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President's Award for Excellence in Teaching

President's Award for Excellence in Teaching

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I am pleased to announce that Merrily K. Swoboda, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, has been selected to receive the 2002-2003 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She will be presented with the Award during Commencement on May 3.

Dr. Swoboda joined the Humanities Division in 1978. Regarded as an accomplished teacher, she has earned the respect of colleagues and students. Fellow faculty admires her devotion to her profession, while her students find her inspiring, challenging, and a role model. Their assessments underscore her devotion to the learning process and to the classroom.

Dr. Swoboda routinely seeks opportunities to provide meaningful experiences for her students beyond the classroom through experiential activities, internships, and professional networking. Her interest in diversity has opened dialogue and prepared students for the global environment in which they will be employed.

Dr. Swoboda earned all her degrees from the University of Pittsburgh: her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Rhetoric and her B.A. degree in Sociology.

Dr. Swoboda’s thoughts on teaching:

“My approach to teaching begins by carefully considering my audience---certain realities about the students that come to UPJ communication classrooms: that they are differently prepared, that they bring varied abilities and that they harbor anxieties about succeeding in college.”

“No philosophy of teaching is complete without reflection on the importance of careful evaluation of and response to students’ work by teachers.”

“Students learn best when they accept some responsibility for their learning, are challenged by assignments that require them to think, write and speak about course materials, receive fair and constructive criticism of their work, and feel secure enough in a classroom to take risks.”
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