UGA faculty recognized with 2016 Creative Teaching Awards

Athens, Ga. – Five University of Georgia faculty members are recipients of the 2016 Creative Teaching Awards presented by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction. Jon Calabria, Cecilia Herles, Ilse Mason, Julie Moore and Tiffany Washington each received a surprise personal visit from Vice President Rahul Shrivastav and his staff announcing their selection. These faculty will be officially recognized during the UGA Faculty Recognition Banquet on April 11.


     Calabria                Herles                  Mason                  Moore                Washington

Presented annually, the Creative Teaching Awards recognize UGA faculty for excellence in developing and implementing creative teaching strategies to improve student learning and encourage instructional excellence. This is the third year the awards have been presented.

“Our faculty continue to develop innovative teaching strategies to improve student engagement,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “The recipients of this year’s Creative Teaching Awards demonstrate our faculty’s commitment for improving student learning by incorporating active-learning strategies that extend teaching on a variety of platforms outside the physical classroom through the use of technology. All five of this year's recipients used active learning in their curriculum design, including service-learning, online learning, and role-play pedagogies.”

Calabria, an assistant professor of landscape architecture and a 2011-12 Service-Learning Fellow, has successfully made service-learning the ongoing focus of his research, teaching a number of high-quality, rigorous and well-planned courses that engage graduate students with community partners throughout the state. He brings an organized approach to class interactions with stakeholders to collect meaningful data, teaching his students the importance of evidence-based design. Students in his ecological restoration (LAND 6350) classes have worked on a diverse group of environments, which have not only helped the communities in which they conducted research, but also have earned accolades at the state level from the American Society of Landscape Architects for their efforts.

Herles is a senior academic professional, assistant director of the Institute for Women's Studies, and a 2009-10 Service-Learning Fellow. Herles teaches a service-learning course on Environment, Gender, Race, and Class, which led to the formation of the Campus Kitchen at UGA, a student-powered food recovery and redistribution program combatting food insecurity among older adults. The Campus Kitchen at UGA became the 33rd official branch of the national Campus Kitchens Project network in the fall 2012, focusing on alleviating senior hunger in Athens. Since its opening, 157,201 pounds of food have been recovered and transformed into 50,724 nutritious meals, and 829 volunteers have given 10,667 hours of service.

Mason, a senior lecturer in kinesiology, has been working for the last three years on developing open educational resources for UGA’s basic physical education courses. Her efforts, supported by Learning Technologies and Innovative Instruction Grants, have saved students $270,000 in textbook costs since 2014. She has worked with colleagues from the Office of Online Learning and the Center for Teaching and Learning to experiment with content hosting options that benefit students from UGA and other institutions nationwide. Mason teaches the only online PE course at UGA (“Fitness for Life: Walking”). Her students use GPS-enabled heart rate monitors in order to track their progress throughout the course, which allows Mason to ensure that students make progress on the fitness goals set by the course. She also guides students in monitoring their fitness level beyond participating in the online walking course.

Moore, assistant department head, curriculum coordinator, and 2015 Innovative Teaching Fellow, collaborated with Reacting to the Past (RTTP) co-directors on broadening the pedagogy for 100+ students in a spring 2015 infectious diseases class—a departure for RTTP by expanding beyond the humanities into STEM-based disciplines while creating a model for classes with more than 40 students. Scaling-up the “London 1854: Cesspits, Cholera and Conflict over the Broad Street Pump” game has had such success that Moore is writing a RTTP game on the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Moore, who respects students as co-creators of knowledge, taught a fall 2015 Honors course in which she and students from International Affairs, History, Political Science, and several STEM-disciplines conducted research on the political and cultural history, as well as biomedical and scientific contexts of the U.S. response to the outbreak, and then designed and play-tested this new game.

Washington, assistant professor of social work developed a service-learning course that takes an engaged scholarship approach of integrating research, teaching, and service to understand the impact of dementia on individuals, families, and communities.  Her course focuses particularly on dementia caregiving in partnership with the Athens Community Council on Aging. A 2014-15 Service-Learning Fellow, Washington received a national social work research award by the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work in 2014.

The Creative Teaching Awards are sponsored in-part by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, the Office of the Provost, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.












Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction, made surprise visits (with donuts in hand) to each of the Creative Teaching Award recipients to thank them personally for their excellence in innovative teaching. These visits were planned in cooperation with their deans and department heads, and we greatly appreciate their help in making this announcement so special for their faculty. Pictured clockwise from top left: Rahul Shrivastav, Ilse Mason (kinesiology); Shrivastav, Jon Calabria and Dean Dan Nadenicek (environment and design); Shrivastav, Dean Maurice Daniels and Tiffany Washington (social work), Ronald Cervero (associate vice president for instruction); and Shrivastav, Juanita Johnson-Bailey and Cecilia Herles (women's studies), Cervero. Although we missed Julie Moore's (veterinary medicine) photo opportunity, Dean Sheila Allen was on hand during her surprise visit.