Mazen Hamad, Barbara Meguro, and Celeste Staton received their teaching awards at Spring Commencement.
Three excellence in teaching awards were bestowed by Chancellor Don Straney at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Spring Commencement, May 14.
Mazen Hamad, associate professor of chemistry, is the recipient of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching. The medal is awarded by the BOR as tribute to faculty members who exhibit an extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creativity, and personal values that benefit students.
Described as a “superior teacher, researcher and departmental colleague,” Hamad’s classroom presentations bring the chemistry content to life and enable him to teach difficult subjects to a wide spectrum of students. Faculty and students alike say his strength in teaching lies in his keen ability to connect the theoretical with the practical, the lecture with the laboratory, and the conceptual with the skill-building as he applies the course material to real-world scenarios.
Barbara Meguro, computer science instructor, received the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The award recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence as teachers of undergraduate students. It was established as a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at Leeward Community College and UH Mānoa for 19 years.
Meguro’s dedication and success in helping all of her students reach their full potential earned her the title of “Master Teacher” from one noted colleague. Students describe her as enthusiastic, supportive, organized, knowledgeable about the subject matter and easy to understand as she excels in teaching both rigorous and introductory topics in the computer science curriculum. Her approach individualizes instruction for each of her students to maximize their chances for success.
Celeste Staton, dance instructor, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award honors excellence in teaching by a lecturer or instructor and recognizes recipients for their teaching effectiveness, personal values beneficial to students, effectiveness as an academic advisor and subject mastery and creativity.
Staton has been considered the de facto head of the UH Hilo dance program since joining the university in 1986. She is described as a consummate teacher and artiste extraordinaire, who works avidly with students and colleagues to maintain and guide the dance program, training neophytes to reach beyond the basics and inspiring advanced students to excel in new and challenging ways. Staton also worked with senior tenured faculty in shaping the performing arts major through two challenging reconfigurations, and collaborated with music and drama faculty to enhance performance opportunities for all performing arts majors.