Dr. Abbie Brown earns 2014 Award for Teaching Excellence

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WITN: ECU Professor Wins Top Teaching Honor
ECU News Services: Top Honors: Brown receives prestigious teaching award

Official News Release:

CHAPEL HILL — The Board of Governors of the 17-campus University North Carolina has selected some of the University’s most outstanding faculty to receive its 2014 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.  The 17 recipients, representing an array of academic disciplines, were nominated by special committees on their home campuses and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Personnel and Tenure.

Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize.  All awards will be presented by a Board of Governors member during each campus’ spring graduation ceremonies.

Abbie Brown

Dr. Abbie Brown, professor of instructional technology in the College of Education at ECU, receives highest teaching award from the UNC Board of Governors.

Winners include Professor Timothy J. Huelsman, Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University; Dr. Abbie Brown, Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education, East Carolina University; Associate Professor Eyualem B. Abebe, Department of Natural Science, Elizabeth City State University; Associate Professor Lori A. Guevara, Department of Criminal Justice, Fayetteville State University; Associate Professor Angela K. Miles, Department of Management, School of Business and Economics, NC Agricultural and Technical State University; and Associate Professor Jim C. Harper, II, Department of History, NC Central University.

Dr. Brown is professor of instructional technology in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Instructional Technology Education in the College of Education at East Carolina University. He is a nationally recognized, widely published expert in instructional design, media production, and teaching with technology. During his eight years at East Carolina, Dr. Brown has been a leader in the development of an online graduate program; he has also mentored faculty across the University in their development of online instruction.

Dr. Brown believes that online instruction can be as rich if not richer than face-to-face instruction.  He says, “With forethought, careful planning, and creative use of innovative technologies, one can develop learning environments that empower students by helping them gain mastery of content, as well as providing [them]a rich, satisfying social experience and access to a larger world.”   He models the very best instruction to the teachers and technology professionals in his classes, developing their content knowledge, skills, and confidence to be lifelong learners.  He structures his student-centered classes so he becomes the “guide on the side” rather than the “sage on the stage.”

Dr. Brown, says his dean, brings a “powerful blend of innovation, dedication, and passion to his teaching. He has distinguished himself as one of our most effective teachers and scholars.  He is professional, talented, and dedicated.  His passion and creative approach encourage his students to embrace both new technologies and design excellence.  His commitment to his discipline is also evidenced by his substantial publishing record.”

Dr. Brown believes it is his obligation to “model best teaching practices,” and his students praise his courses as interactive, engaging and reflective.  “[He] is an enthusiastic and well-organized instructor . . . [who] gives excellent and fast feedback and shows a genuine concern for each of his students.  He values and encourages student input, and his love for teaching shows.”

Students respond to the sense of community Dr. Brown creates.  One said, “Distance learning can be a very isolating experience but Dr. Brown requires students to engage with each other throughout the course as if we were all in one room together.  This allows us not only to learn from the course materials but also to learn from each other.”  His colleagues agree with his students.  One wrote: “Dr. Brown models exemplary design, organization, instructional delivery, and interaction within the online environment.  Transforming a course traditionally taught face-to-face to Blackboard requires the instructor to do more than move existing course content to the online environment.  It requires a different mindset.  The instructor must rethink what it means to teach and learn online. Dr. Brown’s [course] provides faculty with one model of the best of online teaching and learning.”  Another colleague wrote, “He is a rare, great teacher.  He has helped steer the current culture of online teaching on our campus and in our nation.”

Dr. Brown earned the BA in Communication and Theater Arts from Temple University, the MA in Languages, Literatures, & Social Studies: Teaching of English from Columbia University, and the MS and PhD in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University.  His teaching experiences as an elementary and middle grades teacher provided a rich background for his preparation of teachers and technology specialists at his previous institutions and East Carolina University.

Other winners are Professor George R. Hess, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University; Professor Dwight B. Mullen, Department of Political Science, UNC Asheville; Professor Christian Iliadis, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UNC-Chapel Hill; Professor Kimberly Kreisler Buch, Department of Psychology, UNC Charlotte; Professor Bruce K. Kirchoff, Department of Biology, UNC Greensboro; Professor Weston F. Cook, Jr., Department of History, UNC Pembroke; Professor Patricia H. Kelley, Department of Geography and Geology, UNC Wilmington; Associate Professor Tadeu Coelho, School of Music, UNC School of the Arts; Professor Annette Debo, Department of English; Western Carolina University; Associate Professor Leslee H. Shepard, Division of Nursing, Winston-Salem State University; and Jonathan R. Bennett, Instructor of Physics, NC School of Science and Mathematics.

Award citations and photos for all 17 award recipients can be found on the University of North Carolina website.

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 222,000 Students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.  UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering and a specialized school for performing artists.  The UNC Center for Public Television, with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, is also under the University umbrella.

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