his teaching philosophy statement, Braun shared, “It’s been a fantastic way to combat the alienation and sadness a lot of people, students and otherwise, felt during the pandemic."
One student who had Dully as a teacher commented, “the one thing I enjoyed the most about this class is that it helped me understand how writing is in real life.”
“I was really nervous at first, and honestly, I did not expect that this class was going to be interesting, but I’m glad I stuck to it. I know now that I couldn’t have asked for a better English class,” said a second of Dully's students.
The winner of the tenure track faculty honor, Jonathan Calede was nominated twice, by 2 different students, Braun said.
The first wrote, he “makes sure students know what they are learning very well.” The second wrote, he “creates a classroom environment that is welcoming and respectful. His expertise of the topics he instructs permits him to improve his teaching methods to optimize the students’ ability to recall past concepts. Most importantly he encourages students to do critical thinking while providing a safe environment for correct or incorrect responses. A highlight about him is that he has excellent interpersonal skills that improve the overall learning atmosphere and contributes towards an improved ability for students to learn. It is very easy to ask him questions through his office hours and is attentive to emails.”
Written course evaluations echoed those sentiments, said Braun. Students consistently commented that they were challenged, had to think and work hard in his class, and had to learn to think independently.
In prepared remarks at the evening’s ceremony, Braun shared that Calede is dedicated to constantly assessing and adjusting his pedagogy based on best practices and implements many innovative ways to teach, including various assessment tools, ways to challenge students and deepen their knowledge, ways to provide formal and informal feedback on their learning, how develop self-reflections on their own learning, and how to engage students in class. Additionally, he employs inquiry-based pedagogy that has led to collaborative research with students, preparing them for research futures, whether in the academy or industry. Finally, he approaches “the whole student” in the classroom by thinking not only about their learning of scientific concepts but also about how those concepts diffuse into other areas of their lives and thinking (for example, social debates over controversial topics in health care that relate to biological constructs).
His peer reviewer wrote that he “lectures in a manner that displays a clear reluctance to simply present a list of facts for the students to absorb. He has developed a pedagogy that is active and engaging to the students,” which is “a difficult way to conduct a course…so it is a testament to [his] effectiveness that he is able to do it successfully.”