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Andrews, Shannon honored with Russell Teaching Awards

Alan Flurry

Tessa Andrews and Jerry Shannon are among three University of Georgia faculty members named recipients of the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early career teaching honor:

“By recognizing early career faculty for exemplary instruction, the University of Georgia communicates the high value it places on creating outstanding learning experiences and outcomes for students,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I congratulate this year’s recipients of the Russell Awards and thank them for helping make this institution one of America’s leading public universities.”

The Russell Foundation established the Russell Awards during the 1991-1992 academic year to honor the late U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell. The awards include a $10,000 cash award.

Andrews draws on evidence-based teaching strategies to engage students in scientific thinking and practices in the classroom. Her strategies of instruction are highly informed by scientific literature about effective teaching and the recommendations of the UGA Task Force on Student Learning and Success. She has redesigned each course she has taught at UGA to challenge her students and encourage a collaborative learning environment. In addition to her exceptional classroom instruction, Andrews fully integrates students into her own research. This involvement provides them with in-depth educational experiences and career development.

In addition to receiving a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, she is a member of the Department and Leadership Teams for Action project, a $2.9 million NSF-funded project to support the implementation of evidence-based teaching in introductory STEM courses at UGA. Her honors include the Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award and being named a CTL Fellow for Innovative Teaching and a Lilly Teaching Fellow.

• Shannon designed and created a program in community geography, which focuses on service-learning and participatory research in local communities and across the state. With a strong commitment to service-learning, he also created the Community Mapping Lab in 2015. The purpose of this lab is to support community research partnerships and give his undergraduate students a hands-on opportunity to collaborate with organizations across the state of Georgia on issues of food, housing and transportation. Shannon’s students are offered experiential research opportunities through his community geographic information systems course, in which they partner with Athens individuals and organizations using geographic analysis to address pressing social issues and concerns.

He has received the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award and the Service-Learning Teaching Excellence Award. In addition, he has been named a Lilly Teaching Fellow, Service-Learning Fellow and Teaching Academy Fellow. Shannon also maintains numerous local and state partnerships. These include working with rural communities around the state on housing issues through the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing.

Congratulations to these outstanding colleagues on their commitment and dedication in the classroom. The Russell Teaching Awards symbolize the signal importance of instruction in the mission of the university, and our ability to attract the very best students hinges on the presence of high-caliber faculty members on campus like Dr. Andrews and Dr. Shannon.

Image: Jerry Shannon

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