Tags Posts tagged with "faculty stars"

faculty stars

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Barbara Aronson
Professor of Nursing & Ed.D. Coordinator
Department of Nursing


Dear Professor,

This past semester I was faced with a very stressful family event. While on campus to see my dissertation chair, you happened to see me waiting and inquired how I was doing. I am sure youdid not expect to hear the story I told youBut you listened with kindness and understanding. You offered some supportive suggestions to help me not only manage this time in my life, but to put my educational goals into perspective. Throughout this semester you have been a source of guidance. When faced with a decision to possibly withdraw from the program, you took it upon yourself to seek out a solution that I was not able to see. You have been a source of guidance during a time of darkness in my personal life. I find that I look to you for help, but also find that I want to prove to you that I can make it through this challenging time. I am grateful to have you as my advisor. You have gone out of your way to show me that having balance is essential. It is so apparent that you truly care.

Thank you,
Deborah Morrill


About Barbara Aronson

Favorite Teaching Moment(s):

Some of my most favorite teaching memories happen after the long process of helping my students write, conduct and defend their dissertations. As I watch them on the podium during the defense, nothing can match the pride I feel for my students, knowing how hard they have worked and the many obstacles and frustrations they have overcome. Being a part of their dissertation journey, and watching them transition from novice researchers to emerging scholars, is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a faculty member at SCSU.

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe good teaching is student-centered and grounded in evidence-based teaching practices and theories of teaching and learning. Excellent teachers set high expectations for students and encourage students to be active partners in their own learning and development as a practitioner or teacher/scholar. Providing prompt feedback to students and opportunities for ongoing student/faculty interaction and collaborative problem solving will prepare students to be innovators in their future practice. Active teaching practices encourage students to be self-directed and accountable for their learning. Teachers who role model professionalism, caring, curiosity, respect and humility in their teaching and interactions with students prepare students to extend the same virtues to their patients or students in their future practice.

Favorite Course to Teach:

One of my favorite courses to teach is Theories of Teaching and Learning in Adult and Higher Education. This is one of the very first courses our Ed.D. in Nursing Education students take in the program. While they are understandably overwhelmed by the amount of work in the course, they quickly come to realize how helpful learning about educational theories can be to them in their role as academic nurse educators. What is most gratifying to me as a teacher is to hear how they are using what they are learning each week to improve their teaching. As one student said, “The knowledge and understanding of adult learning theory I gained in this class has had a tremendous impact on my teaching and course design. I have begun to incorporate the different theories into my class presentations. I now see the students as a unique, multi-generational, multicultural set of learners. This course has also shifted my framework from my teaching to student learning.”

Recent Courses Taught:

  • NUR 432: Adult Responses to Complex Health Problems
  • NUR 443: Nursing Capstone
  • NUR 801: Theories of Teaching and Learning in Adult and Higher Education
  • NUR 803: Curriculum Development, Implementation, and Evaluation in Nursing
  • NUR 813: Dissertation Seminar I
  • NUR 814: Dissertation Seminar II
  • NUR 817: Continuing Dissertation Advisement

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Meredith Sinclair
Assistant Professor of English
Department of English


Dear Professor,

Thank you for devoting countless hours to advising your students, formally and informally, and guiding us to the best options, particularly in the teaching field. Your strongly held belief in the transformative effect of good teaching inspires me to seek what’s best for me, and for future generations. You extended your advising through the student group Urban Education Fellows. By helping us develop a mission in urban schools, you make education more than a matter or a career.


About Meredith Sinclair

Favorite Teaching Moment:

I most love when students ask questions I don’t have an immediate answer for. I try in my pedagogy to support students in being curious and being comfortable with discomfort. When they do spring the tough questions and then engage in the intellectual work of sorting through answers—that’s a really great feeling.

