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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Joan Monahan Watson


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Joan Monahan Watson, advanced instructor of College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, for her dedication to student-centered inquiry, her respect for the diverse backgrounds and learning needs of her students, and her commitment to engendering an awareness and appreciation of lifelong learning through her pedagogy and practice.

Currently the director of the Pre-Education, Career, and Graduate School Advising Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Watson routinely teaches LAHS 3004, a Professional Development Seminar designed to prepare students in liberal arts and human sciences majors for their professional and academic endeavors beyond the baccalaureate degree. In this course, Watson encourages students to reflect on their own experiences, thought processes, personalities, and self-perceptions as a means through which they might best identify enriching and satisfying academic and career goals and through which they might best represent themselves to critical audiences, such as admissions committees and potential employers. Watson also teaches IDST 3004, the internship course for those undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in elementary education. Forging critical relationships with educators in the local community, Watson arranges volunteer placements for nearly 100 students each academic year in both public and private elementary and middle schools. In addition to their early field experiences where they enjoy the role of participant observer, Watson’s students engage teaching as action research, implementing the cycle of effective observance, critical reflection, deliberate planning, and engaged practice in authentic learning environments. In addition to classroom teaching, Watson directs the Pre-Education Advising Program (PEAP), which enjoys a membership of over 300 students and alumni. PEAP provides individual and cohort advising to students interested in education at all levels and offers programming of interest to these students, such as workshops that will prepare them for the Praxis teaching exams, panel discussions with graduate students and professionals in education, and opportunities to participate in further field experiences.

In 2010, the International Society for the Exploration of Teaching and Learning awarded Watson the Distinguished Fellows Presentation Award for her paper entitled “Aiding and Abetting the Narcissist 2.0: Personal Epistemologies, Constructivist Pedagogies, and the 21st Century Student.” Watson’s research interests in educational psychology lie in the interstices of student personality, formative identity, and learning strategies; she is also interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, which calls for the critical examination and application of educational theory to the end of improving instructional practice. Watson practices what she preaches in both her current teaching assignments and in her previous role as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies where she taught courses in Medieval and Renaissance Humanities, the introductory course for the IDST major, and the senior capstone research course. For four years (2008-2011), she has been the recipient of the department’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence, recognized by graduating seniors in Interdisciplinary Studies as their “most exceptional” faculty member. Alumna Brittany Keyes was among those students who nominated Watson, stating: “Joan invests personally in her students… She is aware of her students’ concerns and strengths; she challenges students to think outside of conventional views and beyond traditional educational strategies, and encourages diverse and intellectually stimulating discussion.” In her nomination statement, alumna Rochelle Jenkinson said of Watson, “Joan understands her students. She's kind, compassionate, helpful, and very understanding…. She made the material interesting and beneficial in the context of our lives, in ways where we can use it when we get out into the ‘real world’.”

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Teacher of the Week

The goal of the Teacher of the Week program is to recognize effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. Please consider nominating a teacher; the process is clear and concise (no dossiers; see nomination page).

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A list of the past winners is available.