Penn College Faculty Earn ‘Excellence in Teaching’ Awards
As part of the Distinguished Teaching Awards program at Penn College, President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Excellence in Teaching Awards to Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics technology, and Craig A. Miller, assistant professor of history and political science.
Distinguished Teaching Awards are presented to full-time faculty at Penn College who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance.
Since the program began in 1982, awards have been presented to 102 honorees (30 Master Teacher Awards and 72 Excellence in Teaching Awards).
“Penn College is a teaching institution first and foremost,” Gilmour said. “Teaching is at the heart of our mission, and Kirk and Craig exemplify all the qualities and abilities of an excellent teacher. We are fortunate to have such passionate and knowledgeable educators serving on our faculty.”
Cantor, an internationally known expert on polymer extrusion, holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in polymer science from Penn State and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. This is his second Excellence in Teaching Award, having also received the honor in 2000. He began his employment at Penn College in 1990.
Cantor was nominated for the award by students, an alumna, a faculty colleague and a school administrator. Comments in support of his nomination include:
- “He is the professional, the adult that … students aim to be when they leave here. He is not only an accomplished teacher, researcher, author, father and mentor – he exhibits a voracious desire for lifelong learning and growth in his life (that) is infectious with his students. They see him as an example of how to be a professional, how to contribute to the world and how to serve those around them.”
- “(He) absolutely goes out of his way to make sure he has up-to-date information in technology related to the class in order for his students to get the highest-quality learning possible.”
- “He makes it a point to get to know his students and colleagues. He is genuinely interested in what is occurring in our home lives and offers support in any way that he can. In class, he is able to use this to motivate students to share and answer questions.”
A faculty member at Penn College since 2011, Miller holds a doctorate in history from the University at Buffalo, with specialties in Native American, Atlantic, constitutional and legal history. He frequently plans and facilitates lively roundtable discussions at Penn College on current events.
Comments from Miller’s nominators include:
- “He exudes a sense of enthusiasm with his teaching that I find to be contagious.”
- “The information (he) presents and the willingness he has to answer questions mean that our class hasn't been so much of a lecture as it has been an ongoing discussion. (He) hasn't tried to curtail this, but instead, has recognized the value of the questions asked in class.”
- “He has single-handedly generated in (me) a vested interest and curiosity into … world events and a sense of civic awareness that I never thought I would develop. I have had few teachers … that have matched his passion and skill, and I believe (him to be) the best teacher I have ever had.”
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