Seven Northwestern State University faculty have been recognized with the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Here is a profile of one of this year’s honorees.
Name: Anna Charron Dugas
Academic college/department: School of Biological & Physical Sciences/ Physics, Assistant Professor
Number of years at Northwestern State: 4
Why is teaching important to you? I find it rewarding to train students to be ready for their careers in science and technology by learning how to be a problem solver for both small and big problems. The students need to be problem solvers as adults and what better way to learn/practice that than taking a general physics course that practices problem solving.
Why do you believe you are an effective teacher? I care about the students’ future and I try my best to explain why what I teach them is important to them. I mentally challenge students in class and challenge them to not be afraid to compete with their peers who might be more privileged or given more opportunities by going to really expensive schools. I want to let them know that they too can send something into space or build a capable robotic system if they put in the work.
As a teacher, what brings you a feeling of accomplishment when working with students? I love it when they come to me and proudly tell me how they were able to explain how something worked to someone, or when I see the light bulb go on in their faces when they are able to see the connection of a natural law of physics to their lives.
How has the past year affected your teaching methods? I got really good at Zoom to manage my Hybrid-Flex courses. Zoom gave me the ability to live stream my lectures and to record my slides and lectures simultaneously in an easily visual format. I still got to be a traditional instructor in class, but then the students could rewatch the lecture effectively if they needed too.
Have you learned anything during the last year that will make you a better teacher? I learned to embrace my human limitations (i.e. sleeping and eating is required) and to practice more patience. I was really educated on how lucky I was to have supportive parents and privilege as a kid, and that has translated into me being a little more patient with students and their out-of-class distractions. I am still going to challenge them, though. I am a firm believer in the proverb that sort of goes, “Eat bitter, taste sweet.”
For more on Mrs. Dugas, go to https://vimeo.com/584679414