UH Manoa faculty awarded for significant contributions to teaching

University of Hawaiʻi
Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jun 15, 2007

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has awarded five faculty members with the 2007 Chancellor‘s Citation for Meritorious Teaching. Established in 1986, the award recognizes UH Mānoa faculty who have made significant contributions to teaching and student learning.

The 2007 recipients are—

Daphne Desser, assistant professor of English. Desser has contributed to the department‘s commitment to strengthening students‘ skills in writing and reasoning. Her curricular goals in teaching writing and rhetoric are that students become more aware users of language. Desser is instrumental to the department and helps improve and extend writing instruction, including helping to create a Certificate in Professional Writing. A student observed, "Her encouragement inspires me as I pursue my lifetime passion of striving for excellence in my work as both a wordsmith and a future teacher of first-year writing students."

David Haymer, professor of cell and molecular biology. He believes that he can best serve as a guide in the learning process by providing a solid foundation and framework of basic knowledge for students to build on, and helping students learn to do "critical thinking" about new information they might discover on their own. Haymer taught all of the undergraduate core courses in the Cell and Molecular Biology track for biology majors and developed a new course, Communication in the Biological Sciences, to help students develop their oral and written communication skills as future scientists.

Paula Morelli, associate professor of social work. Morelli is committed to providing relevant, quality education. Her instructional philosophy is grounded in three principles: engaged pedagogy, critical and creative thinking, and mastery and application of knowledge and skills. Her teaching style is honest, open, and relaxed, and students feel welcome to ask difficult questions and engage in challenging dialogue about tough social issues. A colleague notes, "On a personal level, Paula is a strong student advocate, has mentored numerous highly successful graduates, and her commitment to students is as strong as her commitment to a better society."

Amy Schafer, associate professor of linguistics. Schafer encourages students to thrive in class and achieve analytical understanding of the material. Her classes involve significant integration of course concepts with hands-on professional activities. Schafer played a central role in establishing the Language Analysis and Experimentation labs; introduced a series of new courses on psycholinguistics into the curriculum; and created the Linguistics Beyond the Classroom program, in which undergraduate students focus on current linguistic research as part of their coursework. A colleague observed, "Dr. Schafer embodies the type of researcher-teacher whose contributions we should hold up as an exemplary model for a research university."

Janet Uyehara, assistant professor of nursing. Uyehara nurtures her students in the clinical setting as well as in the classroom. Over the past 30 years, Uyehara has taught didactic and clinical courses in the area of obstetrics and newborn care. Her lectures are dynamic and include personal anecdotes from her clinical experience to help students understand the material presented. She was influential in developing an innovative teaching opportunity, the Childbearing Teaching Project, where students study and gather information on a pregnant client. A student wrote, "She has not only provided me with academic and clinical knowledge but also with the personal qualities of sensitivity and compassion which are essential in the nursing profession.

Recipients will be recognized for their contributions to the university along with other UH award winners at a systemwide ceremony in September.