CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Each year, Penn State honors several members of its faculty and staff for the highest levels of academic excellence, outstanding leadership and meritorious service. The 2014 Faculty/Staff Award recipients -- 33 outstanding University employees and one program -- reach across campuses, colleges and administrative units and exemplify best practices and achievements among Penn Staters reflecting the University's mission of teaching, research and service.
This year, Karen Kackley-Dutt, instructor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, received the 2014 George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching on Monday, March 24 during a luncheon at University Park. She was one of six Penn State faculty members to receive this award.
Kackley-Dutt incorporates varied educational technologies into her biology classes including clickers, iPads, digital textbooks, concept mapping software and handheld digital microscopes.
"I search for new pedagogical methods and use whatever tools are at my disposal to reach my students, whatever their level of preparedness, to challenge them to be the best they can be," she said.
One student noted that Kackley-Dutt is "willing to change how she teaches or what she teaches every year, all to help the students understand the material better." The biology instructor also regularly incorporates field trips ranging from a walk around campus to a spring break trip to Costa Rica or Guanajuato, Mexico, to study conservation and ecology issues.
The George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching is named for the seventh president of the University (1882-1907) and is presented each year to faculty members who have devoted substantial effort to and developed a record of excellence in undergraduate teaching.