ASU Presidential Teacher Award recipients announced


zena buser, leslie cramblet alvarez, sheryl abeyta

Dr. Zena Buser, Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, and Dr. Sheryl Abeyta

Now in its sixth year, the Adam State University Presidential Teaching Award, student nominated/student reviewed, has recognized 21 professors for their outstanding contribution to their students.

The 2013 Presidential Teaching Award recipients are Dr. Sheryl Abeyta, assistant professor of accounting; Dr. Leslie Cramblet Alvarez, associate professor of psychology; and Dr. Zena Buser, assistant professor of business. Although the three professors differ in disciplines, background, and education, they share many common denominators when it comes to the art of teaching.

For these professors the education profession provides opportunities for continued growth and development. Abeyta believes every moment offers a teaching/learning opportunity. "The capacity to learn is endless." Buser strives to "make the material and the discussion relevant to the student, make it matter." And, being an educational psychologist, Alvarez relates what is known about effective teaching and learning to the classroom.

All three women relate to the students in a very personal way. Abeyta inspires students to surpass their preset limitations and "help them discover the power and confidence that comes with education." Coming from humble beginnings, she understands what these students are going through, and as such, is better prepared to help them. "Teaching is what I do. It comes naturally."

Buser wants her students think critically about the topic at hand, about life in general, and "about the possibilities." Alvarez speaks fondly of her K-12 teachers and her undergraduate and graduate professors. She said: "I love teaching because I loved being a student." She hopes to create life-long learners.

Through their courses, the professors teach more than just the subject. Abeyta takes pride in her ability to relate with students from many different backgrounds and believes there is much more to her job than lecturing. She says "My job is to make them believe they can make their dreams come true."

Alvarez encourages students to have a scientific attitude. "Psychology is a science. The concepts and theory are important but probably most important is being able to think—be critical, skeptical, and able to express an informed opinion."

During Buser's favorite class, World Food Distribution & Agricultural Economics, she guides the students to understand what is produced, why and where. "It is great to watch them put it all together." Principles of Accounting is Abeyta's favorite course to teach. She enjoys the opportunity to reach students so early in their academic careers.

Alvarez has a similar experience when she teaches Research Methods, a difficult course where students are required to devise and conduct original research in only six weeks. She said students who complete the course have a real sense of accomplishment, and that it "demystifies the process of carrying out a psychological research project."

Abeyta, Alvarez, and Buser said knowing their students took the time to nominate them and having the student committee select them was fulfilling and an honor. "It is a true honor to receive accolades for something I truly love to do," Abeyta said.

Dr. Stuart Hilwig also received the award posthumously.