Six UH Manoa faculty awarded for significant contributions to teaching and student learning

University of Hawaiʻi
Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jun 14, 2006

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has awarded six faculty members with the 2006 Chancellor‘s Citation for Meritorious Teaching. Established in 1986, the award recognizes UH Mānoa faculty who have made significant contributions to teaching and student learning.

The 2006 recipients are—
Benjamin Bergen is an assistant professor linguistics. He excites students about a new view of language that challenge ideas that have dominated the field for the past 40 years. Bergen‘s approach to teaching infuses personal experiences, self-assessment, and humor. He attracts students from all disciplines including computer science, philosophy, English and psychology, which speaks to the accessibility of his style and extent of his knowledge. A colleague observed, "Bergen has shown his remarkable ability to break down traditional barriers between conversation and lecture, student and teacher, graduate and undergraduate."

Tep Dobry is an assistant professor of electrical engineering and director of academic affairs in the College of Engineering. Dobry‘s mission has been to teach the next generation of young engineers to handle the challenges—both grand and small—that engineers are called on to do on a daily basis. He enhances student learning in electrical engineering by using web-based delivery, collaborative learning, real world examples, project-based learning and peer mentoring. A colleague noted, "Tep‘s personal commitment to student success is what drives him, and what inspires and motivates his students and peers."

Gwen Naguwa is an associate professor of pediatrics in the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Naguwa‘s philosophy of teaching closely parallels her approach to patients as a practicing pediatrician. She has received excellent evaluations as a problem-based learning (PBL) small group facilitator. She has the responsibility of overseeing the pediatric clerkship for the department and serves as a community health course coordinator for first-year medical students. In this capacity, she has developed new educational experiences and progressive tools to assess student knowledge and skills. "She made sure to balance the rigorous process of learning with humanistic emphasis on the patient and a parent-like regard for the well being of her students," wrote a colleage.

Steven Robinow is an associate professor of zoology. Robinow focuses on learning not only as a measure of student performance, but also a measure of his own performance. Rather than using the traditional lecture mode, he uses Socratic methods to encourage students to participate in the learning process. He introduced personal response systems into the classroom to allow students to answer multiple-choice questions. He holds weekly "boot camps" for students who know they will have difficulty in his larger classes. A student wrote, "An excellent teacher is one that loves his work. This is Dr. Robinow."

Scott Rowland is an associate specialist in geology and geophysics. He believes that it is essential for students to know why it is important to understand geology and to know how geologists use critical thinking to figure out important concepts. He gives students the confidence and skills to think critically. Rowland teaches the field methods course and spends every Saturday and spring break in the field with groups of geology students. One student wrote, "I know of no other professor who would give up his weekends and spring break to teach his students the nuances of geological field work—let alone spend time in the deserts of California or the steep cliffs of Makapuʻu."

C. Alan Titchenal is an assistant professor of human nutrion, food and animal sciences. As a teacher, Titchenal often finds himself in the roles of "translator" and "learning facilitator." He believes that the first step in learning a science is to learn the vocabulary. So he has developed innovative teaching tools, such as crossword puzzles, to facilitate the process of learning difficulty terminology in his classes. To explain the interrelated nature of concepts, he uses stories or shows a cartoon to illustrate his point. Titchenal is an advocate of teaching beyond the classroom and does so in various public presentations, including his Honolulu Star-Bulletin column, Health Options.

Recipients will be recognized for their contributions to the university along with other UH award winners at a system-wide ceremony in September.

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