Randy Weinstein, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, was one of two Villanova faculty members to receive the newly instituted Faculty Award for Innovative Teaching. Dr. Weinstein’s distinction was announced during graduation ceremonies on May 18, 2008. Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., President of Villanova University, had worked with an anonymous donor to establish this award and several other teaching accolades.
Dr. Weinstein was grateful for the honor, as were his students. “They really appreciated my being selected,” he said. “It was nice to get a big cheer from them.” Their support is not surprising, since it was the students who initially nominated the candidates for the award. Faculty members then weighed in with their votes.
Because an independent selection process was not yet in place, the Lindback Award Committee was responsible for determining this year’s winners. Before making a final decision, committee members visited classrooms and examined teaching materials.
“Dr. Weinstein and the other faculty members who received the new awards demonstrated enormous creativity and innovation in the classroom,” said Committee Chair Rick Eckstein, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. “It is no wonder that students raved about their classes.”
A member of the Villanova faculty since 1998, Dr. Weinstein is proud to be part of a university that regards teaching as the faculty’s primary responsibility. “Villanova is a place where you can put time and effort into teaching and know that it will be appreciated. It is not a research school where the faculty are forced to teach; it’s a teaching school where the faculty enjoy doing research.”
The Faculty Award for Innovative Teaching is given to one or more faculty members who incorporate creative strategies, such as interdisciplinary teaching, effective use of technology, and exemplary distance learning. The Faculty Congress determined the category for this award and the two other new ones: the Junior Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Teacher-Scholar-Mentor Award (the latter will be instituted in 2009).