Association Honors Faculty with Alumni Awards for Teaching

Faculty play a vital role in shaping students’ college experiences and maintaining bonds after students graduate from East Carolina University.

To this end, the East Carolina Alumni Association sponsors the University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence.

These awards were among several given at the seventh annual Founders Day and University Awards Celebration on April 27 in Hendrix Theatre.

The 2016 University Alumni Awards for Outstanding Teaching went to Dr. Cody Chullen, assistant professor of management in the College of Business, and Dr. Sandra Lookabaugh, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Health and Human Performance. The 2016 Robert L. Jones ’58 Award for Teaching Excellence went to Dr. Laura Levi Altstaedter, assistant professor of Hispanic studies education in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Since coming to ECU in 2011, Chullen has taught classes in managerial negotiation, human resource management, and principles of management both face-to-face and online. Additionally, he is a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow and a Teaching with Technology Fellow of the university. He works closely and consults with an array of businesses in the manufacturing, mental health services, and healthcare industries.

“I believe it is my mission as a management educator to develop students as a whole person rather than a learner of a singular subject,” Chullen wrote in his teaching statement. “I believe students should be equipped with skills that are applicable beyond simple subjects. These skills – those not considered content knowledge – include communication, problem solving, networking, discussion, debate, information gathering, resource finding, expression and reflection. The development of these skills makes serious inquiry possible by giving intellectual exploration a vehicle in which to move forward.”

Alumnus DaJuan Lucas ’13, ’15 named Chullen one of his most influential professors in a Pirate Profile posted at ecu.edu when he was a student.

Lookabaugh, who focuses on children’s use of transitional objects and human-animal relations, says, “As I reflect over the past 25 years of university teaching, I have maintained the core belief that, ‘Before you can teach them, you have to reach them.’ Building relationships with my students is the foundation of my teaching philosophy and the basis for all learning. I model the caring, compassionate, kind attitudes and behaviors I expect them to utilize with me, classmates, colleagues, and the families they serve. My goal in all courses, introductory-level to graduate-level, is to foster knowledge and build skills that can be applied to a myriad of contexts that promote optimal human functioning.”

“I will never forget the day that Dr. Lookabaugh met with me as an undergraduate student and sparked my passion for teaching,” said alumna Ashley Norris ’06, ’08, now an instructor in the same department as her former teacher. “I see firsthand, on a daily basis, that Dr. Lookabaugh is as committed to each of her students as she was to me 10 years ago.”

Levi Altstaedter’s research focuses primarily on second language writing at the college level. She is particularly interested in peer feedback and how it impacts students’ writing proficiency. She is also interested in researching the effects of technology-enhanced language instruction on students’ perceptions and language proficiency.

“It is my goal as an educator of 21st century students and future teachers to facilitate my students’ knowledge acquisition process by providing multiple opportunities for student-driven learning and by bringing the world to the classroom,” she says. “I aim to accomplish this by helping students create and understand their own knowledge-construction processes, adopt global perspectives, develop collaborative skills and multicultural awareness, and ultimately become intellectually empowered individuals and action-driven practitioners.”

“Dr. A is the best teacher that I have ever had,” says alumna Mariah Richards ’14. “During my time as her student, she continually challenged me to push the limits of my potential and to think critically in the target language and about the target culture. If it were not for her support and recommendation, I would not have become the lead Spanish tutor at ECU’s Pirate Tutoring Center or have been accepted into graduate school through New York University to pursue my MA in Spanish Linguistics at their campus in Madrid, Spain.”

The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to recognize these faculty members for their dedication in preparing students to become successful alumni.

The portfolios of winners of the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching, along with those for the Board of Governors Awards and the Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education are kept in the Office for Faculty Excellence in Joyner 1001 where they serve as resources on excellent teaching.

The Office for Faculty Excellence coordinates the University Teaching Awards Program with the Faculty Senate Awards Committee and the University Academic Council.

By Jackie Drake

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