College of Arts & Letters 2021 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

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College of Arts & Letters 2021 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

College of Arts & Letters 2021 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

The following is a list of the educators receiving the #iteachmsu Educator Award from the College of Arts and Letters. For more information on these awards, check out the article entitled "#iteachmsu Educator Awards".

Deric McNish: Deric is an outstanding educator, for sure. But he is also an exceptional colleague and I just want people to recognize his compassionate and thoughtful approach to holistic learning and his coordination and organization of the largest population in our department-- the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. He is a wonderful leader in that program. He also inspires me to be more thoughtful with decisions I make through his guidance and examples. He is a colleague and peer that inspires me and others.

Danielle Devoss: Danielle is an inspirational leader and guide. I have worked with her on numerous projects-- or more likely watched her work. She is tireless and completely focused and committed. I am constantly inspired by her dedication and selfless willingness to help and guide.

Krsna Santos: Herr Santos has been one of the most considerate Professors I've had in my Freshman year so far. Starting off school online with this pandemic and all has not been easy but I've never had to stress out with Herr Santos and his class, as he is very understanding of the circumstances and is willing to make compromises to help me succeed.

Hannah Allen: Professor Allen has been extremely helpful in my first year as a freshman here at MSU. Her method for preparing for and going over essays is less stressful and she is always willing to offer additional assistance if needed. She is very kind and considerate as well, especially when connection issues arise.

Adam Gacs: I dropped out of GRM 202 the first time I tried to take it. I felt overwhelmed and I was drowning. After I left nearly the entire first test blank, I dropped the class. It took two years before I tried again, this time with Adam Gacs. Under his gentle guidance, I’ve been able to maintain a 4.0 and grow in my confidence. I no longer worry about not having all the words or stumbling over grammar. I think confidence was the one place my German knowledge was really failing, and I feel like I’ve gotten to be much more capable.

He’s also done an incredibly good job at teaching a language online. We seem to all be pretty in tune with each other in class and he lets us have fun and make jokes (as long as they’re in German!) and we have a genuinely good time. The assignments are easy to find and follow, and I never feel overwhelmed with work in his class like I have in language classes previously.

Massive thanks to Adam Gacs.

Nicola Imbrascio: She has been one of the most impactful professors I have had in my time at MSU, and my field isn't even related to what I learned in her classes. She cares so much about her students in both their academic and personal lives. I learned so much in both of the classes I took with her because she is so engaging and you can tell that she is really passionate about what she teaches.

Dr. Sheila  Contreras: I would like to thank Dr. Contreras for taking the time to mentor me and other individuals like me. She has always demonstrated care and an interest to see us succeed. She is an extraordinary Latina on our campus and deserves to be recognized for her effort in supporting our community. She has gone above and beyond to see us get into graduate school. She continues to motivate other Latinx individuals to continue their education. I appreciate her effort.

Morgan Shipley: Morgan Shipley is one of the most genuine professors I have ever had. Every class he shows how much he cares for his students and lets us know he is there for us.

Kenlea Pebbles: My freshman year I had professor Pebbles and I enjoyed her class so much. She brought so much positive energy to each class and I still appreciate it today. I remember being a freshman in my fall semester and professor Pebbles made everyone feel so welcomed, it did not feel like I was a first year student that was new to everything. I still use all of the writing skills that Kenlea taught me in my junior year now. Thank you!!

Ann Larabee: I really enjoyed the chance to team-teach the grad seminar on popular culture studies. I also learned a lot from your choice of materials and general expertise in the field. It was especially cool to bring in materials and ideas from JPC. The Zoom sessions with various experts around the country were an added bonus. We created a good dynamic environment for the students.

Mohammad Khalil: A wonderful colleague, Mohammad has enthusiastically come to speak to my Music in Religion course for the last several years. Despite his very busy schedule, he makes time to speak about Muslim popular music, something I knew nothing about before he first visited. Each time he comes with fresh examples and I learn something new. Students invariably remember these visits as one of their favorite lessons from the course.

Kate Sonka: I would like to thank Kate Sonka for her continual student-perspective taking and advocacy. Her efforts have improved the numerous roles she fills across campus, representing our diversity of students and their perspectives in the policy and procedures that are developed. This recently played out more directly in Kate's own class, when one of her students presented at the national Accessible Learning Conference. When the student was asked about where she had experienced any good examples of inclusive teaching, she mentioned her experience in Kate's course. Kate supports those around her, connects relevant communities, and promotes the widest possible range of voices. With Kate Sonka at our institution, our courses, committees, and communities are richer, getting us closer to the ideal of a public land-grant institution of higher learning.

Peter Hoffman: Professor Hoffman goes out of his way to make each and every student feel connected and appreciated. I e-mailed him once apologizing for my recent late assignments due to the stress of online classes. I was struggling and felt overwhelmed, but his kind reply gave me hope that things would get better. He even told me to e-mail him any time I needed words of encouragement. He does an amazing job making online classes positive and stress free while teaching his students the importance of poetry. Aside from poetry, Professor Hoffman gives valuable life lessons and makes each student a better person because of it.

Hui-Ling Malone: In her first year at MSU, Dr. Malone has impacted all of her students so much. She re-kindled my love of teaching, and gave us all confidence in our writing skills as a class.

Amy Lampe: Amy is hands-down the best advisor on campus. She genuinely cares about her students and coworkers, and has cheerleaded me from day one. She's always there for anyone who needs an advisor, friend, or mom figure in their life.

