Three professors at The Catholic University of America were honored for their teaching achievements during this year’s Spring Faculty Luncheon held in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on May 2. Also recognized at the event were 18 retiring faculty members from the schools of Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, and Arts and Sciences.
University Provost Andrew Abela spoke at the luncheon, thanking all faculty members for their service and sharing highlights of the honorees’ academic careers. University President John Garvey also delivered remarks sharing University highlights from the 2018-19 academic year.
Anita Shagnea, clinical instructor in the Department of Mathematics, was honored for Advancement in Teaching. Shagnea was hired as a part-time faculty member to teach freshman math classes before joining the full-time faculty in Fall 2015. Since then, she has found great success with her innovative and creative teaching initiatives, including an online precalculus review course for struggling incoming students, and the Applied Math in Action pre-college summer program. Her nominator called Shagnea “one of those rare individuals whose ability and experience spans various skills from teaching to programming to engaging in creative scholarly work.”
Nancy Adleman, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, was honored for Teaching Excellence in Early Career for her efforts to augment the Psychology Department’s emphasis on the neurobiological mechanisms of psychological processes and disorders. In addition to being an enthusiastic and inspiring educator, Adleman led the development of the B.S. in Psychological and Brain Sciences major and has developed multiple courses to support the B.S. degree as well as a new minor in neuroscience. In reviews, students describe her as “passionate and thoughtful” and praise her ability to present complicated material in a clear and engaging way.
John Figura, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Art, was honored for Overall Teaching Excellence. Figura, who began teaching at Catholic University in 1988 and became a full-time professor in 1997, is known for his diligent efforts to develop a creative and dynamic student curriculum. Since 2008, Figura has redesigned the capstone studio art course to better introduce students to significant contemporary art and cutting-edge concepts through gallery and museum visits, and helped with the planning and development of the junior coordinating seminar for studio arts majors. Figura also helped to develop a creative approach to offering courses that are useful for non-majors and majors alike by teaching two courses in the same studio at the same time, with each geared toward different levels of ability.
Retiring faculty who were honored at the luncheon include:
During the award announcements, Convey received a standing ovation from the faculty and staff in attendance after Provost Abela awarded him with the first ever Provost’s Lifetime Service Award, in recognition of his many years of service to the University. Convey has been a Catholic University faculty member since 1974, chair of the Department of Education from 1994 to 1997 and 2016 to 2017, and University Provost from 1997 to 2007.
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