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Center for Teaching Excellence

Professor with Students

Engaging Students: 2010 Michael J. Mungo Teaching Award Panel


What makes a teacher excellent? Why do some of us inspire students to work hard, while others inspire students to skip class? This seminar engages the 2010 winners of the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award in a panel discussion about good teaching. Through this interdisciplinary conversation, attendees explored varied approaches for engaging and motivating students. The panelists discussed teaching strategies that work for them and have contributed to their success as members of the University of South Carolina faculty. The intent is to learn as much from the differences in our teaching practices as from the similarities.

About the Panelist

Donna A. Chen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Professor Chen is deeply committed to undergraduate teaching and has developed a new recitation class for undergraduate physical chemistry that emphasizes problem-solving, interactive learning and conceptual understanding of physical principles. In addition to undergraduate physical chemistry, Professor Chen has taught both semesters of undergraduate general chemistry to classes of 150-200 students, as well as two different physical chemistry graduate courses.

Bobby Donaldson is an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies and the Faculty Principal of Preston Residential College. Attentive to multiple learning styles and academic backgrounds, Professor Donaldson regularly encourages students to discover their own intellectual voices by devoting their energies and time to sustained research and investigation. He has advised several Magellan and Ronald E. McNair scholars and led a series of service-learning collaborations in the Columbia area. His research focuses on African American intellectual thought, education and religion, and he has served as a consultant for numerous documentary history projects.

Kevin Elliott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy. In many of his courses, including a new class that he developed on ethical issues related to food production and consumption, he aims to help students synthesize and critically evaluate material from multiple disciplines in an effort to address contemporary environmental problems. Professor Elliot has also pursued service learning opportunities by bringing together community leaders, students in his classes, and Honors students that he has advised on senior projects.

Kimberly Eison Simmons is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies. One of her aims as a cultural anthropologist in the classroom is to help foster a sense of cross-cultural awareness, sensitivity, and understanding by promoting engaged learning. Professor Simmons encourages students to seek to better understand the world around them and to give something back to their communities as they develop an increased awareness about cultural and societal issues.