20 May, 2020

SASN Faculty and Staff Honored for their Exceptional Contributions

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded annually to non-tenure-track, full-time faculty members in the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences who have demonstrated outstanding teaching skills in classroom instruction, clinical instruction, curriculum development, or mentoring. Diane Jammula, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Physics is one of five winners in this category.

 Jammula recently led an overhaul of the Physics Department’s introductory physics courses for science majors, which serve 450 students per semester, to be interactive and aligned with the cutting edge of physics education research, including a research-based instructional approach designed by Distinguished Professor Eugenia Etkina (Rutgers-New Brunswick); space renovation; instructional technology; new scheduling; and instructor training. Tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure track faculty, and part-time lecturers and doctoral students participated in trainings and taught and helped troubleshoot the newly designed courses. The non-tenure track faculty designed the curriculum, led the trainings, and are evaluating the reform. “I spearheaded this project, but the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching is a win for the whole department,” said Jammula, who also credited the SASN Dean’s Office, Academic Scheduling, Technology and Learning Spaces, and the Rutgers Learning Center, for making the project a success.

 She added that she was grateful to Physics Chair Michele Pavanello, who nominated her for the award and was a strong supporter of the overhaul from the start. “When I faced resistance, Dr. Pavanello came to my office and said, 'Not everyone likes what you're doing, but I support you because I think it’s important to take risks.'” The project has since been a great success, among students and faculty and staff alike.

 “The students are the center of our work,” said Jammula, “Our world will be a better place with them as our future leaders, and we seek to offer them a first-class physics education built on love and care.”