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Teaching Initiative Awards announced

Anna Arias, Tara Kaczorowski, Grace Kang, Tina Thompson, and Lisa Vinney will be honored with Teaching Initiative Awards at the annual Founders Day Convocation.

Anna Arias
Arias is an assistant professor of elementary and middle level science education in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University. Arias teaches middle level and elementary science teaching methods, assessment, and scientific inquiry courses. Her courses focus on viewing video examples of elementary or middle level learners conducting investigations, breaking down aspects of science lessons, practicing teaching these aspects, and providing feedback to peers about teaching. During an on-site course at an elementary school, Arias facilitates students planning of investigation-based science lessons, teaching elementary students these lessons, and reflecting on the students’ learning. She also serves as the faculty liaison for a program that enables future teachers to spend a year learning and teaching within the Pekin, Illinois, school district. She earned her Ph.D. in science education from the University of Michigan.

Tara Kaczorowski
Kaczorowski is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education. She teaches a variety of courses in the department including math methods for learners with disabilities and instructional/assistive technology courses. Her research and teaching interests include math and technology interventions for students with learning and behavior disabilities as well as special education teacher preparation in the areas of math and instructional technology. She sits on several department and college level committees/task forces related to curriculum development. In her short time at Illinois State, she has taken a group of students to study abroad in Russia and has mentored five undergraduate and graduate students in leadership programs, independent studies, and research projects. Kaczorowski earned her Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo

Grace Kang
Kang is an assistant professor of elementary literacy education in the School of Teaching and Learning. She possesses nearly 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and reading specialist in the elementary and middle school grades in racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse settings. She has been involved in teacher education for more than eight years and teaches in face-to-face, hybrid, and online settings, and delves deeply into culturally relevant pedagogies, reading and writing workshops, and interdisciplinary methods in her literacy courses. She also serves as the Mortar Board Honor Society academic advisor. She conducts qualitative research from a humanizing perspective in culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse communities to expand narrow definitions of literacy. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tina Thompson
Thompson is an assistant professor in the Department of Management and Quantitative Methods. Beginning her career at Illinois State in 2013, Thompson has taught courses in organizational behavior, decision-making, and cross-cultural management. Outside of the classroom, she also works with registered student organizations and individual students on negotiation, impression management, and career planning. Thompson has received other teaching awards including the Wisdom’s Torch Award from the Illinois State College of Business and the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society’s Early Educator Institute Fellowship. In her research, she examines the effects of underemployment, volition, and economic stressors on individuals and organizations. Her research has been published in Personnel Psychology, The Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, Human Relations, and Business Horizons. She has presented her work at several conferences including the annual meetings of the Academy of Management, the Southern Management Association, the Management and Organizational Teaching Society, and the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Thompson was awarded the Research Initiative Award at Illinois State in 2017. Before earning her Ph.D., she worked with Accenture as an information technology consultant. She earned her Ph.D. in organizational behavior and human resource management at Florida State University.

Lisa Vinney
Vinney is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She began her career at Illinois State in 2013. Since then, she has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in speech and voice science, and the clinical management and assessment of voice and speech disorders. Her teaching efforts are dedicated to promoting a student-centered classroom incorporating clinical simulation, evidence-based teaching, and students’ reflections on how course content and learning opportunities relate to them personally and professionally. Vinney has mentored over 50 undergraduate and graduate students through honors and independent study experiences. She is involved in a number of scholarship of teaching and learning research collaborations with colleagues and undergraduate and graduate students. Her disciplinary research seeks to inform the assessment and treatment of voice disorders by examining factors that influence vocal behavior change and how the sound of the voice shapes impressions. She holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences and disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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