2019 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Honored for their superior teaching, faculty members are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and selected by a committee of alumni, students and faculty.
Tami Augustine Profile Picture

Tami Augustine

Associate Professor–Clinical, Department of Teaching and Learning
College of Education and Human Ecology

As an educator of future teachers, Dr. Tami Augustine inspires her students in every class and interaction with her personalized approach to teaching and her regard for them as individuals.

Within the classroom, Augustine adapts to different learning styles and models how future classrooms might look and function by utilizing a variety of technologies; lectures; group, partner and written work; seminars; and podcasts. She provides detailed feedback and encourages students to improve their assignments even after they’ve submitted them. And she holds discussions about current events and controversial topics in which her students feel heard.

“She creates a space where students are comfortable to be themselves, share their thoughts, and explore new ways of thinking and learning,” says one student. “By the end of the semester, she makes our class feel…like a family.”

What truly sets Augustine apart for many of her students is her emphasis on their personal well-being; she understands the extent to which their academic performance is affected by other factors in their lives. Augustine encourages self-care with breaks and periods of meditation and reflection in class, and students can meet with her at other times to discuss what’s on their minds, be it related to the course, teaching or other matters entirely.

As a result, Augustine is able to challenge her students to try things outside of their comfort zone and even experience vulnerability while providing them a supportive environment in which to grow.

Augustine’s students recognize that they are not the only beneficiaries of her exceptional teaching. “She teaches us to teach with heart by modeling it herself,” says a student. “Her effort toward making her students become their best for their students will impact thousands of lives in the future.”

Augustine holds her PhD in Social Studies and Global Education from Ohio State, where she also serves as Director of Teacher Education in the Columbus campus’ Department of Teaching and Learning.

Jackie Blount Profile Picture

Jackie M. Blount

Professor, Department of Educational Studies
College of Education and Human Ecology

Jackie Blount’s students don’t have to wait to find out what being a scholar feels like; she treats them like junior scholars whose work has meaning starting on the first day of class.

Blount designs her classes and assignments around helping students do meaningful work they can be proud of, while helping them find their place in the disciplines they are studying. She utilizes role-playing and debates to engage students with major topics and help them appreciate the complexities of important issues. “I remember being really challenged by a class discussion about who should fund education—local, state, or federal governments,” a graduate student recalls. “By making us choose a side, she encouraged us to really think about our reasoning for our positions.”

Blount is generous with her knowledge, steering students to various resources used by professionals in the field that make their research richer and more engaging. She allows students to explore their own interests while guiding them toward novel ways to approach already established ideas. She celebrates their successes and helps them pursue new opportunities to develop and make a name for themselves as scholars. Writes a student, “When I took an unexpected turn in my research, she rejoiced with me about the project’s newfound originality. By letting me learn what has already been said on my own, Professor Blount allowed me to really internalize parts of my research project.”

She provides recommendations and looks out for opportunities that might benefit her students. “Professor Blount has been an incredible resource as I try to build an identity as a scholar,” shares a student. “She is always quick to respond when I ask her for a recommendation, and she always remains interested in the kinds of opportunities I am pursuing, telling me that she will keep her ear open for any other opportunities like those.”

Peter Craigmile Profile Picture

Peter F. Craigmile

Professor, Department of Statistics
College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract statistical theory with a heavy dose of matrix algebra might not sound like an entertaining way to spend an hour, points out a former student of Professor Peter Craigmile, “but Peter’s classes are never dull.”

Rather than simply lecturing at students, Craigmile leads a lively discussion. He engages the class through questions embedded in his lectures, which cover both theoretical concepts and real data analysis examples.

His very presence commands attention. “As a student in his class, I remember thinking he did a good job of keeping me on the edge of my seat by constructing his lectures such that I was always interested to see where things would go next,” recalls a student.

Another student concurs, sharing, “he is constantly moving around the room and gesticulating with his arms. Peter’s passion for the subject is obvious in the energy he brings to every class and he seems to savor the opportunity to share his knowledge with his students.”

