The 2021 finalists for UNC Charlotte’s top teaching awards are widely known for their student-centered approaches to teaching. Each fall, UNC Charlotte recognizes those outstanding faculty members whose talents have a positive impact on UNC Charlotte’s learning environment.
The three finalists for the 2021 Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence are Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, professor, Department of Languages and Culture Studies; Erin Miller, assistant professor, Department of Reading and Elementary Education; and Vaughn Schmutz, associate professor, Department of Sociology.
Finalists for the 2021 UNC Charlotte Award for Teaching Excellence are Kathryn Asala, teaching professor, Department of Chemistry; Mitch Eisner, clinical assistant professor, Department of Reading and Elementary Education; and Tonya Wertz-Orbaugh, senior lecturer, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies.
The UNC Charlotte Award for Teaching Excellence is open to full- or part-time non-tenure track faculty members who have at least five years of teaching service at UNC Charlotte (lecturers and adjunct faculty). Eligibility for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence is for full-time, tenured faculty members with at least seven years of service to UNC Charlotte.
Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau is recognized as a master teacher in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies and beyond. A gifted and versatile classroom instructor, she is generous with her time. Students seek her out for mentoring and are eager to help with the many extracurricular activities she organizes. Full profile.
Erin Miller’s teaching philosophy incorporates various modalities to address different learning styles as well as to demonstrate for her students the responsive pedagogies they can use in their own classrooms. She further helps the future teachers in her classes to capitalize on their strengths as learners just as they will eventually encourage their own students to do. Full profile.
Vaughn Schmutz seeks to create a collaborative classroom environment that empowers creative, critical sociological thinking among his students. He is committed to helping all students reach their potential and is known as a sought-after mentor. Full profile.
Kathryn Asala takes a scholarly approach to her teaching and advocates for research-based learning processes that have helped transform the culture of teaching STEM courses at UNC Charlotte. Full profile.
Mitch Eisner demonstrates care and interest toward all of his students and tailors his approach to the specific learning needs of each student he teaches. He is committed to continual improvement and regularly encourages students to provide feedback. Full profile.
Tonya Wertz-Orbaugh values collaborative learning where students work in groups, spend time on low-stakes assignments, and develop projects based on personal interests and goals. Her writing classes for first-year college students provide a support system for students beginning their college experience. Full profile.
The two recipients of UNC Charlotte’s Excellence in Teaching Awards will be announced Aug. 27.