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5/7/2008

Luehmann Selected to Receive Excellence in Teaching Award

Warner School Professor April Luehmann will receive this year’s G. Graydon ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty. Luehmann, assistant professor in teaching and curriculum, will be honored with a citation for her outstanding teaching at the Warner School Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 17, in Strong Auditorium.

The University-wide award is given annually to recognize a nontenured faculty member who excels in both teaching and research. Nancy Ares, associate professor in teaching and curriculum, was the recipient of last year’s award.

Since joining the faculty in 2002 as a science educator teaching in the Warner School’s science teacher preparation and doctoral programs, Luehmann has impressed her students with both her teaching and research. Students praise her talent for the collaborative and supportive intellectual learning environment that she successfully creates in her classroom.

“Professor Luehmann’s teaching style is to capitalize on her students’ strengths and to nurture students to develop their areas of need to a level of higher functionality,” explains Michael Occhino, a doctoral student at the Warner School. “This brings out the best work in her students in an optimal condition for growth and to experience success in their own endeavors.”

Beyond the classroom, her contributions have positively affected the teaching and curriculum department and the Greater Rochester community. She is recognized for her innovative work on the Get Real! Science Project, a teacher preparation program designed to engage students in real science. Grounded in authentic out-of-school science inquiry experiences that include the summer Get Real! Science Action Camp, Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science) program, and more, Get Real Science! not only benefits the students but also their teachers in powerful ways, as they can experience firsthand their students’ motivation to explore science in depth.

Luehmann focuses her research on the design and use of new media literacies, out-of-school learning contexts and experiences, and innovative teacher development programs to explicitly address issues of equity and social justice through the transformation of participation structures for and between secondary science teachers and all science students, especially those in traditionally disadvantaged in schools.  

Kankana Mukhopadhyay, a Warner doctoral student and research assistant who has worked closely with Luehmann since summer 2005, considers herself very fortunate to be associated with her. “Working for Professor Luehmann has not only helped me to develop as a researcher, but also as a human being,” says Mukhopadhyay. “I have admired the passion that she brings to her research and have learned a great deal from observing her style of argumentation and analysis. Moreover, and most importantly, she is always fun to work with.”

Prior to joining the Warner School, Luehmann completed her doctoral and master’s degrees in science education and industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan, and previously taught mathematics and science to secondary school students in Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.

Tags: April Luehmann, award, Curtis Award, Get Real! Science, science education