Each year the College of Arts and Sciences selects two Distinguished Teaching Fellows and one Distinguished Teaching with Technology Fellow. As members of the Teaching Fellows Committee, the fellows serve as mentors to other faculty, provide advice on the assessment of teaching, are involved in new faculty orientation, and work with the College in myriad ways to support its teaching mission.

2017-2020 Fellows

Carol Duffy

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Carol Duffy is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. She is a virologist whose research focuses on elucidating the molecular biology of herpesvirus replication as well as understanding the roles herpesviruses play in chronic illnesses.

Carol Duffy

Dr. Duffy teaches courses in virology and molecular biology where she shares her passion for the intricate cellular mechanisms that underlie health and disease.

I believe the first order of business in the classroom is to engage the students. Learning can depend as much on the attitudes of the students as on the performance of the teacher. Therefore, it is important to get students actively involved in their own learning and get them to give their best learning effort. To engage students I intersperse humor, storytelling, query, and active and collaborative learning activities throughout my lectures. I believe the next order of business in teaching is to convey the fundamental content of the course in a way that mentally reaches the maximum number of students. Different students learn in different ways. Using a variety of teaching methods allows me to reach many of the different learning styles at the same time. Finally, I believe the most rewarding order of business in teaching is to help students develop higher order thinking skills and become creative, analytical, actively intelligent people. My teaching philosophy is founded in my belief that helping students develop higher-order thinking skills isn’t just the most rewarding part of my job, it is the most important part of my job. I work hard to design group and individual assignments that not only ensure my students understand the material covered, but push them to integrate the smaller pieces of the puzzle into a larger, comprehensive picture and then use those integrative skills for critical evaluation and problem-solving.

Erik Peterson

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Erik Peterson is an assistant professor in the Department of History.

Erik PetersonTwo young fish — undergraduates — were on their way to class one morning when an old professor swam by in the other direction. “How’s the water, boys?” the professor fish asked.
“Fine, Dr. Mackerel,” they said, smiling politely at the professor as they continued.
Once they were safely out of earshot, one turned to the other, troubled, “Uh, dude, what’s water…?”
[based on a joke told by David Foster Wallace in 2005]

Our students are swimming in a medium that, by and large, they do not recognize. For a fish, water is as banal as it is vital. As I see it, a good portion of my job—that is, if “Ph.D.” still stands for a teacher who is a friend of wisdom—is to help them actually consider that basic, unquestioned, ba

A disturbingly large portion of what we all take for granted turns out to be off somehow—stories about things that never happened, stories that make us feel like we are something that we are not. And those myths that we collectively tell ourselves, stories about famous people in the past, for instance, ripple out to homes and voting booths and statehouses, to policy decisions that impact people in the present and future. The past isn’t past because the past is also us.

So as a historian, teaching is the way to unmask what is hidden in plain sight. It is the wonderful and terrible task that we at the university have to profess: “This is water… this is water.” And if we don’t point it out, no one else will.

Marco Bonizzoni

Distinguished Teaching with Technology Fellow
Marco Bonizzoni is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research interests straddle the classical field of organic and analytical chemistry and are focused on the study and use of non-covalent interactions, the weak forces responsible for a number of macroscopic phenomena such as protein folding and molecular recognition. At the undergraduate level, he generally teaches large-enrollment lecture and laboratory courses in organic chemistry.

Marco Bonizzoni

Teaching is a marvelous privilege to me. However, I am also aware of the important responsibilities I have towards both my students and the subject that I am teaching. I owe my students respect, planning, preparation and delivery, as well as my time and attention to address their questions and problems in and out of the classroom. I am also aware of the responsibility towards the subject being taught; to present it rigorously, yet to make it clear and comprehensible and, perhaps most importantly, to highlight its relevance to everyday life. The latter aspect is very important to me in teaching chemistry, particularly at the introductory level, and to students that, for the most part, will not be chemists by profession. I hope to contribute positively to providing for the students’ general education in science, in order for them to become knowledgeable and successful members of society as they leave our campus.

My goal as an instructor is to strike a balance between communicating enthusiasm for the subject being taught, and laying a foundation of knowledge for the students to build upon. Establishing a rapport with my students is critical to this goal, but it is also challenging in the large classes I usually teach. I have been learning to use technology to my advantage, to reach my students more effectively. Lecture delivery, capture and dissemination of lecture notes, the use of online electronic homework, and effective use of a learning management system, all have contributed to improving student learning.

2016-2019 Fellows

Jeff Melton

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Jeff Melton is an associate professor of American studies. He teaches a range of courses related to his two broad research areas: humor and travel. He structures each segment of a course around content presentation, individual engagement, and collaborative thinking.

Jeffrey MeltonFor content presentation, my task is to define, evaluate, and organize material for students. Concise lectures balanced by class discussion form the basic interaction. These discussions respond to reading assignments, introduce related subject matter, and establish theoretical frameworks. For individual engagement, my task is to ensure that students engage actively by participating in the synchronous discussions during lecture and also by writing analytical responses, either in-class as daily work or within online discussions. For collaborative thinking, my task is to encourage students to work with each other to synthesize material and assert connections among their individual efforts by answering questions together in class, by working together to assess course content, and by responding to online discussion posts from peers.

