Three University of Georgia faculty members have been named recipients of the Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, which recognize outstanding instruction by faculty members early in their academic careers.
“This year’s Russell Award recipients demonstrate how innovative, evidence-based instruction enhances student learning,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Their commitment to academic excellence helps make the University of Georgia a national leader in public higher education.”
The Richard B. Russell Foundation established the Russell Awards during the 1991-1992 academic year. The awards include a $10,000 cash award.
The 2022 Russell Award recipients are:
- Jennifer A. Brown, associate professor of communication sciences and special education in the Mary Frances Early College of Education;
- Paul Pollack, professor of mathematics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and
- Julie Stanton, associate professor of cellular biology in the Franklin College.
Jennifer A. Brown
Brown’s innovative approaches to teaching and learning in the classroom expand the quality of education for her students. She incorporates active learning and experiential learning strategies that align with course objectives and maximize student learning.
Brown regularly teaches undergraduate courses in the communication sciences and disorders program and a First-Year Odyssey Seminar. She has spearheaded new course development, revised instructional methods for established courses and contributed to program-wide curriculum adaptations. Over the last eight years, Brown has engaged more than 140 undergraduate students in experiential learning research experiences.
Brown is a dedicated participant in the Embark@UGA program, a campus-based effort providing direct support to students who have experienced homelessness and/or foster care. She also serves as a Correll Scholar Program mentor to support students who are economically disadvantaged.
In addition, Brown developed a unique service-learning and research partnership with Downtown Academy, a nonprofit private school serving inner-city children of Athens. This partnership explores, implements, evaluates and disseminates methods for supporting the language and literacy skills of children, including at-risk children. Her work increases the success of underrepresented students and provides an inclusive learning environment for all students.
Brown has received numerous awards at the college level, including the Ocie T. Dekle Excellence in Teaching Award and the Ira E. Aaron Award for Teaching Excellence and Collegiality. She is also a two-time recipient of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Undergraduate Students’ Teacher of the Year Award.
Pollack’s teaching and mentoring style promotes a love for mathematics. He can challenge students while keeping courses interesting and engaging by helping students build analytical and mathematical skills. Pollack takes abstract and conceptually challenging material and enables his students to gain a deeper insight.
Pollack is a popular instructor who earns top evaluation scores and strong praise from students. His students do substantially better in their subsequent classes than departmental averages. Pollack is also dedicated to the mentorship of his undergraduates interested in research.
Pollack has also authored or co-authored several nationally and internationally recognized textbooks, including “Not Always Buried Deep: A Second Course in Elementary Number Theory,” “A Conversational Introduction to Algebraic Number Theory: Arithmetic Beyond Z,” and “Steps into Analytic Number Theory.” In addition, he has authored 115 peer-reviewed research articles.
Pollack is a principal organizer of the UGA High School Math Tournament. He also serves as a board member of the Ross Mathematics Foundation, an international math program for motivated pre-college students. UGA undergraduate students can participate in the program as counselors.
Pollack is a recipient of the Franklin College’s Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award and a two-time recipient of the National Science Foundation Algebra and Number Theory Award.
Stanton is a nationally recognized scholar of teaching in the life sciences. Over the last seven years, she has secured funding for education research that includes a National Science Foundation CAREER Award of more than $1 million to study the development of metacognitive skills in life sciences undergraduates. She also has been an invited facilitator for the American Society for Microbiology Science Teaching Fellows program.
Stanton incorporates evidence-based approaches to organize her courses in ways that engage students in the learning process. She uses small-group problem solving to help students engage in cell biology. She sets high expectations for her students because she believes they can think critically, master complex concepts and ultimately apply them in meaningful ways.
Stanton has received numerous honors, including the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award and the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is a Fellow of both the Lilly Teaching Program and the UGA Teaching Academy. She is also a founding member and current executive board member of the UGA Scientists Engaged in Education Research Center.
Stanton is committed to supporting undergraduates from underrepresented student groups. She currently co-leads an investigation that studies the success of Black students in STEM fields. Notably, this research involves a team of Black UGA undergraduate researchers who have developed training about implicit bias for STEM faculty.
Nominations for the Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are submitted by deans and considered by a committee of senior faculty members and undergraduate students. Tenure-track faculty members who have worked at UGA for at least three years and no more than 10 years are eligible for the award.
To learn more about the Russell Awards and for a list of past winners, see http://provost.uga.edu/resources/faculty-resources/awards/richard-russell-undergraduate-teaching-awards/.