CETL University Teaching Award Winners

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning University Teaching Awards are held annually to honor faculty and graduate students who show exemplary commitment to their teaching craft. The winners of these awards are leaders in their disciplinary pedagogy, innovation, and have an unequaled focus on student success.

Announcing 2022 Teaching Award Winners

University Teaching Fellow

The recipients who win this award are representative of exemplary practice and service to the university. Their commitment to teaching, demonstrated knowledge of pedagogy, and an interest in fostering innovative teaching practices is unparalleled. This award identifies recognition of excellence in and out of the classroom by students, peers, and administrators. The 2021 Winners of the University Teaching Fellow Award are:

Xinnian ChenXinnian Chen

Xinnian Chen is Professor in Residence in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology. She teaches Enhanced Human Physiology and Anatomy courses to 350 biology majors and direct laboratories associated with these courses. Her current research interests include understanding the mechanisms through which can increase students’ engagement in classrooms and ways to promote institutional adoption of evidence-based teaching pedagogies. More information on Dr. Chen can be found here.

Cara BernardCara Bernard

Cara Bernard is Assistant Clinical Professor of Music Education at the University of Connecticut in the Neag School of Education, where she teaches courses in choral and elementary methods, curriculum, and supervises student teaching. Dr. Bernard currently serves on the editorial committees of Music Educators JournalArts Education Policy ReviewJournal of Popular Music Education, and serves as associate editor of Visions of Research in Music Education. She has served on the CT State Education Department’s Arts Equity Incentive Committee and the National ACDA Diversity Initiative Sub-Committee, where she created policy, curriculum, and outreach to make the Arts accessible and equitable for all students. Currently, she is President-Elect of CT American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).  Learn more about Dr. Bernard here.

Steve StifanoStephen Stifano

Stephen Stifano is an Associate Professor in-Residence and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Communication. He pairs a quantitative research background alongside work as a designer, event producer, and independent filmmaker. Dr. Stifano teaches and supervises COMM 1000, the introductory course in Communication which was recognized as the 2016 Basic Course Program of Distinction by the National Communication Association. He is also the department's faculty lead on a series of courses in Multimedia Production, where he has personally created five new courses to expand the department's curriculum. From 2019-2021, Dr. Stifano spearheaded a massive reimagining of the Communication curriculum to improve student experiences, streamline course offerings, and tailor the program to student needs upon graduation.  Learn more about Dr. Stifano here.

Teaching Fellow Previous Award Winners


Lindsay Cummings, Dramatic Arts
David McArdle, Mathematics
Suzanne Wilson, Curriculum & Instruction


Stephen Stifano, Communications
Xinnian Chen, Physiology and Neurobiology
Cara Bernard, Curriculum & Instruction


Oskar Harmon, Economics
Sarira Motaref, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Devra K. Dang, Pharmacy Practice
Jason Hancock, Physics


Thomas Van Hoof, School of Nursing
Annamaria Csizmadia, Human Development & Family Studies


Laura Donorfio, Human Development and Family Studies, Waterbury
Daniel Burkey, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering


John Clausen, Natural Resources and the Environment
Nicholas Leadbeater, Chemistry


Amit Savkar, Mathematics
Steven Zinn, Animal Science


Lisa Sanetti, Educational Psychology


Mary Truxaw, Curriculum and Instruction
Ray DiCapua, Art & Art History
Thomas Meyer,Natural Resource and the Environment


Craig Coleman, Pharmacy Practice
Alans S. Marcus, Curriculum and Instruction


Douglas Kaufman, Curriculum and Instruction
Catherine Little, Educational Psychology


Robert Milvae, Animal Science


No awardee this year


Wendy Glenn, Curriculum & Instr. Dept.
Jane Kerstetter, Allied Health Services


Joseph Madaus, Educational Psychology
Robin Bogner, Pharmaceutical Sciences


Ralph B. McNeal Jr., Sociology
Sarah Glaz, Mathematics


Jaci Van Heest, Kinesiology
C. Michael White, Pharmacy


Ernie Zirakzadeh, Political Science
Greg Semenza, English
David Moss, Education
Nancy Rodriguez, Nutritional Sciences


