Andison, Barlow Awards Recognize Faculty Excellence

Alma College’s top awards for faculty excellence recognize superior teaching in the areas of new media studies, integrative physiology and health science and psychology.

ALMA — Lauren Woolbright is the 2022 recipient of the Andison Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Alexander Montoye and Natashia Swalve have received this year’s Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence.

The Andison Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Andison Award, made possible by a gift from trustee Thomas Andison, recognizes excellence in teaching through pedagogical innovation, creative activities with students, and superior teaching. Faculty members nominate their colleagues for the award, and the president selects the recipient, who receives a $1,000 cash grant to support their scholarship.

Woolbright, who has taught new media studies at Alma since 2016, was nominated for her dedication to her students, as well as her innovative pedagogies, according to her nomination letter.

“Dr. Woolbright’s teaching is student-centered in the best sense of the term; she consistently monitors what students need in the classroom now and how that connects to what they will need in their post-Alma lives, and adjusts her course content and delivery methods accordingly,” the letter states.

Woolbright teaches courses in game design, social media, and environmental communication. She has a Ph.D. in rhetorics, communication and information design from Clemson University.

“Knowing what amazing teaching my colleagues do, I am honored and humbled to receive the Andison teaching award this year,” Woolbright said. “I am glad to know that I have been able to provide my students with learning experiences that have been meaningful for them.

“It would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues and the institutional emphasis we put on pedagogies, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities and collaborations I have been afforded.”

The Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence

The Barlow Awards, established in 1982 and made possible by a gift from Joel Barlow, a Class of 1929 Alma graduate, recognize faculty members for excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative work, and college and community service. Recipients are nominated by faculty, administrators, alumni and student Barlow Trophy nominees. The president selects the awardees, who each receive a $1,000 cash grant.

Montoye, an Alma College graduate who has taught at Alma since 2016, was nominated for his work in teaching, research and service, according to his nomination letter. He is an associate professor of clinical exercise physiology, in the integrative physiology and health science department.

“Alex has been very diligent as a teacher, and he has been extraordinarily productive as a researcher and a member of the community,” the letter states. “We are tremendously fortunate to have a colleague with his talents and his generosity.”

Montoye’s main research area involves the accuracy and reliability of physical activity monitoring devices. He has a Ph.D. in kinesiology/exercise physiology from Michigan State University.

“Receiving the Barlow is gratifying as it is evidence that my work is adding value to the college and the experience for our students,” Montoye said. “I’m appreciative of the recognition, and it motivates me to continue to work hard for Alma’s phenomenal students.”

Swalve, who has taught at Alma since 2016, was nominated for her work as a professor and an advisor, as well as for her contributions to faculty committees, according to her nomination letter. She is an associate professor and chair of the psychology and sociology departments.

“Tasha is adored by her students; this has been reflected in her exceptional evaluations from students and selection by students for the Outstanding Faculty in the Natural Sciences Award,” the letter states. “She delivers content in a way that is easy to understand, applies to real world concepts, and relates to other courses.”

Swalve’s expertise is in drugs of abuse, animal models of mental disorders and psychopharmacology. She has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and behavior from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I am honored to receive the Barlow Award,” Swalve said. “I hope that my teaching, scholarship, and service have strengthened Alma College and have benefited the students with whom I interact.”

In addition to the faculty awards, Stephany Slaughter and Robert Vivian were selected for Charles A. Dana Professorships and Joel Dopke was awarded the Towsley Professorship in Chemistry.

Story published on May 26, 2022