About the Center


Teaching Awards:  

List of 2005 Awardees

John Lockhart 

John Lockhart is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Teacher Education who teaches TE 801/803, Professional Roles and Responsibilities, a central class in the internship year of the teacher education program. In teaching this course, John is charged with helping his students deal with the myriad practical concerns that first year teachers face, while also challenging them to push themselves harder, question their own assumptions, use theoretical to interrogate their practice, and to critically evaluate the effects of teaching and schooling on all students.

Central to John’s practice are the twin beliefs that new teachers learn to teach through dialogue and in contexts in which their personal experiences and practical needs are respected and addressed. John uses a wide array of pedagogical strategies to create an educative context for the interns. He facilitates discussions in which teachers consider broad questions about responsibility, authority, and power in K-12 school systems, challenging one another's analyses of teaching and schooling.  He carefully chooses readings that will provoke their thinking. He shares stories from his own experiences teaching in a mixed race high school, visits their schools to learn about their placements, meets their collaborating teachers, and reaches out to meet them on their own terms. In addition, John has created an on-line forum in which new teachers can share stories, swap helpful hints, and find just-in-time help. Throughout this careful teaching work, John has also collected data on his students’ learning and experience, and has initiated a line of his own scholarship concerning learning to teach and the role of teacher education in launching new teachers who are committed to and prepared for the hard work of creating intellectually challenging, personally respectful classrooms in which all children learn.

Early in his career as a teacher educator, John has made huge strides in creating curricula and a community that supports new teachers in the early stages of thei development while also challenging them to keep growing. We look forward to learning with and from John about the challenges of helping new teachers negotiate the worlds of practice, schools, and theory.

Craig Paiement 

Craig Paiement is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Kinesiology where he has been an active teacher in courses like Athletic Facility Design and the Psychology of Sport. In his teaching, he has exercised independence and autonomy, proactively redesigning his courses in the light of both student feedback and his own critical reflections of what has worked and not worked.

Particularly impressive to the reviewers was Craig’s design and redesign of KIN 454, Athletic Facility Planning, Design, and Management. Having taught the class for four years, Craig has taken initiative in a thorough redesign of that class, making it simultaneously more challenging and more relevant to his students. Based on his beliefs that learning requires the active engagement of students’ minds and bodies, Craig designed an elaborate series of assignments to support the evolution of students’ understanding of design. Students walk through facilities, and Craig prompts them to learn to see buildings and spaces in new ways. Students act as contractors and bidders in simulations, learning from the inside out how complicated designing good facilities is. Drawing on a wide array of pedagogical tools, Craig has students work in the field and then step back and look critically at what they learned in the field. He has students interview potential clients, he presents relevant mini-lectures, he uses problem-based learning to present them with meaningful, provocative problems of practice. Throughout, Craig balances the need to make students feel that the work they are doing is personally relevant and meaningful, while also challenging them to think harder and write better about what they know.  

Through his work on this class, Craig has demonstrated his commitment to pushing students to new levels, to constantly searching out new ideas to enhance his teaching, and to create classes that are practically relevant and idea-rich. We all look forward to learning from and witnessing Craig’s continued development as a teacher and scholar.

Jane Pizzolatto

Dr. Jane Pizzolatto is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education. As a doctoral student, she has taught both undergraduate courses in the teacher education program and masters courses. Jane’s teaching and her research are interwoven: in her dissertation, she studied identity development in undergraduate students, and she consistently uses that work to inform her teaching, helping students grow into their roles as purposeful, reflective professionals.
 Jane’s commitment to her students and her passion about student development is apparent in how she interacts with students, in how they describe her as a teacher, and in how she plans and teaches her classes. She models what she teaches, reflecting on her own work and using each class as an opportunity to learn with – and from -- her students. She is known for being energetic, enthusiastic, and intellectually engaged.  

Especially impressive in Jane’s work is her commitment to helping students learn to write in scholarly, professional, and effective ways. Her goal is to help them move from being students who experience education to become teachers who observe and investigate education. She works to help her students use evidence effectively to advance their theoretical and practical work, meeting with them individually and in groups, providing extensive written feedback, and carefully structuring assignments to support their development as writers. She has crafted these assignments over time, by critically evaluating her own failures and successes as a teacher, by eliciting information from her students about what is working and what is not, and by revising assignments while a course is unfolding, as well as after the fact. As Kristen Renn noted, Jane does this work “with firmness and grace, without shaming students but making clear that the need to step up to a higher level of performance.” Jane has demonstrated to her colleagues and the committee her commitment to being an innovative and enthusiastic teacher, with high standards for her students and a deep respect for them as learners. We look forward to learning from her continued development as a teacher and scholar.

Kristin Renn 

Kristen Renn is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education. Kristen exemplifies all the criteria underlying the Excellence in Teaching Award. She is as strongly committed to teaching and learning as she is to her students, both in and out of the classroom. Her courses and mentoring push students to think more deeply about issues and to question the given and the taken-for-granted in how we think with, in, and about education. Students attest to her willingness to take risks, her contagious passion and enthusiasm, and the care that she extends to each and every student. The committee would like to specifically recognize Kristen's devotion to issues of difference in her teaching and the ways in which that commitment to embracing differences is woven throughout her work in substantive and generative ways. 

Especially impressive to the committee was Kristin’s commitment to a holistic conception of graduate education, one that extends beyond the boundaries of articles and books read or papers written. Kristin thinks too about the professional habits, commitments, and knowledge that her students will be – whether they are becoming resident advisors, university administrators, teachers, or researchers. She creates a community that transcends the boundaries of her classrooms, one that encourages her students to learn with and from one another. Her use of technology in teaching has played an important role in this community building. Kristin uses technology in innovative and thoughtful ways, allowing students new spaces in which to deliberate and reflect as a community of learners and teachers.  

Throughout her work, Kristen has shown a consistent commitment to learning from her own practice, and just recently had a manuscript about her use of technology in teaching – entitled, “Learning about Technology in Student Affairs” -- published. We look forward to learning with and from her as a teacher and a scholar in our College.

Cheryl Rosean

Cheryl Rosaen is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education. For over a decade, Cheryl has grappled with the central pedagogical challenge of teacher preparation – creating experiences that help teacher candidates make sense of classroom life and the underlying principles that guide teachers’ and students’ actions versus attending to the mechanics of teaching and the pull of the immediate. Throughout her teaching, and particularly in TE401 for elementary teacher candidates, Cheryl has carefully designed learning experiences that enable novices to develop their abilities to use concepts and theories as tools to perceive and assess classroom situations, make judgments, formulate goals, choose a course of action and reflect on consequences. Most recently, Cheryl has developed IVAN, a multi-media editor that enables teacher candidates to view, analyze, organize and comment on artifacts from classrooms, including video, photographs, audio and various text files, to investigate the visible practice of teaching and to explore the associated thinking of teachers and students. Cheryl is currently studying how her students interact with IVAN to assess the nature and value of the learning opportunities it provides them. Through the use of pre-and post surveys, iterative concept mapping, reflective writing and extensive course evaluations, Cheryl has begun to document what she refers to as a “modest, complementary role” that the video case material has played in her classroom. She has found that the materials provided her students a context to develop theoretical and practical understandings of classroom life that can inform their development of principled curricular and pedagogical decisions.  

Cheryl’s creation of the IVAN teaching cases, and her systematic inquiry into their potential to promote novices’ knowledge of classroom life evidence her deep and enduring commitment to her students’ learning, to the use of innovative technologies and materials, and to the use of student input to inform and develop her own teaching. Cheryl enacts the theorized practice, inquiring stance and flexible thinking about teaching that she aims to instill in and enable her students to enact. She has remained open to a range of questions in her teaching, and, as she has grappled with the problems of practice in teacher education, she has developed a scholarship on her teaching around a number of issues, including the use of technology in teacher education, the integration of math and literacy in elementary teacher preparation, and the preparation of teachers for racially and ethnically diverse classrooms. Her inquiry into and scholarship on these and other issues have not only enriched her own teaching, but have also advanced the field of teacher education more generally. Equally important, Cheryl has welcomed doctoral students learning to become teacher educators into that work as well, collaborating with and learning from them, as they learn from her, all the while exercising important leadership in teacher education for the College. Despite her considerable accomplishments, Cheryl has maintained an admirable humility in the face of the hard work of teaching, and we feel fortunate to count her among us as teacher, mentor, leader, and scholar.

