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Dr. Michelle Schwartze, Dr. Daniel Stutts and Dr. Robin Verble received awards for their roles in campus service and experiential learning. Dr. Kathryn Northcut, vice provost of academic support, recognized them during a faculty awards banquet held Dec. 9 on campus.
Dr. Michelle Schwartze, assistant teaching professor of teacher education and certification, received the Service Learning Award. The Service Learning Award recognizes faculty who involve or influence undergraduate students in academic service learning or community service activities outside the classroom.
Northcut read the following award description:
“Dr. Schwartze is an engaging professor who incorporates STEM methods in elementary and middle school classrooms throughout the rural area. Every day in class Dr. Schwartze models the teacher that she wants her students to be. She is respected among her students and colleagues for making a potentially intimidating subject like math meaningful. Her students have completed projects that bring young learners from area schools to campus for STEM activities. Her students also go out into schools where they practice their teaching methods in collaboration with mentor teachers.
“In the midst of a pandemic, Dr. Schwartze maintained high standards even with flexible field experience options. She is a mentor to the young faculty in the growing education department and her influence regarding positive, community-based learning opportunities for S&T teacher education students is vast. In addition to her work with S&T students and rural K-12 students, Dr. Schwartze works with young learners through informal education outlets like Girl Scouts of America, Lego League, and Robotics.”
Dr. Daniel Stutts and Dr. Robin Verble received the Experiential Learning Award. The Experiential Learning Award recognizes faculty who require undergraduate students to go beyond mastering basic skills and knowledge in the application of that material to problem-solving challenges.
Northcut read the following award description for Stutts:
“Dr. Stutts has long made experiential learning a centerpiece of his educational philosophy. Dr. Stutts has taught MAE’s senior capstone experimental class emphasizing experiential learning, as well as developing research lines that actively engage undergraduates, and providing additional hands-on engineering experiences.
“As the primary instructor for the mechanical engineering senior capstone laboratory course, he guides teams of three-to-four students (in classes of up to 130 students) to integrate and extend what they’ve previously learned to the design and execution of experiments. The students design, propose, fabricate, conduct, and present the results of their own experiments. While Dr. Stutts and his teaching assistants provide mentoring to the student teams throughout the semester, the students must advance their team project, often learning more through failures (and how to overcome them) than initial successes.
“Dr. Stutts regularly involves undergraduates in his laboratory to assist in research. He currently has nine undergraduate students working on the NASA Big Ideas project. These students are involved in design and fabrication of equipment, as well as experimentation, data collection, and data analysis with the goal to become a competent experimentalist.
“Dr. Stutts has been the faculty advisor for the Human Powered Vehicle team for many years. And he is the current chairman of the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center Board of Directors.”
Northcut read the following award description for Verble:
“Since arriving at Missouri S&T, Dr. Verble has been a valuable source of experiential learning opportunities for our biology students as well as students in other disciplines interested in field ecology and environmental sciences.
“As stated by one of her recent students – ‘Being part of this program provided me with an amazing experience in what professional research is really like. The entire fellowship was well-structured and guided, which meant our research team was able to work together and confidently make the project our own. I feel that my time taking part in the Fort Leonard Wood insect survey was incredibly enriching and allowed a deeper understanding of the field that is hard to come by as an undergraduate.’”
“From a colleague – ‘Dr. Verble curates a supportive and engaged lab culture that promotes collaboration and encourages students to branch out into new fields and utilize new research techniques. Students are not only learning how to design and implement experiments, but also how to cooperate, manage, and delegate in a professional setting.’”
“Dr. Verble’s impact on student experiential learning has been extensive. She has been a successful and engaging instructor and has engaged students in much needed hands-on activities that enable them to experience course content and how it is employed in the real world.”