The Oregon State University Honors College is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of the Honors College Eminent Professor awards recognizing faculty for outstanding teaching, research and undergraduate mentorship. Marisa Chappell of the School of History, Philosophy and Religion (SHPR) has been named the Honors College Elva Sanders Eminent Professor, and David McIntyre of the Department of Physics has been named the Honors College Eminent Professor.
Marisa Chappell, associate professor and director of graduate studies in SHPR, specializes in 20th-century U.S. history and researches topics such as welfare reform and grassroots community organizing. Chappell earned a B.A. from Emory University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and she joined the faculty at Oregon State in 2005. She has served as a thesis mentor for three honors students, has taught several honors courses and was nominated by students for the HC Outstanding Professor award in 2014. Her innovative History Games course, which she co-teaches with Associate Professor Amy Koehlinger, gives students the opportunity to apply their learning as they role-play critical moments in history. They make decisions and solve problems in character, developing skills such as negotiation, using evidence to support an argument and public speaking, while strengthening their historical knowledge. Chappell is currently part of a grant-funded team working on bringing the “Reacting to the Past” methodology, developed by a historian at Barnard College and the inspiration for History Games, to other disciplines at Oregon State.
“I hope to be the kind of teacher who is always evolving my approach to teaching,” Chappell says. She calls her classes “eclectic,” combining lecture, guided analysis of historical documents, discussions of readings and historical interpretation. “I want students to have some knowledge of what happened, but also to appreciate historical interpretation and develop the transferrable skills that provides.” Chappell says she enjoys teaching honors students and particularly appreciates that “the smaller classes are conducive to this kind of deep engagement.”
David McIntyre is a professor of physics who has been teaching at Oregon State since 1989, after earning his B.S. from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He has mentored two honors students’ thesis projects and was one of four faculty members who led the inaugural Honors College London Experience in the summer of 2016. He regularly teaches the honors recitation for the introductory physics course. He allows students’ curiosities to drive class discussion, asking them to submit a question each week about the course material or about any sort of physics question on their minds. “When students are first starting out, they’re very eager. I appreciate how curious they are. I try to make it centered around them,” McIntyre says. He has brought in lively demonstrations to spark that curiosity. For instance, he has used a Levitron – a magnetic toy – to show how frogs float using magnetism.
While teaching a course on Isaac Newton in the Honors College London study abroad program, he particularly took advantage of the possibilities for designing tangible experiences that illustrated and underlined course themes, including a trip to Greenwich to do navigational measurements with a sextant. “I try to present things in different ways. Everyone learns differently. In physics we have equations, graphs and words – all different ways to say things.” He says that over the years, he has continuously refined his teaching, finding out how to reach students and better determine what they already know and need to know. And, in turn, the students’ energy and curiosity inspire him in his teaching. “I got into academia because you’re guaranteed to work with younger and younger people and their energy. It’s why I’m in it. It’s just fun,” McIntyre says.
The Honors College Eminent Professor awards are made possible through the generosity of Honors College donors, particularly Ruth Beyer and Joseph (Sandy) and Cheryl Sanders. For a list of previous honorees, see http://honors.oregonstate.edu/faculty-awards.