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Faculty TRAC Stars

Spring 2016
Professor Bruce Whitehouse
Sociology and Anthropology

Courses with TRAC Fellows:

Fall 2009: ANTH /AAS 397—Globalization & Development in Africa
Fall 2010: ANTH 320—Global Capitalism
Fall 2012: ANTH/AAS/GS 324—Globalization and Development in Africa
Fall 2013: ANTH/GS 106—Cultural Studies and Globalization
Spring 2014: ANTH 320—Global Capitalism
Spring 2015: ANTH/AAS/GS 324—Globalization and Development in Africa
Fall 2015: ANTH/GS 106—Cultural Studies and Globalization
Spring 2016: ANTH 011—Cultural Diversity and Human Nature

An esteemed advocate of student writing at Lehigh, Professor Bruce Whitehouse has been a trusted partner of the TRAC Program since he first worked with fellows in the fall semester of 2009. In addition to enlisting fellows to help students improve their skills in the conventions of traditional academic writing, Professor Whitehouse has also been a leader in developing new, diverse, and meaningful ways of integrating writing and other forms of communication into his courses. In fact, no two semesters have been the same for the TRAC Program and Professor Whitehouse as he has added new media in various forms and innovative group projects to his teaching that have required both students and fellows alike to acquire new skills that enrich learning.

In working with fellows, Professor Whitehouse knows how to strike an effective balance between allowing TRAC Fellows the freedom to do their best work as peer tutors, and, when necessary or helpful, stepping in to guide them toward the successful outcomes he envisions for his course projects. He is also skillful at drawing on the fellows’ perspective as undergraduate students in soliciting feedback on his writing assignments. In this way, he enables his students to do their best work by providing assignment prompts that are clear and accessible.

Finally, Professor Whitehouse has consistently supported the TRAC Program by providing helpful feedback and guidance on our performance each semester, nominating students as potential candidates for the program during our annual recruiting campaign, participating as a faculty panelist for TRAC information sessions, and attending TRAC workshops and social events. The TRAC Program is far better than it would be without his contributions, hard work and support, and we are therefore thrilled to honor Professor Bruce Whitehouse as our “Faculty TRAC Star” for spring 2016.

 

Spring 2015
Professor Heather Beth Johnson
Sociology and Anthropology

Courses with TRAC Fellows:

Spring 2013: SSP/AAS 379—Race and Class in America
Fall 2014: SOC 001—Introduction to Sociology and Social Psychology
Spring 2015: SOC 001—Introduction to Sociology and Social Psychology

Professor Johnson worked with TRAC Fellows for the first time in the spring of 2013. Her use of effective writing assignments in “Race and Class in America” and her vision of student writing as a mode of exploration and disciplinary learning, combined with her awareness of students’ need for a robust writing process, made her initial partnership with the TRAC Program a clear success. The course was a challenging and meaningful experience for TRAC Fellows Courtney Weintraub, Elizabeth McManus, and Hao Tian, who agreed unanimously that Professor Johnson really “Gets it” when it comes to effective use of writing to enrich student learning.

In the fall of 2014, Professor Johnson built on her earlier success when she took a leap of faith in enlisting TRAC Fellows to support the writing process of all 170 students in her Introduction to Sociology and Social Psychology course. Working closely with Lead TRAC Fellow Liz Pines, Professor Johnson orchestrated effective collaboration among her graduate teaching assistants and the 15 TRAC Fellows assigned to SOC 001. Reflecting on the experience of working with Professor Johnson, Liz Pines observes:

Heather Johnson is committed to the success of her students as writers, and therefore was a perfect fit for a partnership with the TRAC Program. One of her core objectives was to improve the way students use writing to explain and synthesize complex sociological concepts. Heather encourages creative and reflective writing and has high expectations of her students and the Fellows she works with. Entirely open to new ideas and collaboration, Heather took feedback very seriously and made strides to adopt new practices in the classroom and through her carefully crafted assignments to further strengthen her students' writing.

Professor Johnson’s effort continues in the current spring semester, as the enrollment in SOC 001 has increased to over 220 students, and the need for TRAC Fellows has grown proportionately. Working closely with Lead Fellow Holly Meister and the 13 other fellows assigned to the course, Professor Johnson continues to challenge both herself and her TRAC fellows to do the very best work possible on behalf of Lehigh students. Whether she’s holding meetings for fellows and TA’s in her on-campus residence, working to make her writing assignments more meaningful (and often more challenging) to students, meeting with fellows in the bookstore café, or responding swiftly and decisively when challenges arise, Professor Johnson has been a champion of undergraduate student writing at Lehigh and a true “Faculty TRAC Star.”

