University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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Pierson Wins New Faculty Award for
Teaching Adult Returning Students

 MAILED:  April 28, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - A member of the physics faculty is the 2003 recipient of a new award, recognizing an outstanding University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty member who best exemplifies the art and science of teaching adult returning students.

Dr. Kim Pierson, associate professor of physics, received the first-ever OWL Award for helping "older, wiser learners" reach their academic potential at the all-University Honors Banquet April 26.

"Our purpose is to give some much deserved recognition to faculty who genuinely value 'older, wiser learners' in their classrooms, and who make appropriate use of the knowledge base and life experiences that nontraditional students bring to the classroom, without making them an object lesson or otherwise making them feel like odd ducks among largely traditional-age college students," said Rita Webb, adult opportunity adviser.

Students credit Pierson for coming up with learning strategies to help them understand the concepts of physics, making himself available at times that worked for their schedules and treating them with respect.

"Beyond teaching me physics, Dr. Pierson helped me learn a great deal about myself," wrote one of his students. "He gave me a lot of positive encouragement at times when I was feeling as though I couldn't possibly grasp the concepts of physics."

Pierson began teaching at UW-Eau Claire in 1992. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Delaware and was a postdoctoral associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., before coming to UW-Eau Claire. Along with teaching, his research interests are classed under the broad topic of surface science and involve fundamental research and the development of applied technologies. All the projects involve undergraduate student collaborators.

Pierson was among nine faculty members nominated by nontraditional students for the award. Other nominees included Mary Ellen Alea, English; Gwen Applebaugh, mathematics; Cynthia Gray-Mash, foundations of education; Carolyn Hopp, mathematics; Vanissa Murphy, music; Geoffrey Peterson, political science; Kristine Retherford, communication disorders; and Darwin Wittrock, biology.

The Nontraditional Student Advisory Committee reviewed the nominations and selected the award winner. Pierson received a plaque at the Honors Banquet. The other nominees received a certificate of appreciation and will remain in the pool of Owl Award nominees for three years.

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JW/JB


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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
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Updated: April 28, 2003