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Three faculty honored for outstanding teaching during Winter Commencement

December 16, 2003


A tradition during Austin Peays Winter Commencement is the presentation of the coveted Socrates Award. The award was presented to three faculty last Friday during graduation exercises in the Dunn Center.

The Socrates Award was established in 1993 to recognize tenure-track faculty who are recognizedby their students and colleaguesas exceptionally gifted classroom teachers.
December 16, 2003


A tradition during Austin Peay's Winter Commencement is the presentation of the coveted Socrates Award. The award was presented to three faculty last Friday during graduation exercises in the Dunn Center.

The Socrates Award was established in 1993 to recognize tenure-track faculty who are recognizedby their students and colleaguesas exceptionally gifted classroom teachers.

Although excellence in teaching is the primary criterion for the award, other criteria include academic advising, research and creative activities that support superior teaching.

Recipients of the 2003 Socrates Award are Dr. Patti Wilson, associate professor of psychology, Dr. Jordy Rocheleau, assistant professor of philosophy, and Dr. Robin Reed, assistant professor and chair of chemistry.

Dr. Patti Wilson earned both her doctorate and master's degree in psychology from the University of Memphis. In 1995, she graduated summa cum laude from Christian Brothers University, Memphis, with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She came to the University in 2000.

Wilson has both the national and state certification as a school psychologist and holds a Health Service Provider in Psychology designation. In addition to teaching, research and publishing scholarly articles in refereed journals, she is a school psychologist for the Houston County School District and school psychologist consultant for Stewart County Schools.

In nominating Wilson for the Socrates Award, Dr. LuAnnette Butler, associate professor of psychology, wrote: “Several of (Dr. Wilson's) peers have observed her teaching classes and have been impressed by the high quality of her teaching. Her knowledge of the subject, ability to present it and her interaction with students (are) indeed outstanding.”

Dr. Sam Fung, professor and interim chair of the psychology department, echoed many of Butler's comments and also noted Wilson's initiative in developing several agreements between Austin Peay and agencies to establish internship sites for school and clinical psychology students.

Dr. Jordy Rocheleau received both his doctorate and master's degree from Michigan State University. In 1991 he was tapped to Phi Beta Kappa and, that same year, graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College. He came to Austin Peay as an assistant professor in 2001.

Rocheleau, who is the adviser to the APSU Philosophy Club as well as the Ultimate Frisbee Club, has had many scholarly articles published in professional publications.

In his nomination of Rocheleau, Dr. Mark Michael, associate professor of philosophy, said, “Jordy is an outstanding teacher. He cares about his students' intellectual development and has the intellectual wherewithal to contribute in a significant way to their development.”

Dr. Dewey Browder, history professor and chair of the department of history and philosophy, has visited Rocheleau's classes, read his student evaluations and reviewed his teaching philosophy. He indicated Rocheleau's lectures are organized carefully, supported by PowerPoint and rehearsed to ensure an accurate pace. Additionally, Rocheleau volunteered to develop and teach a Web-based philosophy course to reach students who cannot come to regular classes.

Discussing Rocheleau's “admirable work ethic,” Browder said, “I frequently see him in the office on weekends, and he is often the last to leave in the evening. He is a conscientious teacher who takes every measure to guarantee his class presentations are as good as he can make them.

“Dr. Rocheleau clearly has the respect and admiration of his students who remain after class to talk or drop by his office for advice,” Browder said, adding that Rocheleau “pursues research and writing with enthusiasm” and incorporates his research into his classes.

Dr. Robin Reed earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Rhodes College, Memphis, as a four-year Cambridge Scholar. His doctorate in biochemistry is from Vanderbilt University, where he received a National Institutes of Health grant. He completed two postdoctorates at Vanderbilt Universityin molecular physiology and pharmacology.

He came to Austin Peay in 2003 as assistant professor and chair of the chemistry department. He has published scholarly articles and is affiliated with state and national professional organizations.

Reed received several nominations for the Socrates Award, including one from Dr. Ron Robertson, associate professor of chemistry, who noted Reed has a wide breadth of knowledge, which he brings to his students, as well as an ability to convey this knowledge in an exciting, motivating way.

Robertson recalls sitting in on Reed's biochemistry class. The topic was amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. “As the students filed into this advanced class, Dr. Reed gave each an organic structure model kit,” Robertson said. “(He) assigned each student a different amino acid to constructgiving each a chance to do hands-on while obtaining a complete set of amino acid models from the work of the class.

“While the students were engaged in the task, he worked the room, answering questions and exchanging in a relaxed banter with them. There was a good, positive atmosphere in the class.”
Once the basic chemistry of amino acid structure was explained, Reed had the students group themselves into classifications. “He could have just listed these on the board, but he involved each student by asking them to find other students with amino acid structures of a similar classification,” Robertson said. “Dr. Reed's students were obviously learning in this very interactive environment. His presentation was a model of instruction.”

Robertson commended Reed on visiting surrounding schools to give demonstrations and guest lectures. Reed also mentors high school students on science research projects.

“Dr. Reed taught our Fort Campbell class for several years when there were no other faculty volunteers,” Robertson said. “Such is the nature of his dedication to APSU and to instruction.”
—Dennie Burke