Westminster Awards Nancy Garrison First-Ever Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award

Nancy Garrison

May 21, 2018

Nancy Garrison has been selected for Westminster’s first-ever Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. An adjunct faculty member in the School of Education, Garrison was recognized for her exemplary work on campus and her dedication and teaching philosophy.

The inaugural Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award was envisioned by former provost Lisa Gentile, Ph.D. With feedback and approval from the academic deans, the new award—which also includes a monetary gift—was created and modeled after the Gore Excellence in Teaching Award.

“We are so pleased that the college has created this award as a way to honor the outstanding efforts of our adjunct faculty,” said Peggy Cain, Ph.D., professor of education. “Nancy's thoughtful and skilled teaching has been integral to the success of the Master of Education (MEd.) program and exemplifies Westminster's commitment to excellence in teaching.”

Adjunct faculty comprise a vital part of a Westminster students’ education. Each term, approximately 33–38% of classes are taught by adjunct faculty. During fall and spring terms, approximately 225–250 adjunct faculty members teach, supervise and work in clinical settings at the college.

“Our adjunct faculty are very dedicated to student excellence, and in survey after survey, adjunct faculty list our students—and our small class sizes so we can work better with students—as the main reason they love teaching at Westminster College,” said Hikmet Loe, adjunct faculty coordinator.

Garrison is a 2012 Westminster MEd. graduate, and has taught for 15 semesters in the School of Education. In her award write-up, Cain lauded Garrison’s level of preparation for her courses and her focus on developing “rigorous, thoughtful and engaging lessons for her students that require them to apply the course content in relevant ways.”

“I facilitate weekly three-hour nightly classes, and I spend about twice that time scouring materials outside the coursework to add interest, diverse perspectives and variety,” Garrison said. “Attending night classes is tough, particularly for students who have worked a full day prior to coming to campus.  So, it’s my personal commitment, and actually my privilege, to be sure that the time they spend with my course is worth their effort.”

Garrison was also a Griffin Grant recipient, which paired her with a full-time faculty member to work on projects that engage diverse student groups. Garrison and assistant psychology professor Christopher Davids, Ph.D., worked together to produce a video called “Attending to Matters of Diversity.”

“The Griffin Grant I received was to create web-based professional development content for adjunct faculty regarding engaging diverse student groups,” Garrison said. “The process of tackling such a huge topic was an excellent opportunity to partner with other faculty outside the School of Education—both full-time and adjunct. Working with Dr. Chris Davids on this was a treat as we both learned so much about asynchronous (video) module creation.”

Garrison hopes to continue teaching in Westminster’s School of Education as long as she can and hopes to work with other departments as opportunities arise.

“Winning this award is incredibly humbling, both to have been nominated as well as win,” Garrison added. “Adjuncts do this work because they love it. It’s not about the remuneration, it’s about loving the content, the students and Westminster."