June 08, 2020

Faculty recognized for teaching excellence and innovation

Four faculty members were awarded major prizes for teaching excellence and innovation this spring.

Underkofler Award

Sonya Johnson Sonya JohnsonSonya Maria Johnson, assistant professor of religious studies, received the James R. Underkofler Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Beloit’s highest teaching award, which is sponsored by Alliant Energy and based on student nominations.

Known as a dedicated teacher and mentor, Johnson’s courses are described by her students as “life-changing,” and students say that her classes are safe spaces to learn and grow. Johnson’s research focuses on how practitioners of the AmerIndian and Kongolese-inspired tradition of Palo Monte/Mayombe in eastern Cuba create spiritual family relationships that maintain their “African” identity. She suggests that the ways that they think about and enact their sacred lifeways offer perspectives on transforming social inequities. Johnson holds a dual doctorate in anthropology and African American and African studies from Michigan State University. She joined Beloit in 2016.

Phee Boon Kang Prize

Two successful proposals by three faculty members earned Phee Boon Kang Prizes for Innovation in Teaching with Technology this year. The Kang Prize was established in 1997 through the generosity of Phee Boon Kang, an alumnus and a member of Beloit’s board of trustees.

Kristin Labby and Joy Beckman Kristin Labby and Joy Beckman

Kristin Labby, assistant professor of chemistry, and Joy Beckman, George S. Parker Chair of art and art history and director of the Wright Museum of Art, teamed up to create a successful proposal to purchase a camera that can produce infrared images. Labby and Beckman will teach students to use the camera as they conduct technical examinations of selected art and artifacts in the Wright Museum collection.

Joe Bookman Joe BookmanJoe Bookman, assistant professor of media studies, submitted a successful proposal to purchase a high-quality zoom lens that will be used to support the work of students in a media studies capstone course on creating digital film. Using the lens and other equipment, students will work together to develop a film through all stages of production with the end goal of submitting their completed film to the Beloit International Film Festival as well as other film festivals.

Also In This Issue

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    The nature of worry

  • John Erickson’49 playing basketball as a student.

    In Remembrance: John Erickson’49, Coach, Fellowship of Christian Athletes CEO


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