Like many students, Stacee Stinedurf credits her passion for geology to David Hacker, Ph.D., associate professor of geology at Kent State University at Trumbull and a recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award.

Each year, the Kent State Alumni Association recognizes Kent State’s outstanding faculty members by awarding three nominated educators with the Distinguished Teaching Award. The Distinguished Teaching Award is the most prestigious award Kent State presents to full-time, tenure-track faculty members.

In her nomination letter, the alumna of the geology program says Hacker’s support, guidance and knowledge during her undergraduate career gave her the confidence to pursue a Master of Science in geology from Kent State.

“He has helped me, a nontraditional, working single mother of three children to become a first-generation college graduate,” Stinedurf says. “Not only did his support help me to earn a degree and become successful, but my success will in turn be my children’s success. Dr. Hacker’s teaching and mentoring has a lasting, far-reaching and positive effect on so many people.”

Hacker, who is one of three faculty members recognized with a 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award, began his academic career at Kent State in 2000. His research includes structural geology with a focus on detailed field mapping in the western United States to decipher the evolution of tectonic events and volcanism. He received a Ph.D. in geology from Kent State, as well as a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in geology from Miami University in Ohio.

Graduate students in the geology program Sebastian Dirringer and Julia Yeakley acknowledge Hacker for his ability to extend learning beyond a traditional classroom lecture in their nomination letters. Hacker’s students find that challenging topics resonate well with them because of his practical and enthusiastic teaching style.   

“My approach to teaching is to inspire students through self-inquiry and discovery that expands their knowledge and understanding about the Earth in order for them to be informed citizens and professionals,” Hacker says in his teaching statement. “I achieve this through frequent use of real-life experiences, hands-on activities, field trips and experiential learning. This approach improves student learning through engagement and critical thinking in something that matters to them, the environment they live in.”

Elizabeth Bargdill, senior geology major, notes in her nomination letter that Hacker also stands out among her other professors. She says his friendly nature and positive attitude show how much he truly cares about his students’ well-being.

“I believe students learn more when they enjoy learning,” Hacker says. “The joy of interacting and sharing geology with students is very rewarding to me. I am always proud to hear from former students on how they achieved their career goals and how real-life experiences from my courses helped them succeed.”

For more information about Hacker, visit

Learn more about the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Learn more about the geology program at Kent State.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 02:27 PM
Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2016 02:27 PM