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Six Faculty Members Named ‘Master Teachers’

In an inaugural event in recognition of Florida Tech’s 60th anniversary, the university’s Teaching Council has named six faculty members recipients of the Master Teachers award.

The recipients, recognized Feb. 13 at a luncheon with Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay, are: Jeff Cerny, Julia Grimwade, Edward Kalajian, Tim Muth, Gordon Patterson and Hamid Rassoul.

The award acknowledges the important of outstanding teaching at Florida Tech. The winners received a one-time monetary gift of $1,000. A scholarship named the “60th Anniversary Professors” will be established in their honor by the Office of Development.

The principal criterion for this recognition is “sustained, outstanding, high-impact teaching, as shown by one or more of the following: (1) history of outstanding teaching evaluations from faculty peers, students or alumni; (2) receipt of or nomination for a Florida Tech teaching award at the department/college or university level; an external teaching award; (3) development or transformation of courses and/or curricula.”

An additional criterion is mentoring and contributing to the academic, career and personal development of students or junior faculty within and outside the classroom.

The recipients were chosen by a subcommittee of the Teaching Council, which reviewed nominations and made selections based on the criteria.

Here’s a bit more about each winner:

Jeff Cerny
Title: Eglin Center director, assistant professor
management: technology, logistics, information systems, project strategy, leadership
Florida Tech faculty for: 30 years (25 adjunct, 5 faculty)
Teaching philosophy:
It is an active partnership of learning that starts with asking the right questions to have an impact beyond the degree. 

Julia Grimwade
Title: professor, program chair of biological sciences, director of premedical studies
Subjects: cell and molecular biology
Florida Tech faculty for: 25 ½ years
Teaching philosophy: My goal is to make the process of scientific discovery real to my students, and to help my students identify the frontiers of the particular topic; in this way students learn not only what is known, but what the remaining unsolved questions are.

Edward Kalajian
Title: professor emeritus
civil, mechanical and general engineering
Florida Tech faculty for:
46 years
Teaching philosophy:
Present problem-solving knowledge, using a methodology which allowed the student to understand and retain the subject material, while encouraging the student to develop a passion for their chosen engineering profession.

Tim Muth
Title: instructor
Subjects: international business, and innovation and creativity
Florida Tech faculty for: 11 years
Teaching philosophy:  Encourage students to actively participate in a relevant and an enjoyable learning environment.  

Gordon Patterson
Title: professor
Subjects: history of science and technology, environmental history, Chinese history and culture, civilization, U.S. history
Florida Tech faculty for: 37 years
Teaching philosophy: My goal is for my students to say: ‘I don’t need you anymore. Thank you for helping me think more critically and to stand on my own.’

Hamid Rassoul
Title: Distinguished University Professor in Physics and Space Sciences
Subject: Physics and Space Sciences courses, including plasma physics, electromagnetic theory, planetary interiors, and planetary atmospheres  
On Florida Tech faculty for: 30 years
Teaching philosophy: It is a simple philosophy: When my students succeed, I succeed. When my university thrives, our nation thrives. I’ve always wanted those who hear the name “Florida Tech” to think about our remarkable students, our groundbreaking research, and our commitment to solving problems for the world.

Pictured: From the Master Teachers luncheon, from left, Monica Baloga, Tim Muth, Gordon Patterson, Dwayne McCay, Edward Kalajian, Julia Grimwade and Jeff Cerny. Hamid Rassoul, below, was unable to attend.

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