CELT Learning Catalyst Fellows

CELT is dedicated to the enhancement of student learning.  The CELT Learning Catalyst Fellows are instructional faculty and instructional staff who “catalyze”—stimulate, promote, motivate, encourage—student learning and are willing to talk about how they do it. CELT will recognize up to one Learning Catalyst Fellow from each of the seven Academic Colleges each year. Fellows will share their strategies and techniques with others in their College and at the annual CELT Conference.

2013-2014 Learning Catalyst Fellows

celt director and award recipients

Previous CELT Director Sara Cooper and Learning Catalyst Award winners for 2013-2014 at the annual CELT Conference. From left to right: Bev Marcum, David Shirah, Maria Sudduth, Denise Minor, and Bill Maligie. Not pictured: Jessie Dizard and Celina Phillips.

See below for more information about each of the award recipients.

Behavioral and Social Sciences -- Jessie Dizard

In Dr. Jesse Dizard’s Teaching Philosophy, he proposes that one of his goals is to “instill a ravenous curiosity to learn,” and according to his students and peers he does exactly that. Dr. Dizard’s nominator, grad student Maija Glasier-Lawson, explains that their “first substantial interactions were during the completion of the film, “California Indian Voices”. Working on this project had a transformative effect on my conceptions of anthropology and solidified what I want to do with my career.” Graduate Equity Fellow Jeff Bryant says, “He moderated discussions with lucidity and eloquence, challenged us, and at the same time created a disarming atmosphere that encouraged students to become invested.” Undergraduate senior Shannon Johnson says, “His methods of professing are uniquely engaging and inspire a sort of excellence from his students who are usually eager to meet his expectations.” Graduate Student Tamba Sellu calls him “helpful, patient, encouraging, inspiring.” Robert Stevens enthuses, “He’s truly taught me a life-long lesson, and that’s to engage.” In sum, Professor Dizard embodies exactly the qualities imagined by the CELT Advisory Board to be most central to a Learning Catalyst Fellow, and we congratulate him heartily for winning this deserved recognition.

Business -- Bill Maligie

An indispensable asset for the College of Business, Bill Maligie has taught courses in three of their four departments. Maligie’s excellent student evaluations stem in part from his unique approach to teaching; in his own words, “I have come to understand that learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input and constructs meaning from it. I facilitate this learning concept by the use of audio, visual, and sometimes tactile sensory inputs.” Bill Maligie’s Student Evaluations of Teaching scores reflect a high level of student respect in all areas; representative remarks emphasize his passion, his incorporation of real world examples, and willingness to help students. In 2009 he was recognized for Excellence in Online Instruction in his MKTG 477: International Marketing. Interim Dean Julie Indvick says, “Without a doubt, he is committed to student success and enhancement of student learning. He has been and continues to be one of the best instructors in the College.” The CELT Advisory Board applauds Professor Maligie for his contributions to the university as a catalyst for student learning.

Agriculture -- Celina Phillips

So many students submitted letters about Dr. Celina Phillips that I can’t quote them all! Animal Science Senior Kate Moore writes, “She is passionate about teaching and it creates enthusiasm for the material during her lectures.  She constantly adds new material or different methods of instruction in her classes.” Masters student Audra Harl adds that she “inspires creativity” and “encouraged [her] love for learning.” Senior Haley Imhof notes that Celina “wants us to challenge ourselves and not to be satisfied with anything less than being excellent.” Associate Dean David Daley praises many aspects of Dr. Phillips’ teaching and advising, but especially points out her commitment to the learning of real world skills, symbolized in her extra-curricular role as faculty supervisor of the sheep/goat enterprise—done completely out of hide, pun intended. Daley asserts that “this is one of those assignments that you can only appreciate if you love teaching and you understand the value in hands-on education.” This is simply part and parcel of Professor Phillips’ basic philosophy of teaching—that “to be successful in motivating students, a faculty member must show the same commitment to education that the faculty expect from the student.” Dean Jennifer Ryder-Fox sums things up perfectly in saying that “Celina’s entire approach to student learning is as a catalyst, i.e., she presents students with information and experiences that lights them up with a passion for learning.” Kudos, Celina!

