The Distinguished Teaching Award and Excellence in Teaching Award are among the highest teaching recognition at the University of Washington. The Center for Teaching and Learning joins the rest of UW in congratulating the following individuals for their stellar, resourceful, and learned work with students. We are honored to have such wonderful instructors among us.
This year’s Awards of Excellence recipients will be honored from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on June 9 at the Meany Hall for Performing Arts. The UW community and the general public are invited to attend.
Distinguished Teaching Award recipients
Samuel Jaffee (he/him)
Associate Teaching Professor, Spanish & Portuguese Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
Samuel has developed a design-focused Spanish writing program, many inquiry-based seminars in Latin American literature and cultures, a study abroad program in Spain and Ecuador, and a practicum in community-based learning in Seattle. As a technology teaching fellow, Samuel developed a course on Andean culture in which students produced their own digital work. One student noted, “Professor Jaffee was so creative that he even led activities that would not seem possible in an online format, like skits, complete with the use of props.” In his volunteer work, Samuel helps native speakers of Spanish and other languages apply to and prepare for college.
Ines Jurcevic (she/her)
Assistant Professor, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance
Ines teaches at the intersection of social psychology and public management through her courses on Decision-Making, Behavior, and Policy Design; Leadership Ethics in the Public Interest; and Managing Organizational Performance. Ines ensures her classes are welcoming and inclusive of diverse learning styles and perspectives. As one of her students said, “The mix of activities from guest speakers, small group activities, large group discussions, role play, and lectures made the class dynamic and interesting.” In 2021, Ines led the development of a new set of Evans School community commitments, which guide interactions at the school and promote the values of being a more equitable and antiracist organization. Ines also runs a lab where she mentors students and collaborates with other researchers to examine the dynamics of managing diversity from both the institutional and individual perspectives.
Adam Leaché (he/him)
Professor, Biology, College of Arts & Sciences; Curator, Burke Museum
By introducing real-world problem-solving elements in his courses, Adam aims to demystify the process of scientific discovery and help students from all backgrounds see themselves as scientists. His evidence-based active learning techniques increase student engagement and reduce achievement gaps. At the Burke, Adam played a key role in creating herpetology exhibits that teach students of all levels and ages about local species and the importance of the diversity of species. A colleague noted, “Besides being one of the most brilliant scientists in his field, a professor, a curator of the Burke Museum, a writer, a journal editor, and executive vice president of the Society of Systematic Biologists, Adam makes time to support every student and colleague.”
Mikelle Nuwer (she/her)
Associate Teaching Professor, School of Oceanography, College of the Environment
Mikelle has a deep love for her teaching subject — and it shows. Each year, she introduces more than 600 students to marine science, including Pacific Northwest geologic history, the physics and chemistry of coastal waters, and marine food webs and ecology. Her students say that she challenges them while creating a space where questions are welcome, support is available, science is impactful and students can see ways to make a difference. Mikelle developed an evidence-based teaching course for oceanography teaching assistants, coalescing a community of dedicated graduate students with this effort. She chairs her school’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, and with her graduate students, she has dug deep into inclusive pedagogy that incorporates English learning access, diverse representation in course materials and universal design.
Excellence in Teaching Award recipients
Marcus J. Johnson (he/him)
Doctoral Candidate, Communication, College of Arts & Sciences
Marcus has been a lead teaching assistant for a 400-person lecture course, the lecturer-of-record for a series on communication and difference, and an instructor who developed his own course and syllabus. At both the Seattle and Bothell campuses, Marcus creates an interactive, engaging atmosphere, using research-based teaching techniques to demonstrate how the content applies to real life. Marcus also infuses activism into scholarship — and scholarship into activism — to establish the classroom as a liberatory space for all students, and for Black and brown students in particular. As one of only four Black male graduate students in the department’s half-century history, and without any Black male professors, “Marcus is the only Black male communication instructor our students ever experienced,” wrote a faculty member. “And he has set the bar high.”
Kristin Privitera-Johnson (she/her)
Doctoral Candidate, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, College of the Environment
In the college, Kristin is respected as equal parts “killer programmer” and “passionate instructor.” She teaches introduction to R programming and advanced R programming courses for natural scientists — and recently developed the course Dark Side of Hot Topics: The Settler-Colonial and White Supremacist History of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, which colleagues describe as “transformative.” Her deliberate, structured curriculum and course design have created a truly inclusive space where students are free to try, fail and try again. “She is genuine and honest,” a colleague wrote, “and always willing to share her own learning challenges and how she overcame them. Her approach is highly effective and is helping pave the way for our faculty to develop their own adaptive and self-reflective approaches to teaching.”