“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.
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:
- Classroom Innovation: Humanities Instructor Hong Li
- Outreach: Science Instructor Bob Gotwals
- Scholarship: Science Instructor Christine Muth
- Service to Students: Mathematics Instructor Ryan Pietropaolo
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.”
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