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Frances Davis Award for Undergraduate Teaching 2002-2006 Award Recipients

Davis Award Winner

Mark Panek, headshot

Mark Panek

Mark Panek, a graduate assistant in the Department of English in UH Manoa’s College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature, was selected by the Graduate Council from among 28 UHM teaching assistants nominated for the Davis award. The doctoral candidate in English takes a clear, fresh democratic approach to undergraduate instruction. Working as an apprentice in English 100, he has translated his interactive model to the university classroom. Adapting Peter Elbow’s "Sharing and Responding" method, he implemented directed reading circles, groups of four students who learned how to discuss reading assignments. Safe spaces encourage even students normally on the sidelines to participate and achieve. Private conferences, three to five per semester, help bridge the natural gap between students and teacher. The conferences allow Panek to clarify methodology, fill gaps in the students’ grasp of the material and provide guidance for further group discussions. Above all, they underscore that students’ capacity to learn is in their own hands.

Panek has shared the method with other graduate assistants. A colleague observed, "Mark’s knowledge about the teaching of writing and literature is shown through his exceptional ability to draw ideas from various sources to create innovative assignments, such as his assignments on biography and literature circles. His style seems natural, but I know from my long conversations with him that it’s the result of thought and deliberation."

The Frances Davis Award for Undergraduate Teaching recognizes dedication and demonstrated excellence as teachers of undergraduate students. It was established as a memorial to the late Frances Davis, who taught mathematics at Leeward Community College and UH Manoa for 19 years.

Select a recipient for more about that individual, or view the most recent winners.


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Mark Panek, headshot
Mark Panek