Kent State Stark Announces the 2021-22 Distinguished Teaching Award and Award of Distinction Recipients
Alexis Baker, Ph.D., knows that making a real difference begins in the classroom. That’s why it is one of her top goals to ensure students are engaged and empowered. She sparks debate and encourages participation in all of her English courses — and she’s making an impact.
“Dr. Baker has proven herself to be an incredible professor,” said one student. “Not only does Dr. Baker genuinely value every student’s contribution to class discussion, but she also ends every class by telling us how much she enjoyed hearing our thoughts. These actions make her students feel heard and appreciated.”
Baker, assistant professor of English, was awarded the 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award at Kent State University at Stark’s Commencement, held May 13 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
“Dr. Baker is the first English instructor that I’ve had who has kept me engaged in class. I hated English/writing with a passion before I started taking her class. But now I actually kind of enjoy it,” said another student in their nomination of Baker for the teaching award. “She’s very accepting of everyone and genuinely cares for each student’s well-being. … Overall, she is a wonderful professor and just a wonderful person in general and she definitely deserves this award.”
The Distinguished Teaching Award is presented each year to a member of the resident faculty in recognition of exceptional classroom teaching. In 1974, Kent State Stark gave its first Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor bestowed by the campus.
Finalists for the 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award were: Ann Martinez, Ph.D., associate professor of English; and A. Bathi Kasturiarachi, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematical sciences.
Inspiring music and minds
Aaron Shay, who teaches courses for Kent State Stark’s Department of Music, received the 2022 Award of Distinction.
The Award of Distinction is presented annually to an outstanding member of the adjunct faculty. Such faculty teach in a variety of subjects and bring a wealth of real-world experience and a passion for teaching to the classroom.
A longtime instructor at the campus, it’s clear Shay is a role model to his students, while teaching about the art of music.
“I had never been so inspired by a professor before,” said one student nominator. “Professor Shay motivates me to be the best student I can be because of all the knowledge he shares with me. He is the type of person I want to be in my future. He is the most fascinating human being I’ve ever met.”