Daniel Civco, Natural Resources Management
Del Siegle, Education


Preston Britner, Family Studies
Doug Cooper, Engineering


No awardees this year


Thomas DeFranco, Curriculum and Instruction
Karl Guillard, Plant Science


Nina Rovinelli Heller, Social Work


John Ayers, Electrical & Systems Engineering
Stephen Jones, English (Avery Point)


Regina Barreca, English
John Enderle, Electrical & Systems Engineering
Robert Gallo, Physiology & Neurobiology
Sally Reis, Educational Psychology


David B. Miller, Psychology
Katharina von Hammerstein, Modern & Classical Languages


Jean Givens, Art & Art History
Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio, Family Studies
Linda D. Strausbaugh, Molecular & Cell Biology


Janine Caira, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Cameron Faustman, Animal Science
James M. O'Neil, Family Studies & Educational Psychology


Keith Barker, Computer Science & Engineering


Douglas S. Hamilton, Physics

University Teaching Innovation

University Teaching Innovation: The individuals considered for this recognition show a demonstrated commitment to continuously improving teaching through innovation and reflective practice. They are dedicated to teaching effectiveness and support enhanced levels of student engagement and learning. The 2021 winners of the University Teaching Innovation Award are:

Jon-MooreJonathan Moore

Is an advocate for keeping technology human. He is interested in the growing field of Gamification in Business with a focus on user experience design. Although he has a heavy focus on emerging technologies and analytics, many of his interests intersect with the concept of a sustainable world. This ideal is often aligned with many of the projects he takes on and the research he tries to involve himself in. Within the past few years, he has worked to develop a company with a group of colleagues focused on SAAS (Software as a Service) within different markets. he considers himself a jack of all trades and an advocate for student focused teaching and experiential learning. Find out more about Mr. Moore here.

Teaching Innovation Previous Award Winners

  • Eleanor Ouimet, Anthropology
  • Linda Pescatello, Kinesiology
  • Jonathan Moore, Operations and Information Management
  • Howard Winston, Physics
  • Rahul Kanadia, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Georgios Matheou, Mechanical Engineering
  • Leanne Adams, Accounting
  • Anthony Rizzie, Mathematics
  • Sarah Reed, Animal Science
  • Cynthia Jones, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Stephen Stifano, Communications
  • Jamie Kleinman, Psychological Sciences, Avery Point
  • Jeffrey Ladewig, Political Science


  • Gary Robbins, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Roger Travis, Literature, Culture & Languages

Teaching Scholar Award Winner Archives

  • John Andrew Jolly-Ballantine, Geography
  • Lauren Schlesselman, Pharmacy Practice
  • Jennifer Brown Mailly, Law School
  • Jason Courtmanche, English
  • René Roselle, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Thomas Barber, Mechanical Engineering
  • Thomas Abbott, Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Kristen H. Kimball, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Kevin McEvoy, Marketing

University Outstanding Adjunct

This award identifies exemplary adjunct faculty with teaching service to the University. The individuals considered for this recognition show a commitment to teaching, demonstrated knowledge of educational pedagogy, and an interest in fostering innovative teaching practices at the University. Congratulations to the winners of the Outstanding Adjunct Award.

Julie ChoffelJulie Choffel

Julie Choffel has been teaching creative writing and literature at UConn for the last ten years. Her work with students approaches writing and reading as creative, experiential, and collaborative practices. She is the author of The Hello Delay (Fordham UP) and a handful of chapbooks. Her newest poems can be found published or forthcoming in Zócalo Public Square, New American Writing, Barrow Street, Posit, Orion, and on a bus headed your way via Poetic Journeys.

cynthia_vanfleetCynthia Van Fleet

Cindy Van Fleet has been an educator for over 40 years. As a high school Family and Consumer Science teacher she had the opportunity to become involved in the UCONN ECE program, beginning in 2004 and continuing until she retired in June of 2018. In 2008 she was hired as an adjunct in the Human Development and Family Studies Department and has continued to teach post retirement. Cindy has served as an ECE faculty liaison, an ECE Instructor, Received the Meriden Teacher of the Year award in 2013 and the UConn Early College Experience Instructor of the Year of Excellence in Course Instruction in 2011. Cindy lives in Wolcott, where she and her husband raised their three children. She and her husband enjoy traveling and spending time with their three grandchildren.