The lessons Craigmile imparts in the classroom continue to impact students long after graduation. Says an alumna, “Today, almost 10 years later, I still find myself using the phrase ‘like you do with a GLM’ with my own students when I see parallels between their own statistical questions and generalized linear models. I attribute this ability to retain the information I learned from Dr. Craigmile to his outstanding teaching.”

Craigmile received his PhD from the University of Washington and joined Ohio State’s statistics faculty in 2001.

Jonathan Ezell Profile Picture

Jonathan Kyle Ezell

Professor of Practice
Knowlton School of Architecture

Professor of Practice Kyle Ezell has been widely recognized at Ohio State for his contributions to the classroom, receiving the Charles MacQuigg Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Engineering in 2014, the Faculty Award for University Community Members Who Have Made a Positive Influence on Ohio State Students from the Ohio State Student Life Residences on 10th in 2012, and the Award for Outstanding Commitment to Student Education from the Ohio State Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association in 2012. When you hear from his students, the grounds for these accolades quickly become apparent.

“Professor Ezell brings an unprecedented level of excitement and passion to each class he teaches,” writes an alumna. “His enthusiasm is contagious, and as a student in one of his classes you can't help but feel the same amount of excitement towards what you're working on.”

Says another alumnus: “Professor Ezell's classroom is entrenched in innovation, self discovery, a safe space for ideas to be fostered and flourish, and a professional setting that commands discipline, respect, project results, and a sense of humor and fun while it's all being done.”

A graduate student describes the courses Ezell led in the design of focus groups to design living environments for individuals with autism—a partnership with the non-profit Autism Living. The project won the Ohio State Faculty Award for Excellence in Community-Based Scholarship. “We had countless conversations and thoughtful debates about what is equity in planning, and how to deal with the ‘otherness’ or diversity involved in any planning project,” writes the student.

From helping a student coming to terms with navigating college life as a member of the LGBTQ community to “going the extra mile” for a student who underwent a sudden heart surgery, Ezell’s students detail a record of caring that far exceeds the requirements of his job.

He holds a BS in business administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an MS in geography from South Dakota State University.

John Horack Profile Picture

John M. Horack

Neil A. Armstrong Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering

Walk into John Horack’s engineering classroom and one of the first things you’ll notice is the words he writes on the board each day: “All are welcome.” As a student explains, “He does this to remind us that he wants us all to feel invited and that we all have a friend in him.”

Indeed, that’s a mantra Horack lives in the classroom. An undergraduate woman of color describes a time that one of her classmates—also a woman of color—had difficulty expressing her thoughts about something because of cultural differences. “She stopped in the middle of her statement and said she did not want to go on because she thought Dr. Horack wouldn’t be able to understand with him being a white man… He assured her he wanted to hear what she had to say because he wanted to understand. After she shared, he commented on how brave she was for sharing and thanked her for giving him a new perspective.” Horack earned students’ respect that day, as they saw him genuinely interested in learning from his students and being unafraid to delve into subjects that might feel uncomfortable.

In his class on leadership, Horack models leadership for his students by being a leader in the classroom, including sharing his own insecurities and flaws. “It was really cool to have a professor who wasn’t afraid to show his flaws and admit his mistakes, because it taught us so much about leadership and gave us insight into Dr. Horack as a person,” writes a student. “It showed us that he is a human, which is always a great way to build connection and trust, which is something a leader must know how to do.”

Horack holds a PhD and master’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and a bachelor of science in physics and astronomy from Northwestern University. He is an FAA-licensed flight instructor, with commercial and instrument pilot ratings.

Claire Kamp Dush Profile Picture

Claire Kamp Dush

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences
College of Education and Human Ecology

Since arriving at Ohio State as a professor in 2006, Claire Kamp Dush has cultivated a reputation for exceptional teaching, creating communities that are conducive to learning and embracing new technologies and instructional techniques that keep her courses cutting-edge and relevant.

