Niagara University’s Office of Academic Affairs announced the selection of two distinguished faculty teaching award winners during an event held Sept. 8.
Dr. Robyn Goacher, assistant professor of chemistry, was presented with the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award, while Dr. Jamie Carr, associate professor of English, received this year’s 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.
Dr. Goacher, of North Tonawanda, has been a faculty member at NU since 2012. An analytical chemist, she teaches courses on analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis and environmental chemistry, in addition to career and communication (presentation, writing, etc.) skills in the biochemistry/chemistry senior seminar course.
Dr. Goacher holds a B.S. in chemistry from Principia College and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Dr. Michael Barnwell, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Excellence in Teaching committee, described Dr. Goacher as an engaged and courageous educator.
“Dr. Goacher is actively engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning, both by performing research and constantly using SoTL-based research techniques and innovations in her classroom,” he said. “She empowers her students to learn by teaching them to embrace rather than to avoid failure, as it is often through failure that we grow and innovate.
“Her students routinely praise her, despite claiming that her classes are challenging and rigorous. They also recognize her not only as a great teacher, but as a life mentor. In fact, she goes out of her way to work with students in developing a life plan. She not only teaches them the subject matter of her discipline; rather, she teaches them how they can use their major to succeed in life and get a variety of jobs.
“In other words, she doesn’t just help them earn a degree with a major, but she helps them figure out all the different kinds of things they can do with that major upon graduation.”
A Youngstown resident, Dr. Carr joined the Niagara University community in 2007, and is currently focusing her research on the “art and science of reading.” She serves on the University Planning Council and is the advisor for the The Aquila, the English department’s literary and art journal. Dr. Carr won Niagara’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011.
Dr. Carr earned a B.A. in English language and literature/letters from the State University of New York College at Potsdam, an M.A. in English language and literature from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rhode Island.
“Dr. Carr’s entire approach to teaching is innovative and she always strives to develop authentic assignments that actively engage students in the material,” stated Dr. Paula Kot, associate professor of English and chair of the Innovation in Teaching committee.
One former student noted in a course evaluation that Dr. Carr’s class had been “an opportunity to experience what we have discussed in this class and other classes throughout our coursework.”