Three faculty members last week received Great Teacher Awards for their excellence and commitment to teaching.
The award recipients were Brian Butz, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Philip Hineline, psychology professor, and Mel Silberman, professor and coordinator of the graduate program in adult and organizational development.
Faculty members are nominated for the award by fellow colleagues and their own students. They are chosen for an award through support from their peers and alumni and from student evaluations.
The standards on receiving the award include demonstrating expertise in their subject, helping students learn, being available outside of classroom and creating new methods of classroom instruction.
James Gallagher, president of Philadelphia University, was one of the speakers at the awards ceremony held last week in Sullivan Hall.
“Human achievement stands on the shoulders of great teachers,” Gallagher said. He wished the teachers continued success and excellence in their profession. He thought the next generation of students would be in good hands with all teachers who give the same commitment as those honored.
Butz teaches in the College of Engineering, where he helped place computer applications at the school. Among his current projects, he is working on an engineering laboratory for disabled students.
In the past he developed multimedia tutoring software and started a summer program that teaches electrical engineering to high school students.
Hineline has been teaching psychology since 1969.
He said he wanted to teach the subject because he was interested in explaining to others why smart people sometimes commit senseless acts. He said he was excited upon learning that he was going to be honored.
“The honor is reassuring in that it tells us what we’re doing is seen as important to the university,” Hineline said. “Also any news coverage on this can tell a prospective student that there are teachers who take their jobs seriously.”
Hineline said he gets the most satisfaction from his job through the everyday interaction with students and seeing their progress in their work.
Silberman has been teaching at Temple for the past 32 years. His role in the program of adult development involves structuring teaching situations so students are more active in the classroom.
Silberman said he was shocked upon learning about the award since he was a first-time nominee.
“I’m extremely pleased and very glad that this provided an opportunity to let the Temple community know about the program,” he said.
Through all his years of teaching, Silberman said he was most proud of the many students who have written or published books and articles based on principles he taught them.
Silberman also hopes that electronic learning and online classes don’t shift focus away from traditional forms of learning. He stressed that the classroom is the place where a teacher makes a real emotional connection with the students.
The Great Teacher Awards is an annual ceremony established in 1988 by Temple President Peter Liacouras and the Board of Trustees.
The award, which comes with a $15,000 cash prize for each recipient, is also considered to be the largest award a college or university can give in honor of teaching excellence. Each honoree is given a sculpture created by Professor Stanley Lechtzin of Temple’s Tyler Art School. The name of each award-winning teacher is inscribed in the south wall of Founder’s Garden.