Outstanding Adjunct Previous Award Winners

  • Sarah Casper, Human Development & Family Sciences, Hartford
  • Paulo Contreras, History, Hartford
  • William Schwendner, Mathematics, Stamford
  • Julie Choffel, English
  • Cynthia Van Fleet, Human Development & Family Sciences
  • Louisa Baker, Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Mark Tschiegg, Management
  • David Tonn, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Cynthia Frank, Anthropology
  • Edward Orszulak, Educational Psychology
  • Ron Glaz, English, Hartford
  • Stuart Duncan, Music
  • Jeannette Wick, Pharmacy Practice
  • Marianne Cavanaugh, Mathematics
  • No awardee this year
  • Jann Leppien, Educational Psychology
  • Cara Vickers, Art & Art History
  • No awardee this year
  • Steven Kalb, Journalism
  • Lynne Rogers, English (Avery Point)
  • Laurie Wolfley, English (Avery Point)
  • Mark Naigles, Mathematics
  • Lori A. Smolin, Nutritional Sciences
  • Tamarah Kohanski, English
  • Sydney Plum, English

University Outstanding Graduate Student

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Awards were established in 1999 to recognize teaching assistants who demonstrate excellence in the classroom or laboratory. The nominee for this award demonstrates effective instructional skills, possesses excellent interpersonal skills, and contributes to the development of the instructional program.

amani_jayacodiAmani Jayakody

Amani Jayakody is a Ph.D. ABD candidate in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics at the Department of Physics, University of Connecticut.

Mandy LongMandy Long

Mandy Long is a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy Department. Learn more about Mandy here. 

TWaltersTracy Walters

Tracy Walters is a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Learn more about Tracy here

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Previous Award Winners

  • Ningwei Jiang, Mathematics
  • Quinn Molloy, Geography
  • Rebecca Oramas, Physiology and Neurobiology
  • Kiedra Taylor, English
  • Amani Jayakody, Physics
  • Mandy Long, Philosophy
  • Tracy Walters, Human Development & Family Sciences
  • Megan Lyons, Music
  • Pauline Levy Valensi, Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
  • Sercan Canbolat, Political Science
  • Jaime Blackmon, Psychological Sciences
  • Samantha Lawrence, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Matthew Phelps, Physics
  • Mary Bugbee, Anthropology
  • Sally Chamberland, Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco, Philosophy
  • Phanuel Mariano, Mathematics
  • Holly K. Brown, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Niko Tracksdorf, Literature, Cultures & Languages
  • Aida Talic, Linguistics
  • Amanda Bulger, Art & Art History
  • Nataliya Plesha, Agricultural & Resource Economics
  • Jennifer Corriveau, Psychology
  • Klye Hull, Communications
  • Rebecca Ranucci, Management
  • Manette Sandor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Alexandra Merceron, Communications
  • Matthew Lamoureux, Mathematics
  • Jorge Castillo
    El Institute: Institute of Latina/o Cribean and Latin American Studies
  • Nicholas Koberstein, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Valerie Pare, Statistics
  • Jennifer Bisson, Psychology
  • Kirstin Lawrence-Apfel, Natural Resources and the Environment
  • Mamta Kapoor, Pharmacy
  • Anurag Rimzhim, Psychology
  • Barbara Gurr, Woman's Studies
  • Sara K. Johnson, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Brett Shook, Physiology & Neurobiology
  • Martina Lüke, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Oscar Levin, Mathematics
  • Jason Schmink, Chemistry
  • Steven Todd, Philosophy
  • Renée Gilberti, Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Sumie Shima, Chemistry
  • Nicholas Shuda, Economics
  • Diana Milillo, Psychology
  • Linda Patrylak, Communication Sciences
  • Donald Levy, Sociology
  • Fulvio Orsitto, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Gabi Kathofer, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Regina Speicher, Mathematics
  • Rowena Ortiz-Walters, Business
  • Adam Potthast, Philosophy
  • Deborah Bubela, Physical Therapy
  • Douglas Hume, Anthropology
  • Christie Cathey, Psychology
  • Leslie Withers, Communication Sciences
  • Michelle Pulaski, Communication Sciences
  • Jason Molitierno, Mathematics
  • Carol S. Sotiropoulos, Modern & Classical Languages
  • Erika Anderson, Communication Sciences

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