Campus News

Teaching Academy welcomes new members

New members of the Teaching Academy include, from left, Steven P. Lewis, Paul Pollack, Jennifer A. Brown, Julie Stanton, Jennifer R. Walker, Amitabh Verma, Paul Matthews, Keith L. Dougherty, Jason B. Peake and Rebecca Matthew. Not pictured are Collette Chapman-Hilliard, Maryann Erigha, and William A. Hollingsworth. (Photo by Matt Brewster)

The University of Georgia Teaching Academy inducted its 2022 new member class on Nov. 10 during a dinner and reception.

The 13 inductees include recent Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors, recipients of the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and several at-large members recognized for teaching excellence. Each new member prepared a statement of their teaching philosophy for the ceremony.

Josef Broder, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and chair of the Teaching Academy executive board, welcomed the new members and listed ways that the Teaching Academy continues to promote instruction and learning at the university, including the recent establishment of the University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching based on a recommendation from the Teaching Academy.

Comments on the history and important work of the Teaching Academy at the University of Georgia were made by Libby V. Morris, University Professor and Zell B. Miller Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and member of the Teaching Academy executive board.

Anne Shaffer, associate dean of the Graduate School and professor in the Clinical Program of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program and member of the executive board, read the charge to the new members and encouraged them to support the mission through their involvement with committees, programs, projects and other initiatives.

The 2022 inductees are:

Jennifer Brown, associate professor and graduate coordinator in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education. Brown is a recent recipient of the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Brown said she seeks to empower students in the learning process so that “they know what they are learning, focus on how they are learning, remember why they are learning and understand the impact of their learning on others.”

Collette Chapman-Hilliard, associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services of the Mary Frances Early College of Education. Chapman-Hilliard explained how she draws on past experiences in her teaching and seeks to affirm identities, encourage abilities and challenge her students intellectually.

Keith L. Dougherty, professor of political science in the School of Public and International Affairs. Dougherty summed up his philosophy as an effort to “continually motivate students, inspire them to work collectively and get them excited about class using … active learning techniques.”

Maryann Erigha, associate professor of sociology and African American studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Erigha described her approach to teaching as a way “to have students view the social world as a laboratory for lifelong teaching and learning.”

William A. Hollingsworth, senior lecturer of computer science in the School of Computing. Hollingworth builds his teaching around the hypothesis that most students “have more trouble with the language of math than with the theorems, functions and calculations,” and he seeks to help them overcome that barrier.

Steven P. Lewis, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and associate professor of physics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Lewis explained his commitment to bridging the “large gap between research developments and broad adoption of improved pedagogies” by proving these techniques through his teaching and modeling them for others.

Rebecca Matthew, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and associate professor in the School of Social Work. Matthew described her courses as spaces to “facilitate challenging conversations that foster a high-level of self-reflexivity and awareness, make use of activities and assignments to unsettle assumptions and foster creativity, and prioritize experiential and mutually beneficial service-learning opportunities.”

Paul H. Matthews, associate director of the Office of Service-Learning and senior academic professional. Among the many benefits of academic service-learning, Matthews expressed appreciation for “the reciprocal orientation and partnership … [and] helping students better understand how to collaborate with our communities and begin to appreciate that not all knowledge resides on campus.”

Jason B. Peake, professor in the agricultural leadership, education, and communication department of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Science. Peake cited his a three-fold approach to teaching, “First, students must learn how to think and that is not the same as students learning what to think. Second, students must develop skill sets that ensure society benefits from an educated workforce. Third, relationships must be purposefully built with students.”

Paul Pollack, professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Mathematics and recent recipient of the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Pollack’s perspective on mathematics “places aesthetics front and center [and informs his] study and teaching.” He posited that a “primary responsibility in the classroom is to convey the beauty and power of mathematics.”

Julie Stanton, associate professor of cellular biology and recent recipient of the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Stanton expressed her appreciation of the importance of being authentic with students, “I have learned so much from outstanding teachers around me, but I have also learned to be myself in the classroom.”

Amitabh Verma, associate professor in the College of Environment and Design with specializations in design communication and urban design. Verma explained how he creates a culture of high expectations for creativity, communication and professionalism to prepare his students. “My primary instructional medium is mentorship, which replicates the future work environment of my students.”

Jennifer R. Walker, senior lecturer and undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Walker described the vital learning partnership between student and instructor, “I believe the student and instructor must equally contribute to learning as they move through the content.”

Invitations to join the Teaching Academy are extended to members of the UGA faculty by the group’s executive board each fall. New members are nominated based on their demonstrated commitment and accomplishments in instruction and learning over a career of no fewer than five years.

The UGA Teaching Academy was chartered in 1999 at the university. The faculty-driven organization promotes and celebrates excellence in teaching and fosters learning through inquiry. The Teaching Academy organizes an annual faculty symposium, coordinates an early career fellows program and assists in the selection of finalists of the university’s awards recognizing outstanding instruction.

More information about the Teaching Academy is at