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November 14, 2012

Cameron honors top educators with Hackler Award

DUNCAN — Cindy Ross, president of Cameron University, said it is her favorite event of the year, Tuesday night as she introduced Harold and Elizabeth Hackler.

It was the 14th year for the Hackler Award for Teaching Excellence at Cameron University. Recognized as the most prestigious award at the university, its recipients exemplify a dedication and passion for teaching. This year it went to associate professor of education Dr. Ramona Hall and assistant professor of psychology Dr. Joanni Sailor.

“It’s recognizing what we do best, which is enhance student learning,” Ross said. “There have been a total of 24 recipients of the award, including tonight’s recipients, together with a total of 531 years of teaching and more than one million students have gone through their classrooms.”

The Hacklers donated funds for an endowment in 1999.

Dr. John McArthur rose to explain how the award is chosen. Once a professor is nominated, a selection committee made up of previous year’s award recipients and three students choose the winner.

Hall was introduced by one of her graduate students, Matt Keenan, who spoke of the profound positive effect on all the education department students because of her enthusiasm and expertise. Hall expressed a deep gratitude for the recognition and shared the reason behind her passion for teaching.

“A statement that one of my own professors shared with his class years ago still resonates with me all these years later and serves as the foundation of my teaching philosophy. He said that in every college course, students come out at the end of the semester under one of three conditions,” she said. “They come out enlightened, they come out confused, or they simply come out. Everything I set out to do in my role as an educator revolves around my sincere desire that each and every minute spent in the classroom be a minute devoted to ensuring that students exit my class under the  first of these three conditions.”

Sailor was introduced by one of her graduate students as well, Jennifer Baker. Baker gave much credit to her professor for being where she is in education and in life today. Sailor, who has been a full-time professor for three years and practiced family therapy for more than 23 years, was drawn to teaching to make a greater difference in the lives of others.

“The student needs to trust that I will provide honest feedback with a healthy  balance of encouragement, correction and praise,” she said. “I have high expectations and I will help raise you to them. I want when I say ‘I’m proud of you’ for it to mean something because I won’t say it unless you’ve earned it.”

Through the endowment, Hall and Sailor will each receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. Their names will be added to the Hackler Award honor  roll plaque that is on display at the CU-Duncan campus.

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