As a part of the UCAT/ODEE Active Learning Community, Kamp Dush was among the first instructors at the university to design a “flipped” classroom for her online and in-person class simultaneously. Says an undergraduate enrolled in Kamp Dush’s family development course, “The flipped classroom learning environment is an effective, enjoyable way to learn the content. The classroom experience is extremely friendly and open-minded, while Dr. Kamp Dush remains devoted to preserving the sanctity of a distraction-free learning environment.”

She has encouraged other instructors to share materials across disciplines, crowdsourcing materials within a network of colleagues that are shared through the numerous Facebook groups she has created.

She is a valued mentor to graduate students. A blog she created on graduate student professional development in the social sciences—covering topics such as “Implicit Bias, Micro-aggressions, and Micro-resistance” and “Professional Organizations: Why You Should Join Them, How to Get the Most Out of Their Meetings, and How to Avoid Going Broke Doing So”—has received almost 13,000 visits from over 9,000 users.

Students appreciate the shared humanity she extends to their learning experience—particularly her attention to underrepresented students. Says a former graduate student, “Claire is a first-generation college student, as am I. Her sensitivity to the needs of students like me is invaluable, as she recognizes the unique struggles of first-generation students as they navigate the unspoken rules of academia and college life.”

Kamp Dush earned her PhD and MS degrees from Pennsylvania State University, and her BS from the University of Illinois. She has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several National Institutes of Health grants and other major federally funded projects.

Glenn Martinez Profile Picture

Glenn Martinez

Professor, Department of Spanish and Portugese
College of Arts and Sciences

Glenn Martinez’s students cannot say enough about the impact he is having on their lives. Asks one student: “Have you had a professor who checked in with you about academic opportunities you never knew existed? Who took you to conferences, helped you apply for scholarships, and helped you realize that maybe you could not just exist in an academic world but thrive?”

Martinez ensures the content in the classroom connects to students’ everyday experiences. Says one student, “Every assignment is concluded with ‘How does this relate to your real world experiences?’” For Martinez and his students, part of that “real world” experience includes building a pipeline of Latinx students to the medical professions as part of the IMPACT program at Westland High School on Columbus’s west side. “I am continually impressed by his leadership of this program as well as his efforts to help graduate students learn about Spanish as a heritage language so that we are prepared to support these students needs throughout our future careers,” says a graduate student.

Students also appreciate the inclusive community he creates. Whether it’s providing a listening ear—or just the simple act of treating his students with respect and dignity—Martinez’s students see him as an ally who can empathize with struggles like sexism and racism. “He creates an inclusive and safe environment for students and takes students’ opinions seriously,” says a student. Thanks to a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need grant he received, Martinez is able to offer his graduate students paid research opportunities that sometimes make the difference in whether a student can afford to remain in school.

Martinez received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MPH from Texas A&M, a master’s in Spanish linguistics from the University of Houston and a BA in Spanish from the University of Texas-Pan American.

Danielle Marx Scouras Profile Picture

Danielle Marx-Scouras

Professor, Department of French and Italian
College of Arts and Sciences

Danielle Marx-Scouras’s former and current students agree: her teaching goes “above, beyond, and then some.” Says an undergraduate, “Dr. Marx-Scouras epitomizes what it means to be a scholar of French; she is incredibly well versed in the idiosyncrasies and nuances of French language and culture.”

Students widely praise her passion for the subject matter, the challenging and lively discussions she encourages in the classroom (“kind-hearted debates,” as one student calls them) and the depth at which she analyzes culture through her courses. Says a current student, “She educates on subjects that are often not talked about, even in cultural courses, such as racism, toxic nationalism and lasting effects of colonialism.”

A pedagogical innovator, Marx-Scouras was awarded Ohio State’s Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring in 2004, and the inaugural Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014.