Teaching Philosophy:

It’s important for students to understand their purpose for being in an educational space and to be truly invested in the work (instead of being there because they have to be). I’m always looking for new ways to engage students in dialogue—with the work, with classmates, and with their own thinking—to help them find that purpose. I have to model this, too, of course. I’m always rethinking how a course looks, what assignments we do and so on, and try to be transparent with students about that process so that together we learn how to build challenging intellectual spaces. Above all, I think we have to have true care for and interest in our students as human beings.

Favorite Course to Teach:

ENG 492, which is a course focused on reading pedagogy, is my favorite course to teach because that’s my primary area of research and a particular passion. I also love EDU 413 because I get to introduce pre-service teachers from all disciplines to some of the fundamentals of the profession. My Young Adult Literature class (ENG 372) has taught me a lot and has been an exciting course to design. I always love the energy I get from working with our English pre-service teachers during student teaching (ENG 496).

Recent Courses Taught:

  • ENG 372: Young Adult Literature
  • ENG 496: Student Teaching Seminar (English)
  • EDU 413: Secondary Teaching

man holding math object

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Braxton Carrigan
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics


Dear Professor,

You have been my inexhaustibly patient informal advisor. You entertain my half-baked math questions. You offer direction on my independent research. With your recommendation, I was invited to visit a graduate school recruitment program in October. We recently published a result on a problem that I learned about from your math colloquium series last year. I learned LaTeX as a direct consequence of our co-authorship. With your help, I have learned math subtopics and been allowed opportunities that otherwise would have been inaccessible to me. If I am admitted to graduate school next year, it will be impossible to overstate your influence. On top of all that, you are fun and energetic about math. Southern is represented well by you, Dr. Carrigan, and I feel lucky to have worked with you.”

Thank you,
David Diaz, ’19 🦉


About Braxton Carrigan

Favorite Teaching Moment:

My favorite “memory” is a bit more general. When a student comes into a course claiming to “hate math” and then at some point says, “you know, this is really fun” or “that’s cool,” it’s incredibly rewarding. One of the funnier instances of this happened during a summer course. The student was taking the only required math course for roughly the 4th time. About halfway through the course, she came up to me and said, “I think if I had you sooner, I may have wanted to learn all this crap! It really isn’t that bad and you do seem to enjoy it.”

Teaching Philosophy:

Students have to be active participants in the learning process. Mathematics is not a spectator sport! Getting students engaged helps them develop problem-solving skills, activates inquiry, and gives them ownership of their knowledge. Most importantly, it trains them to be life long learners, which I believe is the key for success as the world changes so much throughout our lifetime.

Favorite Course to Teach:

MAT 250 – Foundations of Mathematics: This course serves as the gateway to most upper-level mathematics courses. Majors encounter the foundations of mathematical abstraction and develop the inquiry needed for a career in mathematics. I love to be a part of students’ growth and development as abstract thinkers!

Recent Courses Taught:

  • MAT 150: Calculus 1
  • MAT 178: Elementary Discrete Mathematics
  • MAT 260: Geometry in the Arts

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Laura Bower-Phipps
Professor & Coordinator of Elementary/Bilingual Undergraduate Programs
Department of Curriculum and Learning


Dear Professor,

You are a model of impactful teaching and mentoring at SCSU. You are not only committed and reliable, but you are a positive and effective educator and researcher for your students, colleagues and community partners. I have interacted with you considerably in your capacity as my master’s thesis advisor, mentor, co-researcher, and most recently, dissertation committee member. During this time, I have come to know you very well and therefore can comment on many aspects of your advising and mentoring. It has been a true blessing working with you, and I genuinely appreciate your guidance, encouragement, and commitment to providing the most positive and productive experiences possible. You are reliably accessible and provide constructive and frequent feedback. An important aspect of your interactions with students is your ability to provide structure while allowing students autonomy and opportunities for growth and creativity.

Thank you,
Lauren Chicoski, Ed.D., ’19 🦉


About Laura Bower-Phipps

Favorite Teaching Moment:

My students created sidewalk chalk art to show what they had learned from a book we read for class. I tweeted their masterpieces, and the book author re-tweeted their work.