Humanities and Fine Arts -- Denise Minor

In addition to teaching Spanish and a strong new GE course, Dr. Denise Minor is the key instructor for the Spanish Pre-Credential Major. She is catalyzing learning in our students and helping future teachers learn to do the same. Spanish senior and Teaching Assistant Derek O’Bar credits Dr. Minor for his decision to make Spanish his major. Speaking of his 4 semesters of experience working with the Spanish Speaking Conversation Hour, Derek states that “Professor Minor has helped me and my fellow T.A.s spread the learning of Spanish to students who otherwise would not have been interested. She has personally helped me create numerous activities that allow Spanish to be accessible to students of all levels of comprehension.”  Chair of International Languages, Literatures & Cultures Patricia Black points out that “part of her research at the doctoral level showed her the effect of incentives on language acquisition, and she uses those insights on a daily basis to ramp up the performance of students and create improvement.” Her eclectic and experientially based teaching philosophy clearly results in students’perceptions of excellence—she has been rated as superior by a healthy majority of her students for the last seven semesters running. In her GE course on Bilingualism, students said, “Her making an effort to get to know us was nice,” and “She is very passionate about the class, which makes it easier and fun to learn.” The CELT Board wants to thank Denise for her tireless dedication to student learning!

Natural Sciences -- Bev Marcum

Jeff Bell, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, tells us that Dr. Beverly Marcum “runs multiple workshops for local teachers where they learn how to teach science in an engaging way to their own students by actually doing the lab experiments themselves, talking about the results and the pedagogy, fine-tuning the experiments, and then taking the knowledge back to their own schools… The “hands-on lab” brings school children on to our campus to do hands-on science, and Chico State students serve as their facilitators and mentors.  The excitement and energy of the children experiencing science in the hands-on lab is remarkable.  It is also a wonderful way for our students (both liberal studies and science majors) to explore first-hand the joys of teaching.” Dr. Marcum’s teaching philosophy states clearly and simply her goal: “My objective for all students is to nurture or reawaken their sense of wonder. In doing so, it is important to empower critical thinking, investigative processes and transform that sense of wonder into productive,life-long learning.” To do so, Bev Marcum employs a variety of pedagogical tools, from establishing a safe learning environment to instituting check-in activities at ten minutes intervals. However, sometimes the science of learning pales in comparison to personal characteristics. As one of her students said on a student evaluation, “Dr. Marcum is a super enthusiastic teacher.” Her chair says that “Her enthusiasm is catching and is what makes her the perfect “catalyst.”… [for] students, her colleagues, and the K – 12 teachers in our service area.” On behalf of the CELT Board, I say, keep up the good work!

Communication and Education -- Maria Sudduth

Instead of the sage on the stage, Professor Maria Sudduth sees herself as the guide on the side. Her Teaching Philosophy poem metaphorically expressed this: “We are harmony in progress/I provide you with the compositions/You provide me with the symphonies.” The School of Education Personnel Committee applauds her as an “exemplary teacher” with superior SET scores and “peer evaluations [that] consistently describe her teaching as innovative and engaging.” Esther Larocco and Chuck Zartman of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Studies enthusiastically enumerate her inspired work, explaining that, “She has created an online community where current bilingual student teachers not only network with each other, but also with Bilingual Program graduates who have become experienced teachers. The online community creates an opportunity for mentorship as well as a vehicle for graduates to maintain their currency in the field.” Chico State graduate Kendra Scanlon recently wrote to Maria Sudduth, saying: “Everything I was taught and learned is evident in this school and I am so grateful I had you as a professor because if I had not I may have gone to the school and thought it was crazy but it is my dream school, where I will be allowed to explore and grow!” It is no surprise to read SOE Director Debborah Summers’ assurance that “faculty look to Ms. Sudduth as an instructional leader.” We are ready to learn from your inspirational example, Maria, and we congratulate you for being a learning catalyst!

Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management -- David Shirah

In the words of Interim Dean Ben Juliano, David Shirah has “a passion to stimulate, promote, motivate, and encourage student learning.” For this reason he has won numerous awards, from the Associated Students Pearls of Wisdom to the Associate General Contractors of America’s 2013 Outstanding Educator. Chair of Construction Management Rovane Younger emphatically states that “the evidence of his involvement as a principal manager/advisor/teacher in the five major CM-ledcommunity service projects, involving tens of thousands of volunteer hours of students, construction professionals, public officials, and teachers can only occur when one is a catalyst.” David Shirah’s students echo this sentiment. One writes simply, “Awesome job preparing us for the real world.” Another elaborates, “His sense of humor in class helps ease the tension, but then how he teaches the material helps me learn it! This is the first class in a long time that I wake up and am excited to go to.” Truthfully, student comments on the evaluations of teaching mirror almost exactly the teacher goals and objectives outlined in Shirah’s Teaching Philosophy, demonstrating his resounding success in building the learning community he has set out to do in a very conscious manner. Since 2007 David Shirah has been inculcating a belief in Chico State students that “what they do in practice, they do in the game.” Through Blitz Build, Design Build competitions, and regular classroom interactions, he is leading students to this realization. The CELT Board is delighted to honor David Shirah as a Learning Catalyst Fellow!