Published on Sept. 1, 2016
Each spring the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning presents the Ernest L. Boyer Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes a faculty member who expands the boundaries of teaching, learning and technology in higher education. In five of the last six years, that honor has gone to a faculty member from Mizzou.
Anne Alexander, an associate teaching professor in the MU School of Law, is the latest MU faculty member to earn the award. Alexander strives to improve the learning process for her students by creating spaces for law firm simulations that engage and inspire students to connect theory to practice. The law firm simulations embed technology and substantive formative feedback that is indicative of the experiences students will encounter in legal practice.
“I am an advocate of using technology to add innovation to instruction and improve pedagogy to better serve students’ educational needs,” Alexander says. “Technology is not a stand-alone addition to the college classroom. Rather, technology should be integrated into the very core of instructional design such that it becomes a powerful tool throughout the course to actively engage students, connect with students, make content relevant to students’ lives and differentiate instruction.”
Student evaluations positively reflect the success of Alexander’s implementation of technology inside and outside of the classroom. Students like using class time to work on their research, and they appreciate the ability to access and review videos, screencasts and PowerPoint presentations to further their learning. Alexander carefully evaluates technological tools before selecting the ones she believes will enhance student learning.
Alexander joins past MU recipients of the Boyer Award Elizabeth Baker (2011), Bethany Stone (2012), Newton D’Souza (2014) and Sarah Bush (2015).
“I am proud to be a member of a faculty that values developing and reflecting on its teaching pedagogy and innovates ways of learning to meet students’ needs,” Alexander says.
Each year, Mizzou honors faculty and staff for their use of technology through the Excellence in Teaching with Technology Awards. Awardees are nominated in one of four categories: Undergraduate Teaching, Graduate and Professional Teaching, Support Staff, and Graduate Instructor/Teaching Assistant. A committee of faculty selects the winners of the faculty awards and then determines which of the two will be MU’s nominee for the Boyer Award.
“The committee that chooses MU’s nominee for the Boyer Award works hard to make the nomination process rigorous and meaningful,” Alexander says. “They critically review voluminous materials including substantial portfolios. For example, they invest the time to assess primary teaching artifacts. I think the strengths of the nomination process are reflected in MU’s success with the international award recipients.”