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Alumni Association Teaching Award

The University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association established the UMMAA Teaching Award to honor individual faculty members for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. The significant contributions of all Morris faculty are recognized and appreciated, and UMMAA is pleased to celebrate a member of the scholarly community each year.

  • Barbara Burke

    Award Year: 2021
    University of Minnesota Morris Associate Professor of Communication, Media, and Rhetoric Barbara Burke has earned the 2021 UMN Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award. Burke stands out for her individualized attention and willingness to help students figure out how to do what they want to do in college and beyond.
    Barbara Burke
  • Rachel Johnson

    Award Year: 2020
    University of Minnesota Morris Assistant Professor of Biology Rachel Johnson has earned the 2020 UMN Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award. Johnson stands out among peers for her commitment to undergraduate teaching and learning. An immunologist, Johnson is a particularly appropriate choice this year.
    Rachel Johnson seated in front of a bookshelf, smiling
  • Stephen Gross

    Award Year: 2019
    University of Minnesota Morris Archivist and Associate Professor of History Stephen Gross has earned the 2019 UMN Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award. Gross stands out among peers for his commitment to undergraduate teaching and learning.
    Stephen Gross
  • Tracy Otten

    Award Year: 2018
    Otten is known for her commitment to student learning and collaboration. Her discipline, printmaking, is a metaphor for the liberal arts approach to education.
  • Rebecca Dean

    Award Year: 2017
    "Rebecca demonstrates a profound commitment to serving students and her field. Her enthusiasm for service learning illustrates her belief in the liberal arts as a force for good and creating these opportunities for her students sets her apart from her peers. This recognition is well deserved."—Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean Bart Finzel
  • Heather J. Peters

    Award Year: 2016
    Heather J. Peters, associate professor of psychology, has received the Horace T. Morse - University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education and the 2016 University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Teaching Award. These honors are...
  • Jim Cotter

    Award Year: 2015
    Cotter has, in the words of his nominators, "created and applied a dynamic process that includes making geology and science accessible, getting students involved, and enriching students' learning experiences with independent research." Bart Finzel, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, adds that Cotter "stands out for his engaging teaching methods, efforts to make science courses an...
    Jim Cotter
  • Sheri Breen

    Award Year: 2014
    Sheri Breen, assistant professor of political science, is, in the words of the nominating committee, “a paragon of excellence in teaching, advising, research, academic program development, and educational leadership.” Bart Finzel, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, affirms this statement, noting, “Breen’s rigorous teaching methods, her high expectations for both herself and her...
    Sheri Breen
  • Nic McPhee

    Award Year: 2013
    Nic McPhee, professor of computer science, has, in the words of the nomination committee, “served as a beloved teacher and influential mentor for hundreds of students, played a vital role in shaping an outstanding computer science program, [and] created and taught dozens of excellent and enjoyable courses based on principles of liberal arts education…” Bart Finzel, vice chancellor for academic...
    Nic McPhee
  • Timna Wyckoff

    Award Year: 2013
    Timna Wyckoff, associate professor of biology, was nominated for this award because she is, according to the nominating committee, “an exemplary teacher, advisor, scholar, and community citizen.” Bart Finzel, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, expresses a similar sentiment, noting that, “in the twelve years she has been on the faculty at Morris, [Wyckoff] has mentored, guided, and...
    Timna Wyckoff
  • Jennifer K. Deane

    Award Year: 2012
    Deane was nominated for this award because she is “an exemplary teacher, advisor, scholar, and community citizen.” The nominating committee continues, “Professor Deane takes her teaching very seriously, imaginatively constructing and revising her courses, and she is very good at it—not only in courses aimed at history majors or in her own research fields, but in introductory general education...
    Jennifer K. Deane
  • Jennifer Rothchild

    Award Year: 2011
    Rothchild was selected for being “an extraordinary teacher whose rigor, dedication, and passionate commitment to her field has transformed the lives of students and colleagues on this campus.” As stated by Cheryl Contant, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean, “Jennifer Rothchild is an outstanding teacher, mentor, and adviser who brings the classroom to life with her own personal...
    Jennifer Rothchild
  • Michelle Page

    Award Year: 2010
    As an undergraduate student, Page was drawn to English. With the encouragement of her language professor, she also completed a French major. While she found her first education classes “sort of interesting,” an out-of-the-classroom experience resulted in an epiphany. “It really came together at the Concordia Language Villages where I first served as an instructor and later as village dean....
    Michelle Page
  • Bradley Deane