It is our great pleasure to honor Professor Heather Beth Johnson as our Faculty TRAC Star for spring 2015!

 

Fall 2013
Professor Margaret A. Kenna
Biological Sciences

Courses with TRAC Fellows:

Spring 2010: BIOS 042—Bio Core I: Cell and Molecular Lab
Spring 2011: BIOS 042—Bio Core I: Cell and Molecular Lab
Spring 2012: BIOS 042—Bio Core I: Cell and Molecular Lab
Spring 2013: BIOS 042—Bio Core I: Cell and Molecular Lab

Professor Kenna is a strong advocate for undergraduate writing at Lehigh. In fact, she has enlisted the support of TRAC Fellows to help more students with writing than any other single member of the Lehigh faculty. For every spring semester beginning in 2010, she has made sure to have TRAC Fellows assigned to all students in the Bio Core I class, which is typically offered in sixteen sections to approximately 275 students, most of whom are in their first year at Lehigh. In doing so, Professor Kenna has worked with over 60 TRAC fellows and provided enhanced writing instruction in the biological sciences to over 1,000 Lehigh students.  

But the TRAC-BIOS 042 collaboration is about more than just numbers. Professor Kenna has worked each year to improve the process through which TRAC fellows have helped her students with their writing. Whether it is revising assignments yearly to make them more effective for her students, making sure the instructors of each of the individual BIOS 042 sections are properly prepared to partner with TRAC fellows, or providing the kind of specific feedback that helps the TRAC program adjust and improve each year, Professor Kenna has been exemplary in her collaboration with the TRAC Program.

Additionally, Professor Kenna has made extra efforts beyond BIOS 042 to support the TRAC Program, serving as a panelist in our information sessions for candidates interested in becoming fellows, and helping with our orientation workshop for new TRAC Fellows in the spring. We are indebted to her for her generous help and support. 

It is our great pleasure to honor Professor Kenna as the Faculty TRAC Star for Fall 2013.

 

Fall 2012
Professor Todd A. Watkins
Economics

Courses with TRAC Fellows:

Spring 2009: ECO 296—Microfinance
Spring 2010: ECO 296—Microfinance
Spring 2011: ECO 296—Microfinance
Spring 2012: ECO 203—Microfinance: Financial Inclusion for the Poor

TRAC Fellows: Courtney Jackson
TRAC Fellows: CJ Berzin & Deborah Streahle
TRAC Fellows: Puja Parekh & Aidan Fennelly
TRAC Fellows: Shara Dunham & Marlie Joseph

“One of the great pleasures of working with the TRAC program is the chance to engage in productive collaboration with the fellows.”
—Professor Todd A. Watkins

Professor Watkins is a great friend of the TRAC Program and a supporter of student writing at Lehigh. He has worked with TRAC Fellows from across the disciplines—including philosophy, finance, economics, global studies, English, history, and accounting—and in every case has created the kind of collaborative learning environment that enables the fellows to do their best work. As one TRAC Fellow has said, “Professor Watkins really gets it.”

Professor Watkins has confidence in his students’ ability to meet high expectations. For example, in response to his own need for a textbook for the microfinance course, rather than settle for a text in this emerging field that did not meet his standards, he turned to the students in ECO 296 and enlisted their efforts, over the span of several semesters, to produce a text that would meet his expectations. The TRAC Fellows found that this meaningful project provided great motivation for students to improve their writing skills.

He understands the importance of writing to Lehigh students, and his embrace of student writing extends beyond the conventional classroom. He has advised teams of students in the Integrated Product Development Program (IPD) in writing their proposals for industry sponsors. In the Martindale Student Associates Program, Professor Watkins has guided individual students through the research and writing of scholarly articles for publication in Perspectives in Business and Economics. Professor Watkins even co-authored, with Professor Robert Thornton, the “Perspectives on Business and Economics Style and Format Guide” to help students negotiate the stylistic challenges of writing their articles.

