A Boise State chemistry professor has been named the 2015 Idaho Professor of the Year by two national education organizations.
Susan Shadle is among 35 state winners and the 10th Boise State professor to claim the award, which is handed out by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Shadle has taught at Boise State for 19 years. In 2006, she helped establish the Center for Teaching and Learning. She serves as the center’s director.
Shadle often teaches several hundred students at a time. A main focus of her work, she says, is to engage students in active learning, despite the challenges that come with teaching large groups in big lecture halls.
Shadle creates “neighborhoods” of 25 students, which are led by a peer mentor. She says it’s a particularly helpful technique for teaching science.
“There’s a lot of research that shows students who with others do better than students who tough it out on their own,” Shadle says. “One of the things I’m really trying to foster is a sense in my classroom that students can reach out to each other outside of class when they’re stuck on the homework or working on a lab report.”
Shadle thinks the focus on engagement is especially important at a university like Boise State, where a higher percentage of students are non-traditional. One of her goals is to make students who may only be on campus for a brief time feel more connected to one another and the institution.
“If we can make that happen as part of their academic course work, that’s going to be helpful,” she says.
Shadle will be honored in Washington D.C. Thursday.
Copyright 2015 Boise State Public Radio
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