The 2015 annual College of Liberal Studies faculty meeting and awards took place this April, where CLS Dean James Pappas spoke about the trends and upcoming challenges in higher education and distance learning. Three awards were given to CLS instructors in honor of their dedication to student success. Please join us in celebrating the work of these inspiring educators!
Dr. Jennifer Kidney received the Kenneth E. Crook Faculty Achievement Award, a prestigious honor that recognizes excellence in teaching. A student from Kidney’s Interdisciplinary Foundations course nominated her for the award.
“Dr. Kidney’s class was the most challenging class of all academic and military courses I had ever taken, but she made it clear that her standard would remain consistent,” he said. “Her course was challenging and she was more than approachable. We talked on several Saturdays about my writing and the course material. I have used an aspect of what she taught me in every course I have taken.”
Dr. Kidney has also been recognized locally for her writing talents and is a contributor to the Second Sunday Poetry Series at The Depot in Norman.
Bryan Coppedge received the Superior Teaching Award at the ceremony, an honor reserved for those who have demonstrated superior and excellent teaching. Recipients of the award exemplify the goals and purposes of the College of Liberal Studies, including the pursuit of interdisciplinary, liberal learning.
Coppedge was nominated by a former student who has found him to be an incredible leader in the sciences. In particular, she was impressed by his ability to teach effectively in an online environment and his willingness and dedication to providing the best possible learning environment for his students.
“Because there is automatically a communication disadvantage [when there is no face-to-face interaction] it becomes imperative for the educator to establish a line of communication between himself and the students. Professor Coppedge does this with ease,” she said. “He has created a learning environment where students are able to communicate with him electronically and have daily dialogue about the subject matter, course material relevance and academic progress. He interacts daily with his students so they have the best possible chance at success. I’ve taken numerous courses online and he stands out amongst his peers in his willingness to make himself available with such ease and regularity. It is truly remarkable to have a professor who will respond back daily to questions and grading assignments.”
The student who nominated him, one of Turner’s former pupils, praised his impressive breadth of knowledge and willingness to assist his students. His courses are known to provide students with challenging and inspiring opportunities to use their critical thinking skills. “He was a great teacher,” the student explained.