The three levels of coursework are complementary, in that they force repetition and confirmation of ideas. Each encounter provides an opportunity for them to increase their understanding of complexity and interrelatedness among the varied forms of course material.

Ana Corbalán

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Ana Corbalán is an associate professor of Spanish. In the classroom she conveys her passion for teaching Spanish language, literature, and culture to her students, and they, in turn, develop a greater appreciation for learning.dsc_0689_cropped

As an experienced teacher I know how important it is to foster students’ motivation. To meet that interest I myself try to excel at creativity. My personal style of teaching brings enthusiasm, passion, culture, and technology into the classroom. I strive to create a relaxed learning setting in which all voices and opinions are equally important. I strongly believe that the learning of a foreign language demands a classroom atmosphere in which students feel comfortable enough to participate actively. I have worked to ensure that my classroom is always shaped by the fundamental goals of the learner-centered approach.

I have found that cooperative-learning activities in class, where students work in pairs or small groups, foster wide-based student participation. Of great importance to me is the encouragement in my students of greater critical thinking skills. I have had much success in guiding students through reading critiques and fostering their developing understanding not only of Spanish but also of critical arguments and logical analysis.

My teaching style and techniques are evolving daily as I learn through professional development, by studying my peers, and most importantly by listening to my students. During my ten years at UA, I have never repeated the content of my graduate seminars. This is an example of how I strive to make the classroom a learning space for my students as well as myself. To me, a large part of teaching is figuring out how people learn. I am passionate about teaching because I am a constant learner myself.

Lauren Cardon

Distinguished Teaching with Technology Fellow
Lauren Cardon became an assistant professor (NTRC) in UA’s Department of English in 2013. DSC_0456Her research focuses on American literature and cultural studies, and she teach courses in writing and American literature.

In my classes, I use technology as a tool to ensure students have a public audience for their work and to help them visualize how their work can have relevance outside the classroom. I accomplish these goals by integrating social media into my course design, by creating technological tools to aid students in studying and overall comprehension, and by collaborating with the ADHC to design discipline-specific Digital Humanities projects. Most recently, my Advanced Studies in Writing students and I created the Crimson Fried blog as a platform for their writing and a way to reach out to community members. Our networking efforts through our website aided in our securing media coverage and forging relationships with campus and community organizations. As a professional who recognizes the importance of networking, I implement experiential learning activities that encourage students to expand their own networks, to cultivate a community and online presence that will benefit them when they enter the job market.

2015-2018 Fellows

Lisa Davis

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Lisa Davis is an associate professor in the Department of Geography. Her research focuses on fluvial geomorphology, which encompasses how water creates and transforms landscapes and biophysical (cultural, socioeconomic, and ecological) interactions involving rivers.IMG_3408-1

Each semester she teach one large, 240-student introductory natural science course, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, and one of several smaller upper division courses (e.g., Watershed Dynamics, Geomorphology, Fluvial Geomorphology, or Soil Science).

The main approach I employ in teaching is to create an environment conducive to learning through storytelling, field trips (virtual and real-world), and concept sketches that help to increase student engagement and understanding in the classroom. I try to help students develop test taking and study skills by devoting lecture time to these topics and a level of transparency that allows students to observe and appreciate the rationale and intention behind all course work.

I have extensive experience designing course activities that help students learn through hands-on experience and real-world problem solving and some experience with developing service learning type courses. I teach a writing (W) designated course and one “experiential learning opportunity (ELO)” certified course in my regular course rotation.

Ted Trost

Distinguished Teaching Fellow
Ted Trost has been teaching at The University of Alabama since graduate school in 1998. Over the years, he has taught religious studies courses in American religious history, IMG_3439-1religion and film, apocalypse in popular culture, and biblical literature. In New College, Trost has taught introductory seminars in creativity and the humanities, as well as advanced seminars in songwriting.

One strategy I use in my advanced seminars involves discerning the interests and abilities of each student through wide-ranging in-class conversations at the beginning of the semester. On the basis of these conversations, research and reporting teams are developed and, when this approach succeeds, the whole class becomes a collaborative learning project advanced by the unique perspectives and passions of the various members. In the songwriting class, this strategy serves to identify common musical, technical, and poetic interests and abilities that are then activated in the effort to write and record songs together.

Jeremy Bailin

Distinguished Teaching with Technology Fellow
Jeremy Bailin is an astrophysicist studying galaxy formation — how galaxies like our own Milky Way form and evolve over theIMG_3397-1 13.8 billion-year history of the universe. He teaches large, 150-student introductory astronomy classes for non-majors, as well as graduate courses on astrophysical processes relating to galaxies and radiation.

Student engagement is a major theme in how I structure all of my courses. For example, I use think-pair-share questions, group in-class lecture-tutorial worksheets, and active discussions. Technology has become an important tool for me in getting students to internalize concepts, by having them see, interact with, and write new computer models of important physical processes, and giving them ways, through infrared sensors, to appreciate aspects of the physical world that they can’t directly experience with their senses.

See a list of past teaching fellows.