Professor Maureen Callanan in the Department of Psychology is this year's Golden Apple Award.
In 1991 the Division of Social Sciences established the Golden Apple Award to recognize outstanding teaching in the division. The Dean of Social Sciences selects the recipient from a list of recommendations compiled by a faculty committee based on nominations submitted by department chairs. This year the selection committee was chaired by Professor Jeff Bury and included Professors Kent Eaton and Eileen Zurbriggen.
Professor Callanan is a developmental psychologist who focuses on cognitive and language development in preschool children, particularly how children come to understand the world through everyday conversations with parents. Her outstanding teaching activities are remarkable for their breadth as they encompass all levels of the curriculum, ranging from Introduction to Psychology, which regularly enrolls nearly 300 students, to more specialized undergraduate and graduate seminars focusing on children, technology, and cognitive and language development. Her exceptional commitment to teaching large departmental service courses is also highly meritorious, both for the extraordinary pedagogical mastery that it requires, and the enthusiasm for learning that she has fostered in the thousands of students enrolled in her courses over time. One aspect of her teaching record that the committee found particularly striking is the time that she takes to provide her students with extensive comments on their writing.
Professor Callanan’s teaching excellence is widely recognized by her colleagues and students. For example, over the past 8 years an average of over 90 percent of the students enrolled in her courses indicated that her overall teaching effectiveness was either "very good" or "excellent." Student praise for the quality of her teaching was as diverse as it was profound and ranged from comments about her excellent use of teaching methods to address a wide variety of learning styles to her ability to empower critical thinking and confidence. Her determined efforts to enhance the analytical and writing skills of students and her dedicated mentoring activities with undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students are emblematic of a gifted and dedicated teacher who inspires both students and colleagues and to whom it is an honor to present the 2015 Golden Apple Teaching Award.
Professor Callanan is a world class researcher, and, as such, she is an excellent example of the scholar-teacher model that the Division of Social Sciences promotes.