Campus News

UGA faculty recognized with 2015 Creative Teaching Awards

Creative teaching awards 2015-h
University of Georgia faculty members (from left) Brock Woodson

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia faculty members Richard Menke and Montgomery Wolf, in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Brock Woodson and Siddharth Savadatti, in the College of Engineering, were recognized with the 2015 Creative Teaching Awards during the Faculty Recognition Banquet at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on April 13.

Presented by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, the Creative Teaching Awards recognize UGA faculty for excellence in developing and implementing creative teaching strategies to improve student learning. Up to three awards are presented annually to encourage instructional excellence. This is the second year the awards have been presented.

“Our faculty continue to develop innovative teaching strategies to improve student engagement,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “The recipients of this year’s Creative Teaching Awards demonstrate our faculty’s commitment for improving student learning by incorporating active-learning strategies that extend teaching on a variety of platforms outside the physical classroom through the use of technology.”

Menke, an associate professor in English, has developed an innovative approach to analyzing a novel in collaboration with another faculty member and class from North Carolina State University. Students from both classes worked on research teams together, using Skype and digital research tools to analyze data derived from the book “David Copperfield.” The project, named “Data Copperfield,” was transformative for the students as they collaborated with peers from different universities and analyzed text in a data-derived format.

Wolf, a senior lecturer in history, uses a variety of teaching methods, including service-learning, game-based learning and active-learning strategies, such as “flipping the classroom.” In her “flipped classroom,” Wolf’s students examine primary sources and produce historical content to allow them to think and act like actual historians. She also encourages her students to use a wide range of learning technologies, like TopHat, WordPress and podcasting, to increase engagement opportunities.

Both Woodson, an assistant professor, and Savadatti, a lecturer, strive to impact learning and retention rates by incorporating active engagement strategies in their Statics and Fluid Mechanics courses in the College of Engineering. They also employ “flipped classroom” practices by introducing students to topics via brief videos viewed outside of class, with homework assignments that include foundational problems based on concepts covered in the videos. In class, students collaborate with instructors, teaching assistants and undergraduate students to work through more complex problems and concepts in both one-on-one and small group formats. Their teaching approach has moved introductory knowledge delivery outside of the classroom while employing a more advanced knowledge assimilation and hands-on problem-solving strategy in class.

The Creative Teaching Awards are sponsored in part by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, the Office of the Provost, and the Center for Teaching and Learning. For more information, see