Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson

Northwestern State University honored faculty who earned Excellence in Teaching Awards during the university’s annual Faculty Institute Aug. 7. The Excellence in Teaching award recognizes faculty with demonstrated history of commitment and service to students and the university.  

This year’s honorees are Becky Farmer, Shaun Wheat, Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Dr. Rondo Keele, Dr. Danny Upshaw, Dr. Jackie Calhoun and Dr. Masahito Kuroda.  

Farmer is coordinator of the Radiology Technologist to Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences (RT to BSRS) program at NSU’s Shreveport campus and also coordinates undergraduate certificate programs in computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and invasive cardiovascular technology (ICT).   

Teaching is a calling,” she said. “One where the educator desires to impart knowledge and help the student discover their purpose and empower them to achieve it.” 

Wheat is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at NSU’s Natchitoches campus.  

“Using a student-centered approach, I recognize that each student is an individual,” she said. “I work to build a relationship of mutual respect and trust creating an environment that promotes learning, encourages curiosity, and develops critical thinking. My goal is to help my students become caring, compassionate, ethical and safe professional nurses.” 

Hossain is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology.   

“My passion drives me to dedicate my full effort to teaching and providing up-to-date education to deal with the modern technological needs in the industries. I love to spend my extra time providing more intensive guidance to our students. I prefer to make my classes more engaging and hands-on and make the students see themselves as successful,” he said.   

Keele is associate professor of philosophy in the Louisiana Scholars’ College.  

“I think of myself like a guide, showing young people some of the treasures of our intellectual heritage,” he said. “I try to give clear explanations that take them as deeply into the topic as their background allows, and which encourage them to stand on tiptoes a bit. This is a helping profession, like nursing, so I try to be patient, remembering that they are in the process of growing up, and that I am a part of that process with them. 

Upshaw is an associate professor in the School of Business. 

“Great teachers provide more than knowledge,” he said. “They give inspiration and broaden horizons.  They give students an education, but also give a greater understanding of the world and the possibilities it offers.  They provide a safe, fair place to learn, ask questions and make mistakes, because making mistakes is sometimes part of learning.  Those are the kinds of teachers who inspired me, and I hope to carry on their legacy. 

Calhoun is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. 

“My teaching philosophy focuses on developing a love of learning in my students by making content interesting, accessible and engaging, even entertaining, as they develop strong critical thinking and communication skills,” she said.  “Regardless of the subject matter I am teaching, I want my students to leave my class feeling like the content applies to themselves or someone they care about, that they can learn to think critically and identify credible sources of information, and that they can communicate clearly and effectively in both written and spoken formats. 

Kuroda is assistant professor of music in the School of Creative and Performing Arts.  

“Music is truly communicative art,” Kuroda said. “My work at NSU allows me to guide students’ journey to be able to sense what are behind notes to connect with people who wrote music, then to develop their skills to be able to express the contents as beautifully as possible, then to communicate with the audience so that they can enjoy their storytelling. It is a lifelong journey and every student learns differently. It allows me to grow with my students every day.” 

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