Wednesday, August 27, 2014
General Education Professorship
Yesterday at the 2014 Annual University Conference I was awarded the General Education Professorship.
This is one of several dozen university wide awards granted each year. My award comes with a salary increase and increased research money for the next three years.
The award "encourages and acknowledges outstanding contributions to undergraduate general education and honors courses by faculty who have pursued their scholarly interests and provided service to the university community."
For my whole tenure at BYU I have regularly taught Geography and World Affairs and Middle East Geography which are General Education classes in the global awareness category. More recently I have developed a Geography of SE Asia course which also is a GE course. After the conference one of the General Education directors came up to congratulate me. We worked together a few years ago on the Faculty Advisory Committee. He told me that while the official nomination application submitted by my colleagues in the geography department did not include my work teaching Advanced Indonesian classes (also a GE requirement), he certainly considered that service to be part of the reason for this award. I started teaching Advanced Indonesian back in 2007 when at the instigation of some recently returned missionaries from Indonesia, The Center for Language Study approached me to see if I would be willing to teach an advanced Indonesian language and culture class. They (even with my help and contacts) could find no local, native speakers of Indonesian to do the job. It was a stretch for me in many ways, but I agreed knowing that it would then make it possible for students to earn 16 hours of graded Indonesian language credit. A few years later I agreed to teach an Indonesian literature class so that FLAS awardees could fulfill the requirements for government funded language study. Just this year I finally handed off my Indonesian classes to a friend from Indonesia. Interestingly BYU is always happy to boast about how many languages it teaches, but it does not note that most of these classes are taught by low paid adjunct faculty (usually with no formal linguistic or language training) from the community with no hope of languages like Tagalog, Navajo, Estonian, or Persian ever being elevated to a full time faculty position. Nor does BYU note that when its own faculty end up teaching one of these languages as part of the evening school (as I did), it usually "dings" the faculty member in his/her annual evaluation (because teaching a class one night a week takes away from all important research). It certainly never is considered as a plus. While not noted in my blurb, I consider this award to be an award for teaching GE courses in both geography and Indonesian. Teaching is the favorite part of my job. I am honored to have received this award.
This morning in our college meeting, I was presented with a nice framed memento of the award.
Photos taken a few months ago especially for use in the conference program.