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  May 1, 2000

Excellence in Teaching, Technology Honored

The many contributions of faculty members to teaching and learning at the University received formal recognition April 24, during a ceremony hosted by Susan Steele, vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction.

The awards for instructional excellence and information technology recognize "the many facets of a vibrant teaching and learning environment," Steele said.

"This is the sort of work that often goes unrecognized. It's invisible in many ways," she said. "Classroom instruction is seen by students, but seldom by colleagues. Advising is even more invisible. It's almost impossible to observe good advising, only to observe the results."

Fred Maryanski, interim chancellor, underscored the importance of reflecting on the achievements of faculty and staff.

"Celebration is almost becoming a theme of the University," he said. "It's one of the positive changes that has happened at the University - the fact that we take time to celebrate our accomplishments.

"In the 1980s, we were known as a party school. Among students, we always ranked in the top 10. Now," he joked, "perhaps we can claim to be a faculty party school."

Maryanski, whose academic specialty is computer science and

engineering, also spoke of "the balance between man and machine" and the impact of technology on higher education.

"Technology has changed our students," he said. "They are much more sophisticated in that regard." Students who have grown up on Sesame Street, MTV and expect to be entertained.

Still, Maryanski said, "you cannot eliminate the human factor." Computers can aid people in design but they cannot think creatively. The awards presented Monday recognized the creativity of faculty and staff, he said.

"We have a lot to celebrate," he said, "and we still celebrate in person, we are not doing it over the Web."

Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu