UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Janet Lyon, associate professor of English in the College of the Liberal Arts; Matthew P. McAllister, professor of film/video and media studies in the College of Communications; and Oranee Tawatnuntachai, associate professor of finance at Penn State Harrisburg, have received the Alumni/Student Award for Excellence in Teaching and have been named 2010 Penn State Teaching Fellows.
The Penn State Alumni Association, in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate governing bodies, established the award in 1985. It honors distinguished teaching and provides encouragement and incentive for excellence in teaching. Recipients are expected to share their talents and expertise with others throughout the University during the year following the award presentation.
Since joining the Penn State faculty in 2001, Lyon has taught six new undergraduate courses and six new graduate seminars. She also has taught a summer study-abroad program in Ireland, developing a "portable" syllabus condensing a semester's worth of Irish literature into four weeks, much of which is spent traveling without benefit of classrooms or computer access.
As a member of the curriculum committee, Lyon was responsible for revising the English major to include new requirements involving critical reading skills and basic approaches to literature and literary theory. As director of the English honors program, she advises and supervises approximately 45 Schreyer scholars majoring in English. She is also director of the Disability Studies Program and developed an extensive undergraduate minor that incorporates courses from many departments.
With each undergraduate course she teaches, Lyon tries to devise new ways for her students to teach each other. "My pedagogical assumption is that when students learn how to recognize and read an argument, they should be capable of representing and teaching that argument," she said. Lyon received the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award in 2007.
McAllister joined the Penn State faculty in 2004 and has prepared three undergraduate communication courses and a first-year experience course. At the end of each semester, he makes a large lecture course like Communications 100 more personal by sending letters of commendation for the top five to 10 students to the students' department head.
Among McAllister's roles have been chairing the College of Communications General Education Student Learning Assessment Committee, Student Learning Assessment for Media Studies and the college's Ad Hoc Committee on Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness. He has shared his knowledge with peers as a panelist/presenter on teaching tips for the College of Communications new-faculty orientation and as a guest lecturer in Communications 502, a teaching methods course required of the college's graduate students.
The College of Communications recognized McAllister in 2009 with the Deans' Excellence Award for Integrated Scholarship.
Tawatnuntachai came to Penn State Harrisburg as a lecturer in 1999. She has taught Financial Management, Problems in Finance, Corporate Finance, Investments and Portfolio Management.
From 2003 to 2007, Tawatnuntachai authored a weekly bulletin to keep business students up to date with lectures, assignments and current financial and economic news. She has also written Classnotes for several subjects and served as a panelist for new-faculty orientation. She has mentored both faculty members and students, including five undergraduate students working on independent studies.
Tawatnuntachai received the Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008 from Penn State Harrisburg and was the Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year in 2007 for Penn State Harrisburg's School of Business.