Christina Schwarz 

Christina Schwarz is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education where she works with both prospective teachers and doctoral students. In the brief time Christina has been at Michigan State, she has created and revised undergraduate classes that are at once intellectually rigorous and practical.  Many elementary school teachers enter the profession put off by science – alternating between fear and ennui – and teacher educators must find – in a very short time – ways to help those future teachers embrace science with more enthusiasm and confidence. Christina both engages her students as science learners and helps them understand several models of teaching (didactic, discovery, conceptual change, guided inquiry). She encourages them to think about and try the models that are the most effective for helping students learn science. They leave her classes more confident in their own understanding of science and, as important, more equipped to excite science learning in their elementary school students.

At the same time, Christina has created a collaborative community of teacher educators who are working on similar problems. In TE 994, she has constructed a seminar that might serve as a model for the induction of new teacher educators.  The group involved in that course is quite diverse, including three graduate students with different orientations and experiences, a postdoctoral fellow, and other faculty. Christina uses that group as a forum for critically reflecting on her own teaching, for eliciting doctoral students’ ideas about what they have observed and what she might do, and for providing a professional space for students to vet their ideas as scholars, researchers, curriculum developers, and teachers.

Finally, Christina’s own enthusiasm for teaching well and reflecting on that teaching has had an infectious effect on her colleagues. As Andy Anderson wrote in his nominating letter, “Christina talks [about her teaching] with others . . . both formally and informally. What’s happening in the elementary methods courses is a common topic of conversation around the lunch table in the science bay, partly because Christina makes it so interesting. She is refreshingly honest and analytical about what goes wrong as well as being enthusiastic about what goes right, and genuinely interested in others’ ideas and practice.” And importantly, Christina has taken the next step in making her teaching public: She has documented her students’ responses to her use of modeling in her methods classes, analyzed those responses, and submitted in an article about that work to the Journal of Science Teacher Education.

Jack Smith 

Dr. Jack Smith is an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, and he was nominated by a group of graduate students for his commitment – in both formal and informal contexts – to the professional development of doctoral students as teachers and scholars, writers, and researchers.

Jack is the driving force behind the Mathematics Learning Research Group (MLRG), a group of students and faculty interested in mathematics education that meets biweekly. Frequently, meetings are a forum for students to get help as they learn to carry out and present their own educational research. Because participating graduate students come from different years and programs, MLRG facilitates an apprenticeship of observation for newer students of those further along in their programs. The group intentionally embraces a broad array of research methodologies and questions, allowing students access to myriad compelling questions and research methods to investigate those questions. Jack has multiple roles in MLRG: he helped to create it, schedules meetings and finds rooms, acts as its conservator, working hard to maintain its student orientation. As student leaders graduate or leave campus, Jack supports the next generation in assuming leadership roles and responsibility for MLRG. In MLRG meetings, students develop and practice skills of collaborating on research and critiquing others’ research. While student voices are a priority in MLRG, Jack is also an important contributing member. He offers valuable insights and perspectives that help students to craft and evaluate their work, all the while modeling high quality professional critical analysis. MLRG exists because of Jack’s vision of what graduate students need and his dedication and commitment to realize that vision. 

Jack extends this work into his more formal classes as well. He artfully sequences content so that students are supported in learning critical reading and writing skills, as well as acquiring the tools they need for analyzing others’ – and their own -- work. Jack has a strong vision of the multiple skills and experiences necessary for students to develop as teachers and scholars, and he is committed to students’ holistic growth.  He has worked to create a range of practices and structures that support that development, and he uses theory to inform his thinking about when and what doctoral students can and do learn from this range of experiences. The College is lucky to have such a committed teacher in our ranks.

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