Philip Rash named 2015-2016 Excellence in Teaching winner

“In his classes, math is not a spectator sport,” a colleague said of Mathematics Instructor Philip Rash. Rash was awarded the 2015-2016 UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award at a reception on January 14, 2016.

A committee of his colleagues selected Mathematics Instructor Philip Rash for the 2015-2016 Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award. Chancellor Todd Roberts, in announcing the award, noted Rash’s exceptional service to students beyond the classroom, from coaching academic competitions to attending students’ extracurricular events and taking them on field trips. “If you’re here on the weekends, you usually see one of his trucks parked here,” Roberts laughed.

In nominating him, colleagues noted that Rash, who has taught at NCSSM for 11 years, teaches students that the discovery process is as important as the discovery, and that he believes he teaches students first, then he teaches math. “Students listen to him because he has listened to them,” one colleague said. For his part, Rash has said that he sees himself as a student as well as a teacher, because he is always learning something either about teaching or the subject matter. The annual award comes with a $12,500 prize.

Read more about Philip Rash

UNC profiles Philip Rash

During an awards ceremony on January 14, 2016, Roberts also presented Math Instructor Cheryl Gann and Humanities Instructor Meredith Murphy with the 2015-2016 NCSSM Outstanding Teacher awards, with a prize of $2,500 each.

Fellow teachers and students credit Gann with creating an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions. One former student wrote about how Gann generously took the time to help the struggling student work towards the goal of earning an A in Calculus — and eventually inspired the student to major in math in college. Gann accepted the award with her husband, Chris Gann (also a math instructor at NCSSM), and their two young children smiling broadly from their seats.

Colleagues noted Murphy’s outstanding service to fellow teachers globally through development of unique curricula and other services, such as an exhaustive review of online resources. She chose teaching, Murphy has said, because she recognized the profound impact teachers had on her, beginning with her time at NCSSM (she is a Class of 2002 alumna). Her goal is to ensure that every student gains more awareness and appreciation of the way history has shaped their world.

Instructors winning the 2015-2016 awards for Exceptional Contributions are:

Each of the Exceptional Contribution awards include a $1,125 award.

“What a job this committee has,” Roberts noted, in having to choose from so many accomplished instructors to honor with the awards. “We have an amazing group of faculty.”

Read more about Philip Rash and his interests outside of work

Previous Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching award winners:

2007-08:  Dan Teague

2008-09:  Ginger Wilson

2009-10:  Myra Halpin

2010-11:  John Kolena

2011-12:  Elizabeth Moose

2012-13:  Maria Hernandez

2013-14:  Jonathan Bennett

2014-15:  Noreen Naiman

Previous Outstanding Teacher award winners:

2007-08:  Joe Liles, Ginger Wilson

2008-09:  Myra Halpin, Chuck Roser

2009-10:  John Kolena, Elizabeth Moose

2010-11:  Maria Hernandez, John Woodmansee

2011-12:  Christine Muth, Noreen Naiman

2012-13:  Jonathan Bennett, Martha Regalis

2013-14:  Philip Rash, Amy Sheck

2014-15:  Bob Gotwals, Scott Laird