Campus News

2024 University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching

The University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes exemplary instruction by teaching faculty at the University of Georgia.
These teachers show the strong commitment to UGA’s teaching mission and the award recognizes the corps of teaching faculty that dedicate their time primarily to outstanding teaching endeavors, in and out of the classroom. 

Dainess Maganda is a senior lecturer of comparative literature and intercultural studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith/UGA)

Dainess Maganda
Senior Lecturer
Department of English
Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Dainess Maganda sees teaching as a blessing.

“I enter my classroom with an attitude of gratitude, in my heart, thanking my students for being interested in learning what I have to offer,” she said. “I believe in the power of creating a positive learning environment whereby each and every student feels welcomed, acknowledged, valued and accepted.”

Maganda joined the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ comparative literature and intercultural studies department in 2012 and has taught Swahili language courses and related culture and literature courses since then. She employs several active learning techniques to tap into the knowledge students already have and build upon it.

Maganda seeks ways to ensure her students get firsthand cultural experiences of the concepts and ideas she intends to impart. For example, she organizes out-of-classroom events to interact with students, making home-cooked authentic Swahili cuisine to allow them to taste the various foods of the Swahili while introducing them to cultural norms around the table.

“Dr. Maganda is amazing. She cares about all of her students, current and past students. I got so much more out of this course than I expected to,” one former student wrote. “The development and exploration of identity and culture are essential aspects for personal growth, reflection and development. Her class is relaxed and conducive to natural learning.”

Montgomery Wolf is a principal lecturer of history in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Montgomery Wolf
Principal Lecturer
Department of History
Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Montgomery Wolf teaches with two tenets in mind—active learning for her students and ongoing learning, training and self-reflection for herself.

“From the first day, students see history not as rote memorization but as investigation and interpretation. Students engage primary sources, generate their own questions and reach their own evidence-based conclusions,” she said.

Wolf designs activities so that students are practitioners of history rather than passive recipients of content.

For example, she uses a modified flipped-classroom approach in a required class covering the history of the United States and Georgia. Rather than listening to lectures the entire period, students spend a portion of each class examining complex historical problems in a collaborative environment with activities like breaking into groups to tease apart the distinctions between political parties in the 1790s and the present.

In several courses, Wolf structures her classroom as a zone of immersive role-playing, centered on key historical moments like the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Students adopt roles as historical actors who debate and negotiate with each other using historical evidence.

“Dr. Wolf makes the past accessible by linking major events to the lives of ordinary people. She invites students to glean their own lessons from complex historical conflicts. She attends to students with care, interest and compassion,” one former student wrote.