2014 Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards


Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award: recognizes the outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni, and students. A committee of retired faulty selects the recipients.

Brian L. Connelly
McWane Family Professor and Associate Professor, Department of Management
Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

PhD — Texas A&M University
MBA — Indiana University
MS — Johns Hopkins University
BS — Rutgers University

"This award motivates me. In fact, having achieved this milestone, I now have a new goal. Stated simply, 'will I be a teacher they will remember?' I want students to come back two, five, 10 years after they have had my course and tell me how it changed them. That isn't easy, and it requires that I think differently than I have in the past; it requires that I seek to interact with students in new ways, elevate my teaching to new levels, and approach teaching in ways I haven't thought about in the past."

Brian L. Connelly teaches strategic management and international business to undergraduate and graduate students and is also involved in teaching and mentoring in the PhD program. He says his teaching is marked by three key principles: care, interaction, and continuing development. Known for his colorful storytelling, one recent student evaluation compared him to "Bill Nye the Science Guy." He has 15 years of experience in engineering and business development with Westinghouse and Hughes Network Systems. He recently led a study abroad trip to Spain and Hungary, and will lead students to Chile and Brazil this year. Connelly's research explores how boards of directors and shareholders affect competition between companies and the key theoretical mechanisms used to describe such influence as signaling theory and social network theory. Connelly has published in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal and Strategic Management Journal and sits on the editorial boards of several top-tier journals. Connelly is married to Cora, and they have four children: Joshua, Heather, Kaitlin, and Jessica.

 

Stephen P. Schmidt
Professor, Department of Animal Sciences
College of Agriculture


PhD, MS — University of Wisconsin
BS — University of Idaho

"Winning this award is a humbling experience. It is gratifying to think that those who nominated me thought I was worthy of the award, and that those who wrote letters on my behalf felt I touched their lives in some small way."

Stephen P. Schmidt joined the faculty at Auburn University in 1976. He was one of the early adopters and promoters of instructional technology during the time of rapidly changing technology. Throughout the years, Schmidt has taught 10 different animal science courses and currently teaches Introductory Animal Science, as well as undergraduate and graduate animal nutrition and beef production. He is an academic advisor for undergraduate students and a mentor to MS and PhD students. His previous awards for teaching include: Teacher Fellow, National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture; Auburn University College of Agriculture Award for Teaching Excellence; Auburn University College of Agriculture Award for Excellence in Advising; and Block and Bridle Club Outstanding Teacher. Schmidt is currently serving as chair of the national examination board for the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists and on the university's Faculty Grievance Committee. Schmidt is married to Professor Emerita Margaret Craig-Schmidt, and they have two daughters: Rebecca and Kimberly.

 

Rod E. Turochy
Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


PhD — University of Virginia
MS, BS — Virginia Tech

"Many people have influenced my interest in teaching. Throughout my years as a student, I was fortunate to have known many professors for whom teaching, and seeing students enjoy learning, was important. More recently, helping my wife home educate four children, and seeing how she tailors her approach to the different learning styles and needs of each child, has been an inspiration and has made me proud."

Rod E. Turochy came to Auburn in December 2001 and teaches courses in transportation engineering, traffic engineering, roadway design, transportation planning, and intelligent transportation systems. His current research activities are in the areas of traffic engineering, highway safety, traffic characterization for pavement design, and pedestrian and bicycle facilities. Turochy also has four years of work experience with the Virginia Department of Transportation. In his last position with the Virginia DOT, he was responsible for traffic design and work-zone safety for the Salem District. Turochy has received the William F. Walker Teaching Award for Excellence from the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Southern District of Chi Epsilon, the national Civil Engineering Honor Society. He has been married to Kathy Gregory for 16 years, and they have four daughters: Elizabeth, Kayla, Caroline, and Rebecca.

Last Updated: Oct. 20, 2014

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