Kate Birdsall

  1. Dr. Birdsall believed in me when it felt like no one else did. She encouraged my best work and gave me hope for my future in academia. 
  1. Learning from KB has truly been the highlight of my experience at MSU. This institution sucks (sorry not sorry), but Kate Birdsall ROCKS. I had the true pleasure of having her for advanced fiction writing as a fluke when the other semester was out. That was three semesters ago and I have taken class with her each semester since. In person and on zoom, Kate cultivates a powerful environment of camaraderie and caring that makes all the difference, especially during the pandemic. She asks her students how they are and cares about the answer. She pushes her students, particularly those writing for The Current in WRA 480, to produce the best work they can and, when she's your teacher, you want nothing more than to make her proud by doing just that. And you do. I am an incomparably better writer, editor, and communicator because I've worked with KB. 
  1. KB has given me the best academic experience during my time at MSU by far. She has a way with words and working to direct a team that I have yet to see replicated at this institution. Whether it be her gracious understanding of the tricky circumstances of life or her ability to relate to the class and what concerns them the most, she's all-around fantastic. She has made a considerable and positive impact on how I will view MSU in the future as I prepare for graduation this summer. My biggest regret is not having her as a professor sooner.

Kathryn Houghton: Kathryn has been an amazing professor. During this semester, she fostered a classroom environment via Zoom that encouraged not only participation, but the challenge of arguing a dissenting opinion. I was uninterested in the subject matter before this class, but quickly became enamored by it after beginning. She utilized appropriate virtual resources to aid in better understanding her well-polished slides for class. Also, the dogs this semester were a cute and uplifting addition.

Kate Fedewa: 

  1. Professor Kate Fedewa is personable instructor who always makes sure her students are doing their best and is very understanding when extra time is needed on an assignment. She begins ever class asking how her students are and any news in their lives. I want to thank her for making my senior year not as stressful and always being there to help and talk.
  1. Kate's Rhetoric of Grammar class has been my favorite of this very difficult semester. I was (most) always excited to hop out of bed once a week for this 8:30 class because Kate never failed to make it more than worth my while with engaging discussion and insightful lessons. She also manages to create a fruitful discussion environment on Zoom, for which she has absolutely earned some kind of medal. Each week she came up with practical exercises to do in breakout rooms which helped to demystify complex grammatical concepts. Our big paper assignment for the year also allowed me to spend two months working with lyrics from my favorite artist which has done wonders for moral. She is empathetic, brilliant, and always ready to help. Multiple times in the semester she scheduled extra review sessions just to ensure those who wanted more time to learn would have it. She is, quite frankly, the bee's knees. 

Casey Miles: Casey has been my advisor for years (a job at which she is freaking stellar), but this semester I had her as an instructor. I have learned a lot from Casey this year and not just about the job market but about how best to be to others. Casey teaches so much about empathy through leading by example. Her motto for our class was "come as you are, as you were, as you want to be." She says this and she *means* it. Casey approaches teaching with such a fabulous sense of humor and a tremendous amount of heart. Her kindness and assurance over the course of the semester has prevented more than one anxiety spirals on my end. She is positively kick-ass at what she does and everyone should be so lucky to experience a class with Casey Miles.

Maileen Bugnaski: Maileen worked with the 4-H and MSU Broad Art Lab collaborative project called Visualizing a Year Like No Other, a Michigan Teen Photo Project. Maileen met weekly with young people ranging from ages 13-18 to take photos on prompts intended to help them make sense of the crazy world around them. Maileen expertly created each week's prompt video, providing inspiration for the youth, and facilitated a weekly small group session for the youth to talk about their photos. Maileen's creativity and ability to create a sense of community among the youth made the program incredibly impactful for the participants. One of the participants said, "My biggest takeaway from the program was probably the feeling of how amazing it was to have my own community of people who shared similar interests as me and that I felt supported me. I also learned a lot about how fun photography is and how it can have a huge impact and very deep meanings." Maileen's contributions helped to make this possible.

Dustin De Felice: Dustin spends so much conscientious and dedicated time mentoring graduate students, even those who are not officially his advisees. He is one of those mentors and colleagues who genuinely wants students to succeed not only in relation to course topics but also with respect to professionalization and academic acclimation. His door is, quite literally, always open (pre-COVID, anyway). Dustin, thank you for making students (especially non-traditional ones) feel welcome and supported.

Megan Walsh: Megan Walsh stands out as a MSU Graduate Teaching Assistant. Megan applies pedagogical approaches that promote student agency. Megan keeps students’ attention by changing their focal points. She’s like a highly organized traffic cop. She physically and mentally divides her lessons into clear, logical sequences. Each purposeful transition results in refreshed student mental states. Students could not help but be fully engaged in her fast-paced environment. It was like watching a seasoned sports coach getting team members to run different, complicated plays really well. I was very fortunate to have had Meagan as a student. She is a rising teacher-star!

Bethany Meadows: In this past year, Bethany has done phenomenal work in and beyond the writing center. She has served as an excellent mentor to new consultants, practiced trauma-informed approaches to her work, and demonstrated an enduring commitment to dismantling sexual violence. It has been a pleasure to learn from Bethany this year, especially her commitment to community engagement.

Anyone can recognize a fellow Spartan for their contributions to MSU's teaching and learning mission or for how they made a lasting impression on your experience. All you have to do is click "Thank an Educator" in the left panel of From there you'll see a short form where you can enter the name, netID, and a short story of the educator you'd like to recognize
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Makena Neal #iteachmsu Educator Awards