DUBOIS, Pa. — John Tolle, instructor in mathematics at Penn State DuBois, has been named the DuBois Educational Foundation Educator (DEF) of the Year. He received the award during commencement ceremonies Friday night (May 6) at DuBois Country Club. Nominations for the award come from the students themselves, and each year the DEF presents the award to a full-time Penn State DuBois faculty member who has made a difference in the lives of students.
Tolle was presented the award by DEF President Carrie Wood. She explained that the winner of the award is chosen based upon the number and quality of student submissions. She went on to share some of the things students said of Tolle in their nominations.
"His nominations cite his ability to clearly explain incredibly complicated mathematical concepts to make his difficult classes manageable," Wood said. "His lecturing style of writing concepts out in words allows students to grasp the information on a deeper level than if he simply taught with numbers and symbols. He doesn’t tolerate simply going through a set of memorized or rehearsed steps in order to get an answer. By requiring students to verbalize their reasoning in their homework, Dr. Tolle encourages deeper thinking, and therefore, deeper understanding of the material."
She went on to explain the appreciation students have for Tolle's personal approach, saying, "His conversational style and ability to incorporate humor into his lectures makes the class engaging and even enjoyable for students. Dr. Tolle’s availability and approachability makes it easy for students to strike up a conversation when they see him around campus. He is always willing to offer advice to students about coursework or their career goals."
Tolle also heads the campus Honors Program. He has taught at Penn State DuBois since 2008. He has twice donated his hair during the annual THON hair auction in order to raise money for THON, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon that supports children and their families who are battling pediatric cancer.