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Sunday, December 10, 2023

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Examples of the innovative projects being developed by art professor Kerianne Quick's students. Examples of the innovative projects being developed by art professor Kerianne Quick's students.

Thirteen Faculty Receive Honors for Dedication to Students During COVID-19

The inaugural Faculty Forward Awards recognize instructional faculty members who were especially agile and dedicated to student support in the ongoing pandemic.
By SDSU News Team

Some San Diego State University faculty members organized virtual choirs and helped students recreate an art studio at home with the transition to virtual learning early in the year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others turned to creating virtual theatres and began relying on Facebook as a way to maintain meaningful connections with students. 

Across campus in spring 2020, faculty pivoted to virtual instruction with extraordinary dedication and displays of collaboration and innovation.

To celebrate these shows of support, Faculty Advancement and Student Success and the Center for Teaching and Learning launched a new honor. The Faculty Forward Award specifically recognizes faculty who found creative and innovative solutions to address the challenges of the pandemic. 

“When faculty were asked to pivot to virtual instruction, all of our faculty responded with great effort,” said Joanna Brooks, associate vice president for faculty advancement. “Some were outstanding, and we wanted to celebrate their examples of ways faculty can teach well in a virtual environment.”

Open to all tenure and tenure-track faculty and graduate instructors, the award was presented to 13 faculty members who were especially agile and dedicated to student support in the university’s response to COVID-19. 

The inaugural award recipients are: 
  • Kerianne Quick, assistant professor, School of Art and Design
  • Nathian Rodriguez, assistant professor, School of Journalism and Media Studies 
  • Irene Lara, associate professor, Department of Women’s Studies
  • Philip Combiths, teaching associate, School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences 
  • Marie Draz, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy 
  • Nensi Lakrori, lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering
  • Scott Shaffar, lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Rodrigo Perez, professor, Department of Physics 
  • Deborah Bejarano and Annette Rea, lecturers, Math Education, SDSU Imperial Valley
  • Melissa Soto, associate professor, and Nicholas Johnson, assistant professor, School of Teacher Education 
  • Nancy Jones, lecturer, Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy
Nominations were made by colleagues and reviewed by the Tiger Team for Assessment, a group of faculty and staff tasked with identifying best practices in assessing students’ learning when using virtual instruction across different types of learning environments.

“We were drawn to examples where faculty very quickly and with great agility refocused courses around ensuring students were in a position to succeed,” said Brooks. “These examples are meant to encourage everyone.”

The university has taken several steps to ensure faculty are well-prepared entering the 2020-21 academic year. This summer, 871 faculty members successfully completed  the SDSU Flexible Course Design Summer Institute, an intensive, three-week program designed by Instructional Technology Services to provide faculty with pedagogical strategies to teach in a hybrid or fully online environment in fall 2020.

The Center for Teaching and Learning has also developed a toolkit in the learning management system Canvas to include course planning guides, discussion boards, plus tips on designing assignments and high integrity assessments.

“Faculty are bringing dedication and a sense of devotion to students during this uncertain time,” said Brooks. “Faculty are invested in making sure that students get access to technology they need and receive the education they deserve during fall. 

“From the arts to engineering, SDSU has an incredible, dedicated faculty who truly care about their students’ success. They have shown great resourcefulness and agility to set up our students to succeed.”