UH Hilo honors excellence in teaching

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Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo honored members of its faculty with excellence in teaching awards during this year’s Spring Commencement held on May 13.

Dr. Adam Pack, professor of psychology, is the recipient of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Pack is regarded by students and colleagues as an outstanding, engaging and enthusiastic teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels, an extremely effective advisor, and a wonderful mentor that operates both inside and outside the classroom. Pack also serves as chair of the Department of Psychology, co-director of the Listening Observatory for Hawaiʻi Ecosystems Bioacoustics laboratory, and holds a joint appointment in Biology. He is a world-renowned mammal behavior expert with a passion for his research. Students are inspired by his teaching, which includes the
infusion of relevant examples from his own marine mammal research and the use of whole class experiments to communicate complex material.

The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was presented to Physics and Astronomy Instructor John Hamilton.

Hamilton tirelessly excels at helping students gain real-life experiences through his work with various projects, including the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems and the UH Hilo Robotics Team. He also helps students write grants, apply for internship programs, and attend conferences.

Students find these experiences, such as volunteering with NASA scientists for live experiments, to be incredibly valuable in advancing their careers by connecting them with scientists from prominent space agencies. Students say his teaching has shown them that learning is much more than equations and memorizing facts, but about the work they put in and the skills they develop along the way.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Dr. Alexander Nagurney, instructor in psychology.

Nagurney models excellence and creativity both inside and outside of the classroom. His students say he can communicate difficult concepts and key principles even in such challenging subjects like Statistical Techniques and Research Methods. His use of “gamification” techniques to enhance student engagement earned him recognition for teaching ingenuity by the Apereo Foundation in 2015 and 2016. Nagurney has produced numerous scientific publications, which he regularly utilizes for upper-level courses in Personality, Social Psychology and Interpersonal Relationships to inspire his students to further assist him in future studies. He also offers cycling classes at the University’s Student Life Center to promote physical and mental well-being and conducts evening group study sessions for students in need of assistance.

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