Faculty members are up for nomination in two of Baldwin Wallace’s premiere awards: the Bechberger Award for Human Development and the Strosacker Award for Excellence in Teaching—both recognizing the importance of teaching.
“To many faculty, teaching and research is their deal,” said Trina Dobberstein, vice president of Student Affairs. “But at an institution like BW that really focuses on what happens to you as a total student, [we] value what faculty can do with students in advising and advising student organizations and connecting to them on a personal level so these faculty see the student as a total learner.”
The Bechberger Award is an award given for a faculty member who goes beyond their teaching duties while also demonstrating a passion for teaching, said Dobberstein.
“It solidifies and affirms for them why they went into teaching in the first place. It affirms to them they are a real teacher and mentor, and students look at them as a person that makes a difference in their experience here,” said Dobberstein.
Dobberstein said the Bechberger Award is an award where students primarily write nomination letters regarding a faculty member that “extends their commitment to students beyond the classroom.”
“Faculty can nominate someone for the Bechberger, but students frequently will nominate and that’s who we value because it’s really about how faculty members are special to students,” said Dobberstein.
The Bechberger Award is given by the student affairs division, but the group who ultimately decides the winner is combined from prior Bechberger winners, said Dobberstein.
“The selection committee is all the people who are still here who have got the Bechberger Award in the past,” said Dobberstein.
Like the Bechberger award, the Strosacker Award is also given to a faculty member that exhibits passion beyond teaching.
Assistant Provost, Lisa Henderson, said the Strosacker Award emphasizes the importance of being a professor at Baldwin Wallace and the significance of a professor’s job regarding their passion directed towards their work.
“One of the assets to our institution is our faculty,” said Henderson. “They come here for a particular reason. They come here because there’s a focus on teaching and that’s the pride and joy of their profession. We like to highlight faculty for the work that they do.”
The Strosacker Award is given to faculty that “do more than the ordinary,” said Henderson.
“These winners usually have been faculty who have attended conferences that focused on teaching,” said Henderson. “They have continued thinking about the research around good teaching and pedagogy. They take into account new trends and issues related to teaching and learning and implement these new strategies into their teaching. They spend time with students in ways that involve mentoring relationship with students; there’s mentoring and teaching that occurs both in and outside the classroom.”
Students and other faculty members nominate candidates for the award, said Henderson, and the award is chosen from a team of four prior Strosacker Award winners.
“We particularly focus on student nominations. Faculty who win this award are grateful for the recognition that they receive particularly from their students,” said Henderson. “Faculty also can nominate other faculty for the award. It’s probably that much more rewarding for that faculty member to know that a colleague or peer has recognized their good work and has taken the time and energy to write a letter of support.”
Though the award winner additionally receives a gift of money, Henderson said that the primary meaning of the award exemplifies the purpose of being an educator.
“This is the premiere award for faculty. There is a monetary value the faculty member receives, but the recognition is important because it really does amplify what we believe we are known for as an institution and that is a teaching first institution,” said Henderson.
Nominations for the Bechberger Award must be completed by Friday, Feb. 22 and Monday, Feb. 18 for the Strosacker Award.
Both awards will be given at Fall Conference before the 2019-2020 school year begins.