    Award Year: 2009
    Bradley Deane teaches Introduction to Literature, British Literature Survey II, Critical Approaches to Literature, and upper-level courses in literature of the long nineteenth century. He serves as the Honors Program director and teaches the interdisciplinary gateway course for the program.
    Bradley Deane
  • Julie Pelletier

    Award Year: 2008
    Nominated by colleagues, current students, and alumni, Pelletier is noted for setting high standards for her students and for utilizing a teaching style that puts students at ease and creates an open atmosphere in classroom and office. She’s a storyteller whose stories link academic concepts and material to real-life examples, her own and her students.
    Julie Pelletier
  • Sarah Buchanan

    Award Year: 2007
    Nominated by colleagues, current students, and alumni, Buchanan is noted for a teaching style that exudes infectious energy and enthusiasm—contagious to both students and colleagues. Tammy Berberi, assistant professor of French, states: "Sarah is a passionate and capable teacher…popular and highly respected.”
    Sarah Buchanan
  • Janet Schrunk Ericksen

    Award Year: 2006
    Nominated by teaching colleagues, current students, and alumni, Schrunk Ericksen is noted for a teaching style that emphasizes high expectations of each and every student and a willingness to help her students be successful, in and out of the classroom. As colleague Jim Togeas, professor of chemistry, states: “Janet’s courses are not the place for loafers. She is a demanding teacher and a tough...
    Janet Schrunk Ericksen
  • Pareena Lawrence

    Award Year: 2005
    Mention daily assignments and some college students might groan—not so for students in Pareena Lawrence’s economics courses. Their appreciative thanks for her unique teaching style, which includes daily assignments at the end of each lecture period, and accolades from her colleagues earned Lawrence the honor of receiving the UMMAA Teaching Award.
    Pareena Lawrence
  • Gwen Rudney

    Award Year: 2004
    Gwen Rudney earned teaching certification, a bachelor of science, a master of science, and a doctorate from the University of California, Riverside. She joined the UMM faculty in 1991. “Morris was the only interview where students were clearly involved and active in the entire interview process,” remembers Rudney. “That was very important to me." Rudney expressed gratitude for receiving the award...
    Gwen Rudney
  • Pieranna Garavaso

    Award Year: 2003
    A member of the philosophy faculty since 1991, Garavaso earned a bachelor of arts and a master of arts in philosophy from the University of Padova in Italy. She holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
    Pieranna Garavaso
  • Nancy Carpenter

    Award Year: 2002
    Carpenter uses a variety of teaching methods in order to engage each student in active learning. She uses helpful analogies such as comparing magnetic anisotropy to preparing for winter in Minnesota, chemical bonding to shopping with a friend, and the mechanisms of nucleophilic substitution to dealing with a less-than-perfect roommate. The fundamental principle that underlies her teaching is her...
    Nancy Carpenter
  • Paula O'Loughlin

    Award Year: 2001
    Paula O'Loughlin combines her naturally entertaining, caring, exuberant personality with content and techniques that challenge and expand students' experiences.
    Paula O'Loughlin
  • Jon Anderson

    Award Year: 2000
    Andy Lopez, professor of computer science, and Engin Sungur, associate professor of mathematics, and statistics major Gina Garding '99, state: "...Dr. Jon Anderson is a rare jewel that shines even in an institution that is blessed with an unusually high number of gifted teachers. He helps his students to gain their confidence with his relaxed and informal style and leads them to success with...
    Jon Anderson
  • Bart Finzel

    Award Year: 1999
    Bart Finzel earned a bachelor of science in economics from Valparaiso University, Indiana, and a master of arts and doctorate in economics from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. He joined the Morris faculty in 1989. The nominations committee states: "Almost immediately upon his arrival on this campus, students were enthused about his classroom performance. This enthusiasm has persisted, and...
    Bart Finzel
  • Peh Ng

    Award Year: 1998
    As chair of the Functions and Awards Committee, Elizabeth Blake states: "The Committee was impressed by Peh's obvious enthusiasm for teaching and by her extraordinary dedication to students, including such evidence as her informal meetings with them, her home page on the Web, and her participation in extracurricular student activities. It is clear that her courses and research projects are...
    Peh Ng
  • Christopher Cole

    Award Year: 1997
    A faculty member since 1989, Cole teaches genetics, plant biology, molecular biology, and conservation biology. "I teach out of fascination with and love for the living world and gratitude to the teachers who opened this biology to me. I feel honored by the curiosity and effort students bring as I get to pass this on to them. I go into classes looking forward to the people there and to this...
    Christopher Cole

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