Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2013

Faculty Award winner

Shari Hodgson

 College of Sciences

 Nicholson School of Communication

My teaching philosophy has evolved during my 22 years of experience in the university, business, and legal contexts. To be succinct, I am committed to inspiring all persons to become passionate, engaged, lifelong learners who develop the skills to be productive members of our global society. To accomplish this goal, I design instructional plans and curricula that create experiential learning environments, which enhance learning and retention of life-skills training. By incorporating rigorous, relevant curricula, best-practice instructional methods, and interactive teaching modes, I prepare students to learn, listen, write, speak, and synthesize theory into practice, which will prepare them for personal and professional success and leadership opportunities.

I have heard it stated that he has not learned the lesson of life, which includes surmounting one's individual fears. Through my 22 years of experience, I have found that communication classes have an additional layer of complexity; students' fear of public-speaking. Therefore, my goal and challenge are to develop instructional methods that create a safe learning environment. For example, I divide students into small groups that interact during the semester, in and out of class, on assignments, and practice sessions. The safety that small group-work affords, coupled with peer-to-peer feedback opportunities, advances students' knowledge while nurturing their self-images and reducing their communication apprehension.

The rigorous demands of the ever-changing communication discipline demand each instructors' continual and rigorous study of the field. I am committed to the study of scholarly research, knowledge, and superior instructional expertise. This commitment is substantiated by my attendance in professional development opportunities. Over the past five years, I have submitted yearly proposals to attend and present at professional and faculty conferences. I am certified to develop and teach online classes and have converted five different curricula to mixed-mode configurations. As coordinator of NSC graduate teaching team, I developed, and facilitate, a 12-week training program, manual, and online training site.

When developing curricula for different classes, I consider our UCF institutional and academic objectives coupled with NSC school goals and student-learning standards. As the Nicholson School Scheduler and Assessment Coordinator for the GEP program, I was instrumental in developing the benchmarks for the communication competencies adopted by the NSC General Education (GEP) Speech Program.

This brief review substantiates my commitment to inspire students to learn, engage, and understand the bridge between theory and real-world applications. As an educator, I accept the challenge to illuminate the relevance of higher education. I leave as my legacy the cementing of student's spirit and tenacity to becoming productive and influential global citizens.