Two Niagara University faculty members were recognized this morning for the outstanding quality of their teaching.
Ed Hutton, assistant professor of finance, was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award, while Stefanie Wichhart, Ph.D., associate professor history, received the Innovation in Teaching Award.
Candidates for the honors are nominated by their peers, with winners then chosen from a committee comprised of the awards’ previous recipients.
Hutton worked for many years in the financial service industry, providing him with the real-world experience that captures students’ attention. The award selection committee noted his ability to engage students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Hutton is described as a professor who will go the extra mile to help students understand the complex quantitative and analytical material required of finance students.
“Ed’s innovative assignments compel active learning and bring his business world experience – including stints at some of the region’s leading banks and financial institutions – into the classroom,” said Thomas Chambers, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, programs and policy.
Hutton oversees Niagara University’s Financial Services Laboratory and has developed a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certificate program at NU. An East Aurora, N.Y., resident, Hutton earned degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology (B.A., Chemistry), Canisius College (MBA) and SUNY Buffalo (M.S., Financial Economics).
Dr. Wichhart rules the historical discussion in her classroom, often as King Henry VIII. The eight-year NU professor uses creative techniques like classroom simulations, where students assume the role of historical figures to understand the complexity and contingency of past events like England’s Parliament, to bring history to life.
“Stefanie is truly befitting of an award for innovation, as she is not content to have students simply read books and write papers,” remarked Dr. Chambers. “She is just as apt to involve them in historical research and video simulcasts with college students in Egypt.”
Dr. Wichhart, a Cambria, N.Y., native, teaches courses on English history, the modern Middle East and the Arab-Israeli Crisis. She holds a B.A. from SUNY Geneseo as well as master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.