Professor Watkins has made extra efforts to support the TRAC Program, serving as a panelist in our information sessions for candidates interested in becoming fellows. He has also helped with our orientation workshop for new TRAC Fellows. We are indebted to him for generous help and support.

It is our great pleasure to honor Professor Watkins as the Faculty TRAC Star for Fall 2012.

 

Fall 2011
Professor Rick Vinci
Materials Science and Engineering

Courses with TRAC Fellows:

Fall 2008: MAT 218—Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Fall 2009: MAT 218—Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Fall 2010: MAT 218—Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Fall 2011: MAT 218—Mechanical Behavior of Materials

TRAC Fellows: Ana-Iulia Alexandrescu & Scott Wojciechowski
TRAC Fellows: Martin Razo & Erica Prosser
TRAC Fellows: Kylie Ford & Dan Provenzano
TRAC Fellows: Leif Arnesen & Vanessa Meyerhoefer

“Working with TRAC Fellows has been an excellent experience for me. It has also been truly beneficial for my students.”
—Professor Rick Vinci

Professor Vinci is a consistent supporter of writing at Lehigh, and a strong advocate of both Writing Across the Curriculum and the TRAC Writing Fellows Program. He has worked with TRAC Fellows in his MAT 218—Mechanical Behavior of Materials course every fall since our inaugural semester back in 2008. Since that time, he has helped guide the growth of the program through his steady support and by providing us with feedback and offering helpful suggestions for improvement. Furthermore, he has been innovative in his collaboration with Fellows, combining the TRAC process with the online peer feedback exercises that he facilitates for his students. He has also helped the program by serving as a panelist for the information sessions we hold during our new Fellow recruitment campaign each spring semester. In the fall of 2009, Professor Vinci reported on his work with the TRAC Program in a presentation at the Conference of the Materials Research Society in Boston, Massachusetts.

Professor Vinci consistently looks for new ways to integrate TRAC Fellows into his course for maximum pedagogical benefit. For the current semester, he has expanded the role of the TRAC Fellows working with MAT 218 by integrating a research component into his executive memo assignment.

We are thrilled to honor Professor Vinci as the Faculty TRAC Star for Fall 2011.

 

Spring 2011
Professor Ben Wright
Religion Studies

Courses with TRAC Fellows:
Fall 2008: REL 114—Christian Origins
Fall 2009: REL 111—Jewish Scriptures/Old Testament TRAC Fellow: Allison Prosswimmer
Fall 2010: REL 090—Dead Sea Scrolls TRAC Fellow: Ghamar Bitar

TRAC Fellows: Krystal Kaai
TRAC Fellows: Allison Prosswimmer
TRAC Fellows: Ghamar Bitar

“The TRAC Writing Fellows Program is the most exciting thing that has happened with student writing since I’ve come to Lehigh.”    —Professor Wright

Professor Wright is a committed advocate of writing at Lehigh, and a strong supporter of both Writing Across the Curriculum and the TRAC Writing Fellows Program. Even before the TRAC Program was launched as a pilot in fall 2008, he helped by advising the program’s leadership on several elements of its design. Since that time, he has worked with the TRAC Program every fall semester, providing helpful feedback at the close of each term.

In fall 2009, Professor Wright helped the TRAC Program explore new possibilities in undergraduate research through his REL 111—Jewish Scriptures/Old Testament course. Each student in the class was assigned a piece of ancient Near-Eastern pottery from a Lehigh special collection and was charged with the task of learning its origin and as much about it as possible. Students reported their findings at the end of the semester in oral presentations and research papers. Professor Wright encouraged his students to collaborate on their research with TRAC Fellow Allison Prosswimmer. He was pleased with the results, and the TRAC Program advanced its ability to support undergraduate research activities.

Professor Wright helped promote the TRAC Program beyond Lehigh’s campus when he participated in a panel presentation titled “Writing Fellows Remix: The TRAC Writing Fellows Program at Lehigh University” at the Second Annual Patriot League Academic Conference at Bucknell University in fall of 2009.

Finally, it was Professor Wright who first suggested that the 3.2 GPA eligibility criterion for TRAC Fellows candidates be changed from “Required” to “Recommended.” In making his case for this change, he said, “Some of our strongest, most intellectually adventurous students don’t have high GPAs. Sometimes they struggle in the first year but improve greatly when they learn how to negotiate the challenges of college. The TRAC Program would benefit from the insights of students who have experienced this struggle.”