George Mason Faculty Honored for Outstanding Teaching

Posted: May 7, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Five faculty members have been selected as 2003 George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award recipients, and another faculty member has been selected to receive the David J. King Teaching Award for 2003, an endowed award. The recipients are:

  • Nada Dabbagh, Graduate School of Education
  • Robert DeCaroli, History and Art History
  • David Haines, Sociology and Anthropology
  • David Kravitz, School of Management
  • Darren Ritzer, Psychology

The winner of the David J. King Teaching Award is John O’Connor, New Century College.

A celebration in their honor will be held tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts lobby.

The George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award was initiated in 1996 to highlight the importance of teaching in George Mason’s mission, and to recognize faculty members who are leaders within the educational community, on campus and beyond. Teaching Excellence awards are supported by the Office of the Provost. The David J. King Teaching Award was inaugurated in 2002. King was vice president for Academic Affairs at George Mason from 1982 until shortly before his retirement and death in 1988. The award in his memory is given annually to a faculty member who is both an outstanding teacher and who has made significant contributions to the overall educational excellence of the university.

Winners for both 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, are chosen by a committee composed of former award winners and the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. Teaching Excellence Award winners receive a $2,000 award and travel support to present their work at a national or regional meeting. The winner of the David J. King award receives a $500 stipend.

Dabbagh is an assistant professor of instructional technology in GSE. Her focus is online instruction, including strategies to enhance learning in online courses and the evaluation of online instruction. She worked with the Computer Science department on a complex problem-solving course and has served as a consultant to the Virginia Theological Seminary on incorporating information technology in theological training.

DeCaroli, an assistant professor of history and art history, specializes in the arts of south and southeast Asia. He has helped organize student exchange and study abroad programs with Kathmandu University in Nepal, and he also has worked extensively to help the university expand its art collections.

Haines, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology, came to the university after many years with the government and private foundations. His focus is on immigration and refugees, and he teaches Cultural Anthropology, Refugees in the Contemporary World, and Immigration. He brings to his classes a wealth of knowledge in these areas from his previous positions at the state and federal level and from his work in his professional community.

Kravitz, an assistant professor in the School of Management, has a background in social psychology, and he currently teaches courses in statistics and organizational behavior. While at the University of Kentucky, he developed a series of modules for teaching statistics that were marketed for many years. He also has published on work he did with a graduate student at Florida International University on “Students’ Perceptions of Fairness in the Classroom.”

Ritzer is an adjunct in the Department of Psychology, where he has taught part time for the last four years. He is also a major in the U.S. Army, posted at Fort Detrick, Maryland. His background is in industrial and organizational psychology. At George Mason he is known for his engaging teaching in the large student sections of Introductory Psychology. He frequently works with students on Honors and Undergraduate Apprenticeship projects, and has numerous joint conference presentations with these students.

O’Connor started his career at George Mason University in 1975. During his time at the university, O’Connor has been a leader and a visionary. He was an early user of computers in writing courses. He was part of a team that designed the Johnson Center, and was its director from 1995-97. He was the codirector of the Instructional Development Office in the early 1990s, a position where his vision helped the university achieve the level of technology in instruction for which it is recognized nationwide. He was one of the codirectors of the Zero-Based Curriculum, the predecessor of New Century College, where he served as founding dean. His vision and initiative are recognized on the national scene as well. O’Connor has received numerous grants and awards from such respected organizations as the Ford Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the American Association for Higher Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is active professionally, writing articles, giving presentations, and leading workshops for groups such as the American Association for Higher Education, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, The Association for Integrative Studies, and EDUCAUSE.

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