Teaching Philosophy:

I believe that students are most successful in the classroom when they are engaged in the types of work they will do after they leave SCSU. I work to embed this type of meaningful learning in my courses. For some of my grad students, that has meant presenting research with me at national conferences. For my undergrads, it has meant partnering with schools and community organizations to promote elementary students’ learning.

Favorite Course to Teach:

It’s hard to choose a favorite course because I enjoy them all. I love teaching the student teaching seminar because I get to watch my students transition from being students to being teachers over the course of the semester. I also love how much I learn about my students in the Family Partnerships course, and how much I learn about schools from my students in the Responsive Curriculum & Assessment Course.

Recent Courses Taught:

  • Family, School, and Community Partnerships
  • Student Teaching Seminar
  • Responsive Curriculum & Assessment

Professor Kevin

✉️ Deliver to:

Dr. Kevin Buterbaugh
Professor and Department Chair
Department of Political Science


Dear Professor,

You see the best in students and invest in them accordingly. You constantly introduce students to scholarships, internships, and extracurricular opportunities that you think they should strive for. Even when a student feels they are not equipped for it, you encourage (and convince!) students to try anyway. You address your advisees as your equals; never once have I seen you talk down to a student or make them feel as if their questions or concerns are not worth your time.

Thank you,
Tea Carter, ’20 🦉


About Dr. Buterbaugh

Favorite Teaching Moments:

I have many favorite teaching memories. I have two in regards to Tea Carter who nominated me.

Tea in my Contemporary World Politics class asked me a question on civil war resolution. I gave a rather cursory answer to Tea. Once class was over I realized that my answer was insufficient. I went home and reviewed the material we read for class and reviewed material I had collected on civil wars and their resolution. I began my next class by answering properly Tea’s question. Why is this a favorite memory? This is why I teach – to be challenged by students – and to interact. I learn as students learn. And, it is often through the most challenging questions that I learn the most. Or even learn that I do not have an answer.

Two weeks ago I read the first draft of Tea’s thesis proposal. I was amazed by its quality and the growth that it showed. Tea came in as a very strong student, but her thesis proposal shows she has reached a new level. Watching her grow through 3 years at Southern has been a wonderful experience. I am proud of the small part I may have played in her growth. And, I feel honored to be her thesis advisor.

Teaching Philosophy:

My primary philosophy is that students write to learn – and learn to write.

Thus, my classes have many small writing assignments connected to course readings. These assignments help students to engage with the course material. In engaging, they learn to write.  Through their writing, they learn the course material – but more importantly – how to interpret, critique, and discuss course material. The assignments are low pressure – none will be decisive in the grade – this allows students to work without fearing failure. The assignments are significant in total but each on its own is not.

I also work to encourage students – especially – through advisement. I often send students emails encouraging them to participate in an activity, to compete in a contest or to apply for an internship. I hope by encouraging students that they will expand their world and become more active in their educations. Students often do not know how good they can be. Part of my role is to prod them into activities where I believe they can thrive, even when they may not believe it themselves.

Favorite Course to Teach:

This is a difficult one. I guess “PSC 230: War” is my favorite course. It is a Tier 2 LEP course that is not tied at all to the major. So, I get a wide variety of students that take it.

The course covers a broad range of content – theories of war, ethics in war, and the experience of war (soldiers and civilians). The diversity of the classroom leads to some very interesting discussions. This is especially the case when we get to the experience of war, as students engage with first-person narratives.

I created this course in 2012 when the new LEP came online. I teach it every semester. I have tweaked the course occasionally – but in general – the course has been so rewarding that I have kept the general framework of the course the same. This is rare for me. Most of my courses change fundamentally every 3 or 4 years.

Recent Courses Taught:

Fall 2018:

  • PSC 230: War
  • PSC 398: Terrorism – Extreme Politics