SDSU Faculty Forward Awards

The SDSU Faculty Forward Awards honors faculty instructors who demonstrated exceptional agility and dedication in transitioning their courses to the virtual environment during Spring 2020.

To hear winners share their wisdom and experience, listen in to the Faculty Future Lab podcast available on Apple podcasts

The following instructional faculty have been selected for this award:

Deborah Bejarano and Annette Rea

Department of Math Education
Imperial Valley Campus

Professors Bejarano and Rea built their face-to-face courses in Math Education around demonstrating hands-on activities designed to teach SDSU Imperial Valley students how to teach K-12 students math. In switching to the virtual environment, the instructors managed to keep most of these activities using a variety of technological tools. Their resourcefulness and creativity modeled best practices for online pedagogy for the new teachers in their course.”

Philip Combiths

School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
College of Health and Human Services

Mr. Combiths demonstrated exceptional empathy for the challenges facing students in the move to virtual and used his course as a space where students could express and address challenges to their learning.  He also adapted his assignments to model what would have been real-world clinical skills in an online environment using hypothetical examples. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he reimagined his traditional high-stakes, high-stress cumulative final examination and redeveloped it as an applied assessment that allowed students to demonstrate their knowledge in an equally effective but less stressful format

Marie Draz

Department of Philosophy
College of Arts and Letters

Professor Draz took a comprehensive approach to adapting her Introduction to Philosophy course for the on-line environment. In so doing, she increased student engagement and helped reduce their anxiety related to virtual learning in a COVID-context.  These updates included surveying the students for feedback and needs assessment, changing participation to include synchronous and asynchronous assessments (i.e. through posting video lectures), and reformatting her exam from a multiple-choice to a short answer, flexible time-frame test.

Nancy Jones

Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy
Fowler College of Business

When SDSU went virtual, Nancy wanted to maintain the sense of community and collaboration she’d built in class and support and sustain academic integrity by encouraging students to do their own work.  She leveraged a number of different technologies to keep students engaged and connected.  For example, Professor Jones created animated cartoons to make class content more engaging and impactful.  She used Camtasia to create interactive lectures that required students to mouse click on hotspots to get to another section of the recording and in-video quizzes using the Camtasia quizzing tool.  Finally, she replaced the course’s traditional high-stakes exam with an open-book, timed case study that was designed to align with the course learning outcomes.

Nensi Lakrori

Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Lakrori was responsible for guiding 200 students through an introductory Civil Engineering course, and she took this responsibility to heart.  She maintained direct contact with every student to ensure that they stayed engaged.  She worked with department, college, and IT leadership to make sure her students had the technical support and access they needed.  She adopted innovative approaches to her traditional high-stakes exams and managed the challenges of moving lab-based instruction to the virtual space.  We celebrate her dedication to our students and its impact on their morale and success!

Irene Lara

Department of Women's Studies
College of Arts and Letters

Professor Lara adapted her General Studies 480 class community engagement class to a virtual environment while maintaining strong ties among students and between students and the organization with which they partnered--Casa Familiar's Youth Center.  She reorganized course assignments around digital media, including using YouTube to produce and publish videos for the youth served by Casa Familiar.  She also created assignments focusing on COVID and its impacts on students and the community

Rodrigo Navarro Perez

Department of Physics
College of Sciences

Professor Perez utilized many principles of good course designing when transitioning his large physics lecture course to the virtual environment including setting clear expectations, providing a roadmap, offering flexibility in earning course points, establishing synchronous contact opportunities, and adjusting from a small number of high stakes assessments to fewer low stakes assessments that were open book and open notes. His compassionate approach to the needs of our students during this challenging time is worthy of emulation

Kerianne Quick

School of Art + Design
College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professor Quick met students where they were--literally. She creatively adapted projects in her jewelry course to allow students to critically evaluate and apply course concepts to items in their home environments. She also used historical comparisons to link the challenges of COVID-19 to challenges other artists in history have faced and successfully overcome. Professor Quick facilitated creative completion of learning outcomes while simultaneously motivating students to persevere

Nathian Rodriguez

School of Journalism & Media Studies
College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professor Rodriguez expertly adapted his “Selena and Latinx Media Representation” course to the virtual environment. When meeting face-to-face, students were assigned to undertake team-based ethnographic studies. In the move to virtual learning, Dr. Rodriguez promptly generated new creative projects including meme-making and media scavenger hunts and used Canvas, Zoom breakouts, and resources to effectively achieve course-learning outcomes.

Scott Shaffar

Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering

In Spring 2020, Dr. Shaffer was assigned to teach one of the most difficult classes to adapt to an on-line modality:  the senior design project in mechanical engineering. He did so by working with students, parents,  sponsors, and industry partners. His efforts contributed to a highly successful “senior design day” where engineering students demonstrated their work.  His contributions have won notice from engineering faculty and leaders across the California State University system.

Melissa Soto and Nicholas Johnson

School of Teacher Education
College of Education

Through the transition to virtual, Professors Soto and Johnson remained focused on the learning outcomes of their teacher education course and found ways to engage students using online tools. In doing so, they modeled for their students (soon to be teachers) good instruction and universal design for learning.