2008 Mason Teaching Excellence Award Winners Honored

Posted: April 24, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

A celebration honoring the seven winners of the 2008 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Awards was held on Monday, April 21.

The winners of the 2008 Teaching Excellence Award are:

  • Joani Bedore, assistant professor, Communication
  • Pamela Cangelosi, associate professor, School of Nursing
  • Al Fuertes, instructor, New Century College
  • Margo A. Mastropieri, professor, College of Education and Human Development
  • Mara Schoeny, assistant professor, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR)

John Schreifels, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was honored with a Teaching Excellence Award with special recognition for Excellence in General Education.

Donald Gallehr, associate professor of English, was honored both with a Teaching Excellence Award and the David J. King Award for significant, long-term contributions to enhancing the overall excellence of teaching and learning at the university.

Mara Schoeny, award winner, with friends
Colleagues celebrated with Teaching Excellence Award winnners on April 21. From left, Susan Hirsch, ICAR professor; Sara Cobb, director of ICAR; award winner Mara Schoeny; and Nance Lucas, associate dean of New Century College.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

President Alan Merten, Provost Peter Stearns, faculty, students, staff, administrators and the award winners’ families and friends gathered to celebrate the achievements of these outstanding educators.

About Mason’s Award Winners

Joani Bedore
Joani Bedore

Joani Bedore teaches Interpersonal/Small Group Communication and Introduction to Public Speaking. In addition to inspiring students who take her classes, her leadership mentoring “younger” faculty members in the department is a highlight of her contributions to teaching and learning at Mason.

One of her colleagues wrote the following about her mentoring, “Dr. Bedore’s assistance has been absolutely essential. She has generously shared her well-tested materials and teaching tips with me and with all other basic course instructors and has offered us the opportunity to observe her classes. I have taken advantage of her offer and am still processing and applying what I have learned from her about the importance of instructor humility and of empowering and motivating students.”

Pamela Cangelosi
Pamela Cangelosi

Pamela Cangelosi teaches undergraduate and graduate classes and coordinates the Nurse Educator Track in the Master of Science Nursing Program. Her teaching portfolio illustrates the many strategies she implements to ignite students’ passion for learning as clinical nurses and nurse educators.

One former student and current colleague has this to say about her, “Dr. Cangelosi has made a positive difference in my learning and my scholarship during my progress from student to colleague that is worth outlining as support of teaching ability. Her ongoing support of my effort to learn and to engage in meaningful scholarship encourages me to this day.”

Al Fuertes
Al Fuertes

Al Fuertes teaches in the first-year program as well as upper division courses that intersect across topics such as conflict resolution and transformation, spirituality, and trauma and healing. He strives to create nurturing learning communities where students are able to express themselves openly and interact with each other in light of differing cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ways of responding to social issues and problems.

One student wrote, “His teaching style combines the standard lecture with student participation by facilitating class discussions, organizing constructive group and team building activities, and creating different hands-on learning experiences which simulate real conflict scenarios to help us recognize how and when to apply the concepts and theories to real life situations…[He] emphasizes the importance of positive communication and collaboration …[which] really contributes to our learning.”

Margo Mastropieri
Margo Mastropieri

Margo A. Mastropieri teaches graduate classes related to students with special needs, emotional disturbances and learning disabilities, as well as the doctoral-level educational research methods class. Her teaching goals center on preparing professionals to provide service to individuals with disabilities and preparing students to be leaders for higher education.

As one doctoral student wrote, “Her warm, supportive character and enthusiasm were ceaseless, yet she expected much from us and held us to extremely high standards. . . Every assignment set us upon a path toward our doctoral goals and, consequently, our ultimate success.”

Mara Schoeny
Mara Schoeny

Mara Schoeny directs and teaches in the new professional development graduate certificate program. As a teacher-scholar in conflict resolution, she strives to create learning environments where students can translate the theoretical insights of the academy and make them relevant to practice.

Sara Cobb, director of ICAR, had this to say about her teaching, “In all cases she helps students not only to learn, but want to learn. . . the course projects she designs allows students to draw connections between different domains of their lives. The result is not only a course that fosters inquiry, but a student who is able to integrate and synthesize their learning with life.”

John Schreifels
John Schreifels

John Schreifels teaches upper-level and introductory chemistry classes for majors and non-science majors. He has been instrumental in developing numerous online supplemental materials to support student learning, including computerized quizzes and exams and online homework programs, in addition to piloting and incorporating I-Clicker technology into his introductory chemistry classes.

Notably, 52 students in one of his fall classes wrote and signed a letter of support for his teaching excellence award upon learning of his nomination. The letter outlined the many ways he supports them and their learning.

One student wrote, “In my opinion, being a teacher . . . is about touching students’ lives, and helping them find ways to succeed. It is about working out the problems that each individual student faces while taking a class and offering them the most appropriate solution and advice. It is about treating all the students fairly and boosting their confidence and self-image. Dr. Schreifels is the embodiment of such great qualities, and I consider myself the luckiest student for having had him as a teacher and advisor.”

Don Gallehr
Don Gallehr

Donald Gallehr teaches writing and has directed the Northern Virginia Writing Project for the past 30 years. Through his mentoring of writing instructors across the region at summer institutes and in-service courses it is estimated that nearly 8,000 teachers have been involved and taken their enthusiasm and knowledge back to teach approximately 900,000 students.

He also established and directed Mason’s first writing center – the Writing Lab, created in 1975. As part of a team that wrote and was awarded a state-funded grant in 1978, Gallehr worked on faculty development across the curriculum, laying the groundwork for Mason’s current Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program. As Chris Thaiss, a former Mason colleague and the Clark Kerr Presidential Chair and director of the University Writing Program at the University of California-Davis wrote, “[Gallehr] has been, in his now 42 years at George Mason, responsible for all or in part for much of what has made the Mason writing program distinctive and stellar on the national scene . . . Don’s vision and dedication are present everywhere in the ongoing excellence and national recognition of the writing program.”

The George Mason University Teaching Excellence Awards were initiated in 1994 to highlight the importance of teaching in George Mason’s mission and to recognize those faculty members who are leaders within the educational community, on campus and beyond. The award for Excellence in General Education was inaugurated in 2005 to recognize a faculty member who makes outstanding educational contributions in the university’s general education program.

Teaching Excellence Awards are coordinated and directed by Kimberly K. Eby, associate provost for faculty development and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. Winners for all awards are selected through a competitive process in which they document their educational excellence through a teaching portfolio and other materials.

Finalists in the process, and the winners, were chosen by a committee of faculty with expertise in issues of teaching and learning; committee members were primarily former award winners. This year’s committee members were Giuseppina Kysar Mattieti, Ellen Rodgers, Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, Suzanne Scott, Odette Willis and Paige Wolf.

Teaching Excellence Award winners receive a $2,000 stipend and travel support to present their work at a national or regional conference.

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