MADISON ― Two university professors and one academic department will be honored by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents this fall for excellence in teaching.
The winners of the 2005 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:
- Kenneth Maly, professor of philosophy, UW-La Crosse
- Bradley Caskey, professor of psychology, UW-River Falls
- Department of Biology and Microbiology, UW-Oshkosh
According to Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee, chair of the Teaching Excellence Awards Selection Committee, the awards annually recognize UW System faculty and staff who have made outstanding career achievements and academic departments or programs that show extraordinary commitment to teaching.
“It is always difficult to select the winners of this award because the UW System is overflowing with outstanding educators,” said Regent Davis, who was joined on the Teaching Excellence Awards Selection Committee by Regents Charles Pruitt, Jesus Salas and Christopher M. Semenas. “This year’s winners are absolutely wonderful examples of faculty who have demonstrated over the life of their careers that the students’ experience is the most important attribute of teaching.”
Professor Kenneth Maly not only has created four new courses as part of the curriculum, but also 17 new, one-time course offerings during his 26 years at UW-La Crosse. His high standards stress his students’ potential in the field of philosophy. Dr. Maly believes his students have within themselves the tools to succeed, and he makes students want to attain that success.
“As a classroom teacher, Dr. Maly is simply a master teacher,” remarked one colleague. “He has always been deeply concerned about student learning and continues year after year to generate great excitement as well as significant learning in the classroom.”
A former student said Dr. Maly’s History of Ancient Philosophy course was “the single best course I ever took in my entire college career, undergraduate or graduate.”
“He did not just impart information about the Greek thinkers, along with various philosophical skills,” the student said, noting that Maly also encouraged students “to think, to attempt to uncover the hidden depths in the texts and questions of ancient philosophy.”
Maly also serves as Director of Environmental Studies and has taught several interdisciplinary courses with UW-La Crosse colleagues.
Professor Bradley Caskey has been a faculty member at UW-River Falls since 1990. His students and colleagues have complimented his abilities to help undergraduate students become actively involved through his theory of “engaged instruction,” his high-energy instructional style with the goal of educating at an entertaining and interactive level.
“Dr. Caskey stood out from all my other professors as a result of his ability to connect with his students,” one student said, noting that Caskey also serves as a student adviser. “He played a critical role in students’ preparation for life after college.”
Another student lauded Professor Caskey’s efforts to make his classes as engaging as possible and his drive to get to know each of his students, despite often having large class sizes.
Collaboration among faculty members at a university is also crucial to student success, as demonstrated by the Biology and Microbiology department at UW-Oshkosh. Through the collaborative efforts of its faculty, the department leads the campus in efforts to use the university’s Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Grants to work on regional, national and international projects, and was recently awarded a $260,000 National Science Foundation grant to bring underrepresented students to campus to work with faculty members.
“The Biology and Microbiology Department is unsurpassed in the opportunities it offers to its students,” remarked one of the department’s students.
Another former student said her experiences with the department’s faculty assisted her tremendously when she began her doctoral work, despite not having earned a Master’s degree. She said the work she did with the department prepared her just as much as her fellow doctoral candidates who had received Master’s degrees.
“I must admit that I was apprehensive about bypassing a Master of Science Degree and directly pursuing my doctoral work,” she said. “However, I quickly realized that the Department of Biology and Microbiology at UWO had more than adequately prepared me for this endeavor.”
The Board of Regents will honor these outstanding teachers and academic department with the 14th annual Regents Teaching Excellence Awards during its Oct. 6-7 meeting in Madison.