Rarely do Marx-Scouras’s students file out of the room right after class. “Every day there are students lingering behind to continue our class discussion or to chat with Professor Marx-Scouras,” says one student. “In this fast-paced world, that means a lot to me. She stays and continues to engage students because … she is passionate, and that is something I hope to carry with me for my entire career.”

Indeed, Marx-Scouras has had an incredible influence on the lives of her current and past students. She “encouraged me to study abroad in Quebec and continue to practice and read in French outside the classroom,” writes a student. “As a result, I now work in a field where I use my second language on a daily basis and have been able to make it a unique asset in my field.”

Marx-Scouras earned her PhD in comparative literature from Columbia University, a master of arts in French from Boston University and a bachelor of arts in French-Honors from Simmons College.

Gregory Nixon Profile Picture

Gregory J. Nixon

Associate Dean–Clinical Services
College of Optometry

In both the classroom and the clinic, Gregory Nixon brings an intensity and passion that enables his students to understand the most complex concepts. For example, in his ocular pathology course on glaucoma, he hosts two educational seminars—one in which doctors with extensive knowledge on glaucoma present cases to the students and then spend several hours discussing the cases in small groups, and another where six to eight patients with glaucoma sit as patients in a grand rounds seminar. The combination of doctors sharing their real-world knowledge and the hands-on examination of patients enables students to grasp and retain information about this challenging topic.

Students praise his approachable yet challenging teaching style. “Dr. Nixon doesn’t ask if anybody has questions,” says a former student. “Rather he invites questions—and won’t move on until students ask. He understands introverts may take longer than extroverts to raise their hand … and that certain topics take longer to grasp.” While none of his students will receive a “get out of jail free card” in his course, “he inspires all his students to push themselves to be the best they can be.”

The impression Nixon has made on his students continues long after graduation. Says a former professional student, “He is a definitive role model for what an optometrist should aspire to.” Says another alumnus, “Dr. Nixon is an exceptional role model and personifies what a Doctor of Optometry should be.”

In addition to teaching multiple courses in the College of Optometry, Nixon also directs all fourth-year optometry students’ extern sites, teaches at the college’s clinic as a clinical professor and is involved in student programs to promote leadership—all while maintaining partnership at Professional VisionCare in Westerville and Johnstown, Ohio.

Nixon received his Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University and his BA from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Chad Rappleye Profile Picture

Chad Rappleye

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology
College of Arts and Sciences

Rappleye’s colleague in the Department of Microbiology describes it best: “Professor Chad Rappleye eats, drinks and breathes teaching.” Since arriving at Ohio State in 2007, he has taught 10 different courses to more than 900 students, including solo-teaching a foundational course on eukaryotic pathogens, co-teaching the microbiology foundational graduate student seminar course, a suite of courses about eukaryotic microbes, and contributing to other courses in microbiology and the College of Medicine.

Rappleye fosters a supportive classroom experience that pushes students to think far outside of their comfort zones, says his colleague. He does so using a diverse and modern pedagogical toolkit and by creating a constructively critical environment for learning.

His exceptional evaluation scores—averaging 5 out of 5 over the past two years and 4.64 throughout his entire career—and the accompanying written comments bear out his students’ admiration for his teaching style. “I’d always heard about people having taken life-changing classes and I finally understand it,” writes a student. “This is hands-down the best class I have taken here, and I felt like instead of learning facts, I learned a new way of thinking. This class made me decide to apply for graduate programs because it sparked an intense interest to find out more in this area.”

Says another, “I have never felt so challenged by material in a course as I have with this, but at the same time never found as much joy in solving the problems, or found as much satisfaction in knowing not only could I solve these logic problems, but knowing also that these same problems were analogous to real life scenarios in both medicine and the laboratory.”

Beyond his regular teaching responsibilities, Rappleye helps to integrate new students into microbiology by co-teaching the first-year student orientation course, and he leads the Graduate Curriculum Committee.

Rappleye earned his PhD from the University of California, San Diego, and completed his post-doc at Washington University. He received his bachelor of science from the University of Utah.

Nominations                    Previous Winners