Professors Zehr, Fischler and McDougall Named 2004 Distinguished Teachers

May 7th, 2004 by Adam

Plymouth, N.H. — Three Plymouth State University faculty members were named the Distinguished Teachers for 2004 at the monthly faculty meeting May 5.

Professor of Psychology David Zehr received the 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award. The official citation read, in part, “you demonstrate respect for your students as individuals; you inspire enthusiasm for the field of psychology; you are devoted to the craft of teaching; and … you have so selflessly engaged in the goals of this institution…. you accomplish all of this with your characteristic humility and good humor.” In his speech to the faculty, Zehr used film directing as a metaphor for teaching, saying, “teaching is also about the creation of narratives that inform, challenge, enlighten and even entertain our students. And we very much wish for our students to bring those narratives to life—we hope for them to develop the ability to create their own ideas, and challenge and enlighten others as they take their places in a world beyond college.”

Receiving the Graduate Distinguished Teaching award for the M.Ed. program was Professor of Education Michael Fischler, who also directs the PSU Counseling and Human Relations Center. Fischler’s citation included these comments: “you are engaging and uncompromising in your approach to opening the minds of your students to a deeper reality, you bring passion to each and every class, you use a variety of methods to reach the different kinds of learners in your classroom.” The citation also mentioned Fischler’s work in the larger Plymouth community through his work with First Star Tonight, an organization he helped found, which provides a “wish” to children with chronic illnesses. Fischler expressed his gratitude for the award, saying “I am especially grateful to the students for giving me something meaningful to do with my life.”

Professor of Business Duncan McDougall was named Graduate Distinguished Teacher for the MBA program. McDougall’s citation noted his great depth of knowledge, his enthusiasm in motivating students to think creatively, his responsiveness to student feedback and encouragement of healthy debate in class, ending “you are a dedicated teacher who provides a wonderful learning experience. You presented tough material and expected a high level of student performance—and you got it!” McDougall recalled, “I first taught MBA students in 1974 when I was plant manager at the Beebe River plant in Campton. I’m sure that working with these adult professionals working to improve their skills was a major factor in my becoming a teacher. It’s always been a joy to teach in the Plymouth State MBA program.”

Nominations come from faculty, staff and students, past and present, for this annual award to one undergraduate program and two graduate program faculty members.

Provost Virginia Barry said, “These awards honor both the teaching profession and three people who exemplify its finest qualities. At the same time, we reaffirm our belief that teaching is of central importance to our mission here at Plymouth State.”

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