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UH Hilo faculty honored for excellence in teaching

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Date: Monday, June 2, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Three University of Hawaii at Hilo faculty members were recently honored for excellence in teaching at the University’s spring commencement ceremony held on May 17, 2008.

Dr. Mark Panek received the University of Hawai`i Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award, Nadine Wolff was presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Dr. Todd Belt received the Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award is given to a full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty who exhibit an extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creativity and personal values that benefit students.

Panek, an assistant professor of English, was presented the award by Regents Marlene Hapai and Michael Dahilig, who said Panek is an enormous asset to the University, citing his teaching practices that encourage his students to take ownership of the learning process.

“He actively encourages his students to publish their writing so that they can achieve the satisfaction of seeing their work in print,” Dahilig said. “Our students’ writing skills have been greatly enhanced by his efforts.”

The Chancellor’s Award recognizes teaching excellence by an instructor or lecturer. Wolff, an instructor of mathematics and supervisor of the UH Hilo Mathematics Tutoring Lab, was described by Chancellor Rose Tseng as an exceptional teacher, whose innovative methods and breadth of knowledge continues to impress and delight her students.

“Her organizational skills have transformed the Tutoring Lab into an essential support service for the University, improving student access and retention,” Tseng said. “Lab usage has doubled under her leadership.”

The Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence by teachers of undergraduate students.

Belt, a newly promoted associate professor of political science, also serves as advisor to the Political Science Club and coordinator of the Internship Program. Dr. Michael Crosby, interim vice chancellor for Research, called Belt an inspiring, dedicated teacher and an exceptional instructor.

“His innovative pedagogical methods, including group work and service learning, have consistently generated high evaluations from his students,” Crosby said. “He has involved students in research, listed them as co-author on conference papers, and arranged for students to attend academic conferences.”

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