Four faculty members were recently nominated for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an educator at WCU.
The 168 faculty members who were initially nominated for the award were narrowed to a field of four by a committee which examined each nominee’s teaching techniques and portfolios.
This award is presented to an outstanding faculty member each spring at the General Faculty Meeting and Awards Convocation. This year’s event will be held on Friday.
This year’s nominees come from a variety of departments throughout the university, but they are all driven by a love of teaching.
James Costa, assistant professor of biology, received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia. He has been teaching at WCU since 1996 and enjoys the chance to inspire students.
Costa said that his favorite thing about teaching is “the element of surprise that comes from presenting something that the student just may never have though about before.”
Kathy Ivey, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, received her master’s degree from Oregon State University and her doctoral degree from Washington State University. Ivey has been teaching at WCU since 1994. She has an interest in English, and has taught it before, but she says that she enjoys teaching math because people find it threatening although everyone has the capacity to do the math that they need to do to function.
Ivey feels very honored to be among the final nominees for the award because she decided when she was very young that she wanted to teach for a living.
“Teaching is something that’s always been my goal,” said Ivey.
Terry Nienhuis, associate professor of English, got both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. He has taught at WCU since 1972 and prefers being in the classroom to being on vacation. Nienhuis sees class as an “intellectual party; a spiritual journey.”
“Teaching is the most important thing in my life,” said Nienhuis. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years… so for 30 years I’ve been trying to do better.”
LeVon Wilson, department head and associate professor of business law, received his doctoral degree from North Carolina Central University and has been teaching at WCU for ten years.
Wilson enjoys seeing his students achieve the goals that they set for themselves, and he is very honored to be nominated for the award.
“One would be remiss in his responsibilities if he did not deem it an honor to be nominated by faculty and students to be considered for this prestigious award,” said Wilson.