Teaching Initiative awards recognize the promise shown by pre-tenured faculty members with at least two years of full-time teaching experience at Illinois State. The two 2019 recipients, along with other Outstanding University Teaching Awards winners, were honored at the annual Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Shamaine Bertrand, School of Teaching and Learning

Dr. Shamaine Bertrand

Dr. Shamaine Bertrand is an assistant professor of elementary education in the School of Teaching and Learning. Bertrand’s research critically examines how to best prepare teacher candidates to teach students of color and students living in poverty, as well as developing school-university partnerships that center equity and focus on the conditions and assets of high-poverty schools and communities. Her inspiration comes from her background of living and teaching in communities labeled marginalized. It has always been her passion and moral responsibility to serve her community and help school faculty and staff create equitable environments for all students, but especially those from black, Latinx, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds.

Bertrand publishes peer-reviewed articles, conducts a numerous amount of presentations and facilitates professional development on topics regarding racial equity, poverty, teacher preparation, best practices for teaching diverse students, school-community partnerships, cultural responsiveness, and social justice. Bertrand is a 2019 Fellow of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice at the University of California, Riverside, and was recently chosen as a 2020 Clinical Practice Fellow for the Association of Teacher Educators.

She is the co-creator of the Equity and Diversity Cohort in the School of Teaching and Learning. This cohort prepares elementary education majors in their junior year focus on how to prepare an equitable learning environment for students who attend urban schools, high-poverty schools, and schools with high populations of black and Latinx students. When Bertrand is not teaching, serving others, and researching, she is enjoying family time or traveling.

Bertrand received her Ph.D. in multilingual/multicultural education, with a specialization in education policy, from George Mason University.

Lindsey Thomas, School of Communication

Dr. Lindsey Thomas

Dr. Lindsey Thomas is an assistant professor in the School of Communication. Thomas teaches several courses in interpersonal communication and relating as well as communication research methods. She also advises the School of Communication’s Theta Eta chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association’s honor society, mentors and advises master’s students, and supervises the introductory interpersonal course instructed by graduate teaching assistants. Thomas’ teaching and research interests primarily investigate how social interactions, or communication processes, operate to (de)construct and (de)legitimate relationships, identities, and experiences; she encourages students to join her in exploring the ways that talk privileges some ways of being and knowing while undermining others.

Students’ experiences are especially important to Thomas: she strives to incorporate scaffolded, hands-on learning, including creating/adapting games to illustrate social structures and build skills as well as assisting students in illuminating communication phenomena outside of the classroom through original research projects. In addition to attending to coursework, Thomas serves on several School of Communication committees dedicated to understanding, and hopefully enhancing, students’ lives in the classroom and beyond.

Thomas earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2015 and, after working for two years as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Puget Sound, started at Illinois State in 2017.