LEWISTON, Idaho – Two Lewis-Clark State College professors in the Natural Sciences & Mathematics Division have been recognized for their outstanding teaching in the inaugural Idaho GEM Innovative Educator Awards, presented by the Idaho State Board of Education’s General Education Committee and Capital Educators Credit Union (CECU).
Kacey Diemert, an associate professor of mathematics education, and John Morrison, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy, were recognized for their work during the State Board of Education’s General Education meeting on Sept. 19 in Boise.
Six inaugural award winners were announced and each received $500 from CECU. Diemert was honored in the Mathematical Ways of Knowing category, while Morrison’s category was Scientific Ways of Knowing.
The GEM awards recognize outstanding teaching in one of Idaho’s GEM courses. The other four course categories include Written Communication, Oral Communication, Humanistic and Artistic Ways of Knowing, and Behavioral Ways of Knowing.
Both Diemert and Morrison were nominated by the General Education Committee at LCSC, who could nominate one faculty member for each category. Those nominations were forwarded on to the state board’s General Education Committee, which selected the winners.
The judging criteria included evidence the nominee effectively supports student achievement of the General Education Learning Outcomes, designs the GEM courses creatively/innovatively to effectively engage students, and enables non-majors to understand and apply disciplinary methods of inquiry (Ways of Knowing) to expand knowledge and solve problems. Other criteria included efforts to increase access and affordability, engagement in college/university Gen Ed initiatives, mentoring of faculty new to Gen Ed, and participation in statewide Gen Ed summits.
Diemert is the director of the Idaho Regional Math Center for Region II and helps with the professional development of K-12 teachers in the region as well. On her nomination form that was submitted by LC State, Diemert was lauded because students are challenged by her courses “but appreciate their growing ability to verbally and in writing explain mathematical concepts. The students appreciate Kacey’s strong teaching and mentoring abilities as well as her high expectations for professionalism. She is constantly striving to better herself as a teacher.”
Morrison has been teaching general physics and astronomy, as well as labs, at LC State since the spring of 2013. On his nomination form, he was acknowledged for helping students: “Without knowing he was actually doing it, John was using various assessment results to guide his course development – he instinctively knew to hone in on these areas. Through discussion with senior faculty and participation in workshops in the Center for Teaching and Learning, he was able to take these assessment findings and use best teaching practices to combat cognitive dissonance in difficult conceptual areas of physics – and students taking the MCAT now benefit from his efforts.”
Note: In group photo above, Diemert is third from the left, while Morrison is fourth from the right).