2018 Faculty Recognition Award Winners: Theresa McDevitt, John Lipinski, Christina Huhn, Sudipta Majumdar, Jonathan Warnock, and Jaeyong Choi

Pictured L-R: Theresa McDevitt, John Lipinski, Christina Huhn, Sudipta Majumdar, Jonathan Warnock, and Jaeyong Choi

Jaeyong Choi

Criminology and Criminal Justice, College of Health and Human Services

Award Category: Teaching Associate

When I began teaching terrorism, there were three challenges presented: (1) potential language barrier, (2) emotive nature of course topic, and (3) the complexity of terrorism phenomena. To address these
challenges, I set the three broad course objectives and designed teaching strategies in line with my course objectives: (1) furthering students' learning through technology, (2) development of critical thinking skills, and (3) tolerance to diversity. I found that combining technology (e.g., Google Chrome extensions) into storytelling can enhance the level of student engagement by stimulating different modes of learning.
Additionally, the use of short video clips and contrasting them with the facts regarding terrorism issues led
many students to be able to be more cautious about how they interpret the information provided from
popular mass media. Similarly, the writing assignment designed to apply criminological theories and
findings to an actual terrorist case contributed to developing students' critical thinking by showing the close link between theory and practice. Finally, I tried to promote students' tolerance toward differences and diversity in various ways.

By providing students with a chance to set specifics of grading rubric for major assignments, students could have their voice heard. Through this process, students could see that different opinions can be moderated and that a consensus can be made. As a foreign teacher, I also continued to make sure that there is no misunderstanding in our communication. I wanted to demonstrate them that if they do not stop trying to communicate, they still have chance to understand each other. Students were given chances to evaluate contribution of each group member according to a rubric. This was expected to heighten not only students' responsibilities but also to recognize others' view matters in a democratic society. My student evaluations support my effectiveness of three points that I intended to achieve.

Christina Huhn

Foreign Languages, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Award Category: Teaching of Writing

Composition and grammar courses within the discipline of World Language Education share a strong connection to the field of composition studies as a whole; current world language writing pedagogy is drawn from the work done in composition studies, including writing portfolios and process writing approaches.


The course content in SPAN230 is driven by our common course goals based on the development of language proficiency and by a process writing approach. This curriculum naturally lends itself to both writing to learn and writing to communicate activities and assignments, with the ultimate goal of improved written communication skills in Spanish.


In the context of the World Language classroom, writing activities and assignments facilitate a discourse community in Spanish through the use of that language as a common medium of communication. In other words, the act of writing operates as a tool for learning, aiding students in both acquiring knowledge and in negotiating meaning in order to communicate with their classmates and professor.


To facilitate that communication, I incorporate multiple writing to learn activities associated with process writing, including brainstorming activities, multiple drafts of each essay, and post-writing reflections. Similarly, I also incorporate writing to communicate activities throughout the course which are designed to engage students in natural discussions with their classmates in Spanish, such as might occur in a social media or blog setting, or as part of student's future professional interactions. Both writing to learn and writing to communicate activities serve to assist learners in moving towards increased levels of language proficiency.


John Lipinski

Management, Eberly College of Business and Information Technology

Award Category: Innovation

Virtual Study Abroad enables students to journey around the world with their class without physically leaving Indiana, PA. Using teleconference technology, students share their classroom experience with students at the University of Pecs in Hungary, and we host guest speakers from around the world. With time and financial limitations, very few university students get the opportunity to study abroad. This model allows students to experience key aspects of the study abroad experience including the classroom experience, global speakers, and group projects with international peers.

Sudipta Majumdar

Chemistry, Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Award Category: Content Pedagogy

Two biochemistry laboratory courses, Biochemistry Lab I (BIOC 311) and Biochemistry Lab II (BIOC 312), were restructured to introduce students to fundamental biochemical techniques and then enable them to perform original research projects once they mastered those techniques. These innovative changes were possible by the incorporation of an ideal model protein, small laccase(SLAC) from Streptomyces bacteria, into the curriculum that integrated two courses under one coordinated umbrella. This achievement has also resulted in a recent publication, co-authored by students, “Small laccase from Streptomyces coelicolor - an ideal model protein/enzyme for undergraduate laboratory experience”, in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education journal.


Theresa McDevitt


Award Category: Living-Learning

IUP's Office of Housing, Residential Living and Dining's (OHRLD) Living-Learning programs support students' academic success and retention by creating educationally rich environments where students have the best opportunity to prosper. Studies show that students who spend time in the library and make use of library resources tend to do well academically.

First-year students, who most often live in the residence halls, are adjusting to college life and can benefit from increased knowledge of library support services. Studies suggest that students learn better from informed peers and that peer educators may achieve additional learning outcomes by developing and delivering training for peers. Efforts to increase awareness of library support services that involve the use of peer educators have the potential to positively influence the learning outcomes of peer educators, as well as the success and retention of first-year and other students living in residential communities.

Through offering resources and assistance in developing passive or active library-related information sessions in the hall, McDevitt developed a library award for excellence in residence halls which has been offered for three years.

Jonathan Warnock

Geoscience/Sustainability Studies, Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Award Category: Innovation

Taphonomy is the study of fossil preservation, considering physical and chemical processes from death of organisms, through fossilization to discovery. Taphonomic analysis provides context of the sedimentary deposit and aids significantly in reconstruction of paleoecology and behavior. As such, it is a complex multifaceted discipline within paleontology.

In order to give students an understanding of taphonomic processes, a two-week active learning activity was designed for GEOS 353- Paleontology. Students were presented with an artificial fossil bone deposit, utilizing white-tailed deer bones in Weyandt Hall. Students organized into groups, and were given two weeks to provide interpretations of four deposition environments, as well as various ecological factors regarding the bone bed.

The students were also expected to determine the minimum number of individuals represented in the bone bed, assess whether or not the individuals lived in that environment or were transported, and assess the length of time bones were exposed before fossilization and burial. The activity involved data collection and analysis as well as written communication skills. It was a critical thinking exercise, as students had to decide what data to collect, how to work together as a team, and what additional data, 'purchased' with 'grant money,' would support their conclusions.