2012 - 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award: Theresa Fine-Pawsey

Theresa, holding plaque, poses with President IngramTheresa Fine-Pawsey represents the excellence Durham Tech demands of its instructors, and she will represent the college well as its recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Theresa is described by her peers as having "boundless energy" and being "fearless" in her approach to using new techniques in the classroom and as a "first-rate critical thinker." Her students describe her as being "engaging" and "always encouraging us to think outside the box" and "able to identify in me something that could be developed."

When asked to develop a concept for the new HUM 212 Capstone course, her desire to make the course as meaningful and interesting for students as possible led her to develop Visual Literacy and the Graphic Novel, a course students are excited to take and rave about once it’s over.

She also encourages students to engage with each other and the outside world in unique ways that allow them to discover different perspectives. For example, as part of an American Literature II course assignment, Theresa took students to visit a Picasso exhibit at the Nasher Museum to interact with the art and make connections between the art and the literature they were reading in class, allowing students to synthesize material across disciplines. Theresa also makes a point to add case studies or real-world application aspects to her assignments so that students can see a direct relationship between school and life. These types of innovations in the classroom are the mark of a truly excellent instructor.

Outside of the classroom, she is an asset to our campus community. She serves as a faculty advisor for Spectrum (an organization advocating for and supporting LGBT people on the DTCC campus); has done countless TLC presentations to share her work with her colleagues; has volunteered to lead one of Durham Tech’s first ever CLIP (Communities of Learning, Inquiry, and Practice) research groups; has worked with colleagues to develop programs that enhance our community experience; has served as chair of Faculty Council; serves on the TLC Advisory committee; and has represented Durham Tech as a presenter at several state and national conferences.