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April 14, 2011 Volume 32, No. 27

Best in class


CLASS(ROOM) ACT Chancellor Brady J. Deaton paid a visit to the classroom of MU School of Journalism Professor Mike McKean to announce that McKean had been honored by colleagues with a 2011 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. McKean was among five MU faculty members who received the award last week, which comes with a $10,000 prize. McKean has been an integral part of the journalism school faculty for 25 years. Rob Hill photo


MU honors teaching excellence

Last week marked one of the most important rites of spring at the University of Missouri — presentation of the William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence.

The fellowships, established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift, honor five outstanding teachers at MU each year. As is the custom, this year’s awards were presented in the winners’ classrooms by Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. The fellowships come with a $10,000 prize.

Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

This year’s winners are:

• Bethany Stone

Bethany Stone, assistant teaching professor in the Division of Biological Sciences since 2004, teaches introductory biology courses and courses focusing on botany, infectious diseases and genetic diseases.

But Stone aims to do more than merely give students facts and definitions to memorize. Her teaching centers on making a topic feared by many students into a topic they feel comfortable discussing with others. Stone invites students to come to her office hours where students make deeper connections with her and gain better understanding of science.

• Mike McKean

Six years ago, Mike McKean created the Convergence Journalism Emphasis Area in the School of Journalism. Students who enroll in the emphasis area gain skills working with different types of media, including radio, websites and television.

An integral part of the journalism faculty for 25 years, McKean pushes students to succeed and play a part in the transformation of media. He has advised more than 75 teams of seniors as they developed real-world multimedia projects, and he has created competitions in which students design applications for such industry-leading corporate partners as Apple, Adobe, Google and the Hearst Corporation.

• Naveh-Benjamin

Etti Naveh-Benjamin has taught cross-cultural psychology and Israeli culture courses at MU since 2002, and has served as the director of the Multicultural Certificate program since 2008.

She advises students selecting multicultural and diversity courses to complement their backgrounds and disciplines, changing the way they view the world. Previously Naveh-Benjamin has received several teaching awards including the Purple Chalk Award from the College of Arts and Science and the Catalyst Award for excellence in teaching and contributing to diversity at MU.

• Elizabeth Chang

Elizabeth Chang, assistant professor in the Department of English since 2004, teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in Victorian literature and other topics.

Chang encourages students not to just read Victorian literature, but imagine themselves in the time the text was written. To help them understand the time period, she presents images of Victorian England and takes students to Ellis Library to flip through period magazines. She says this gives students a chance to have a truly lasting experience that could not be achieved by looking at images of the magazines in a presentation.

• Deborah Hanuscin

Deborah Hanuscin, an associate professor of physics and education since 2004, teaches science as more than a list of facts, but rather something students should see in everyday life.

As part of that mission, Hanuscin serves as an adviser to the MU chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. She has helped students organize community outreach events and increase membership. Hanuscin has received several campus teaching awards, including the College of Education’s Outstanding Undergraduate Instructor of the Year and the Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award.