SBS Presents Outstanding Teaching Awards
This year’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award has been presented to Jarice Hanson (communication) and Christopher Overtree (psychology).
Besides teaching, Hanson is the director of graduate education in the Department of Communication and a faculty associate at the Center for Public Policy and Administration. Her research and teaching involve the relationship of media and digital technology with society; international telecommunications policies, and social and behavioral aspects of interacting with technology. Current research involves the social and behavioral aspects of cell phones and the Internet; the emerging field of nanotechnology; and the impact of media coverage of the war in Iraq on rhetorical dimensions of dealing with democratic practices.
On campus since 1985, Hanson has, since 2004, concurrently held the position of Verizon Chair in Telecommunications at the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University. From 2001-03, while on leave from UMass Amherst, she served as the founding dean of the Quinnipiac University School of Communications.
Hanson is a dynamic teacher, as evidenced by her students. “She breathes exuberance into every single one of her classes and demands attention with her quirky anecdotes that always help me place lessons into a personal context,” says one. Another adds, “Professor Hanson has the wonderful ability of being able to explain complicated concepts in a straightforward, accessible and thought-provoking manner… Most admirable is Professor Hanson’s obvious passion for helping students learn.”
Inspiring to undergraduate and graduate students alike, Hanson has a reputation for providing “great intellectual and moral support for graduate students’ academic development.” A five-time nominee for the SBS teaching award, Hanson was also a finalist for the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993, 2000 and 2007.
Christopher Overtree is a lecturer in psychology, director of the Psychological Services Center at UMass Amherst, and Associate Director of Clinical Training for the Clinical Psychology Program. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that range from small, honors-level seminars to auditorium-style classes of 475 students. In his role as the director of Psychological Services, he also helps graduate students build their skills as clinicians.
As a clinician and supervisor, Overtree works with all ages, but specializes in children, adolescents, and individuals with anxiety or depressive symptoms. He also has extensive non-profit administrative experience, and has been affiliated with The Aloha Foundation, a non-profit outdoor educational institution for over 20 years.
A faculty member since 2004, Professor Overtree has been a resounding success in the classroom. Says one undergraduate, “I was excited to go to his class to every time it met. It was always interesting, mostly because Professor Overtree seemed so excited about the lectures. I wish this class was longer.” Another said, “The use of technology in the classroom was exceptional. The presentations were aesthetically pleasing, and the videos were extremely informative, interesting and relevant.”
In 2007 Overtree received the UMass President’s Teaching Technology Grant to support the use of technology in his classes. He was awarded a Diversity Education Fellowship from the General Education Council in 2006-08 to develop a seminar in multicultural psychology. On several occasions Overtree has received community service learning grants to create opportunities for students to learn in the field while receiving academic credit.
The SBS College Teaching Award was instituted in 1995 to augment the University Distinguished Teaching Award by recognizing more talented teachers. Nominating procedures, however, are different. Candidates for the College Teaching Award are nominated by their peers and selected by the SBS Instructional Quality Council; for the University award, nominees come from current and former students and are selected by a committee of faculty and students.
For previous recipients of the SBS College Teaching Award, click here.
May 28, 2009