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College of Human Ecology

Assistant Professor in Interior Design honored with Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching award

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

MANHATTAN -- Four Kansas State University faculty members are receiving the 2007 Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

This year's recipients are David Allen, assistant professor of elementary education; Barbara G. Anderson, assistant professor of apparel, textiles and interior design; Gary Pierzynski, professor of agronomy; and David Rintoul, associate professor of biology.

The awards, each of which includes a $2,500 honorarium, are sponsored by the William T. Kemper Foundation and Commerce Bancshares Foundation; they are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation.

"This is the 12th year Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with K-State to promote and support excellence in teaching with the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards," said Tom Giller, community bank president of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "We're pleased to join the university in honoring this year's recipients, who all make a positive impact through their dedication to teaching and mentoring
students."

Such support allows K-State to reward outstanding faculty members, said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "K-State wants undergraduates to have the best education and instructors possible," he said. "These honorees have devoted themselves to fulfilling that vital part of the university's mission."

* Allen teaches mathematics education courses in the College of Education and works extensively with school districts to implement standards-based mathematics curricula. Allen's years in elementary and middle-school classrooms shaped his approach to teaching. "Perhaps the most significant component of my philosophy is the attempt to establish a meaningful relationship with all students," he said. "This allows for the opening of 'windows of opportunity,' which enable me to develop a personal perspective on each student."

Allen earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education at Eastern New Mexico University. His doctorate in curriculum and instruction is from Texas Tech University. He joined K-State in 2001.

* Anderson teaches environmental design and the history of interior design in the College of Human Ecology. She also has more than 20 years of experience in historic preservation. Her teaching methods stress teamwork, problem-solving and a genuine passion for the material. "I try to instill a love for discovery and intellectual curiosity that should lead to continual learning," Anderson said. "I help my students develop the confidence and ability to teach themselves so that they will have the skills necessary to learn throughout their lives."

Anderson joined K-State in 2000. She earned her bachelor's in architecture from K-State and her master's in architecture from the University of Kansas.

* Pierzynski, head of the department of agronomy, teaches environmental quality, plant nutrient sources, soil and environmental chemistry, and advanced soil chemistry. He advocates the use of decision case studies in the classroom, and he has shared his knowledge in this area through teaching workshops. "I try to create that 'teachable moment' with the students in a variety of ways," he said. "In general, faculty members have more analytical thought processes and need to realize that most students are holistic thinkers: holistic thinkers need to see the big picture before they can appreciate the details that faculty consider essential."

Pierzynski received his bachelor's degree in crop and soil science and his master's in soil environmental chemistry from Michigan State University. He earned his Ph.D. in soil chemistry from Ohio State University. He joined K-State in 1989.

* Rintoul, associate director of the Division of Biology, teaches field ornithology and professional skills in biology. He also coordinates the instruction of principles of biology, a course that reaches nearly 1,600 students a year. "My personal experiences in the laboratory reinforce the idea that active involvement is vastly superior, as a method of learning, to more passive activities such as reading or listening," Rintoul said. "Biology teaching, at its best, is centered on helping learners experience the joy of discovery, and the pleasure of stretching one's horizons."

Rintoul joined K-State in 1981. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Sources: David Allen, 785-532-6999, dallen@k-state.edu;
Barbara Anderson, 785-532-1304, barbara@k-state.edu; Gary Pierzynski,
785-532-6101, gmp@k-state.edu; and David Rintoul, 785-532-6615,drintoul@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Andy Badeker, 785-532-6415, abadeker@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design.