Three outstanding faculty members have been named as recipients of NDSU’s Peltier Award for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes innovation in teaching.
The awardees include:
• Kimberly Booth, assistant professor of practice in the biological sciences department
• Clayton Hilmert, associate professor of psychology
• Jeremy Jackson, professor of agribusiness and applied economics
The awards are sponsored by the NDSU Foundation and honorees are selected by the Faculty Awards and Recognition Committee. The recipients will be recognized by President Dean L. Bresciani and Provost Margaret Fitzgerald with a plaque during the annual NDSU Celebration of Faculty Excellence event, scheduled for Thursday, May 13, at 3 p.m.
Booth was nominated for the honor by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.
“Dr. Booth has excelled as an instructor of non-majors courses, innovating in her design and approach to large lecture teaching. Her passion is educating non-scientists in the methodology of science,” they wrote in their nomination letter. “It takes an exceptional instructor to motivate her students to learn, to make the course material relatable, and to instill in them a sense of appreciation for and interest in science. Dr. Booth has met this challenge and exceeded expectations by completely transforming the BIOL 111 and 126 courses through the implementation of numerous evidence-based pedagogical techniques.”
Booth quickly adapted her teaching methods during the COVID-19 pandemic, moving her Human Biology and Concepts of Biology courses from face-to-face lecture settings to HyFlex teaching.
“One of the major over-arching learning goals of my courses is to provide a scientific lens by which to view societal issues,” Booth said. “As such, the specific learning objectives for my courses revolve around socio-scientific issues that non-majors students should learn about to be scientifically literate in today’s society.”
She also uses innovation when teaching those courses fully online. “My online courses are arranged into modules in which students first complete a pre-class quiz over short videos or articles to obtain the background information they need to apply a concept. Then in the module, they apply the concepts by working through a variety of interactive online simulations, interactive videos and podcasts,” Booth said.
Booth joined the NDSU faculty in 2016. She earned her bachelor’s degree, teaching certificate and doctorate in zoology at NDSU. She is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research.
The Department of Psychology Faculty Affairs Committee nominated Hilmert for the recognition.
“Dr. Hilmert’s excellence as an instructor is truly astonishing,” the group wrote in its nomination letter. “Since his appointment in 2005, he has developed materials for and taught six different courses in psychology and First-Year Orientation.”
The committee noted that innovation in the classroom is spurred by challenges faced by educators. “The Health Psychology course Dr. Hilmert has designed can include up to 14 modules, each focusing on a different aspect of health psychology as a science and profession. Each module involves reading, lecture, discussion and group project components.”
Hilmert moved his courses to the HyFlex style of teaching during the pandemic and worked to use online technologies to enhance student learning.
“I am proud of my teaching record and I cherish the experiences I have with students. I believe I have benefitted from an ability to anticipate and understand when students will experience obstacles to learning,” Hilmert said. “Innovation in teaching is critical to keeping up with the ever-changing needs of students and situational demands.”
Hilmert joined the NDSU faculty in 2005. He received the 2010 College of Science and Mathematics Outstanding Teaching Award.
“I believe that through innovation in classrooms we will sustain the strong culture of learning at NDSU,” Hilmert said.
Hilmert earned his bachelor’s degree at Emory University, Atlanta and master’s degree in experimental psychology and doctorate in experimental social psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
Jackson was nominated by William Nganje, chair of agribusiness and applied economics. He praised Jackson’s leadership of the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise and his vision in creating the Mancur Olson Scholars and Mancur Olson Fellows programs.
Nganje points out that even before the pandemic Jackson used Tegrity lecture recording software in his Intermediate Microeconomics course.
“Dr. Jackson has also been an innovator in course development. He has created two completely new undergraduate courses at NDSU: Game Theory and Market Values,” Nganje wrote. “Dr. Jackson’s Game Theory class has become one of the highest enrollment economics elective courses. He teaches this class with an innovative set of classroom experiments which help make the course content come alive.”
Jackson said he has integrated technology to improve course accessibility, incorporated techniques he learned from pedagogical training and included experiential and learning activities in his courses.
“I am not a person who remains stagnant. I am constantly searching for opportunities to innovate, create and improve,” Jackson said. “During my time at NDSU, I have worked to improve my own delivery and teaching of classes and I have transformed economics from a programmatic and curricular standpoint.”
Jackson earned his bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Washington University in St. Louis.
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