Bower, Casteel receive Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish and comparative literature and culture at Penn State Beaver, and Mark Casteel, associate professor of psychology at Penn State York, are recipients of the 2012 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The award recognizes excellence in teaching and student support among tenured faculty who have been employed full time for at least five years with undergraduate teaching as a major portion of their duties. Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as president of Penn State from 1950 to 1956.

Since joining the Penn State Beaver faculty in 2000, Bower has immersed her students in the Spanish language, insisting that even those taking their first Spanish class converse in the language. “The beauty of Dr. Bower’s classroom is that she opened the world of Spanish to us through conversation, not mere lists of vocabulary that had to be memorized,” one student said.

Bower has received a Bayer Corporation Award for Excellence in Teaching at Penn State Beaver. She is the campus Honors Program coordinator and chairs the Penn State Beaver Retention Task Force and its subcommittee on pedagogy.

“While most faculty touch the imaginations of many students each semester,” one nominator said, “Dr. Bower’s reach extends more broadly. In her classes, I observed students beginning to wonder, asking their own questions and framing reasoned reflections.”

Casteel came to Penn State York in 1988 as an assistant professor of psychology. “My primary aim is for my students to take ownership of their education,” he said. “For this reason, much of my teaching takes the form of Socratic questioning. I have found the Socratic method to be particularly beneficial because it promotes student engagement with the course material by fostering critical thinking and reflection.”

Every fall, he hosts a research fair with his Introduction to Cognitive Psychology students. “Dr. Casteel has great rapport with students, who feel free to express their ideas and to admit where they are confused,” one nominator said after observing this class. “Dr. Casteel balances explanation with demonstration and application, offering students a variety of methods for comprehending a difficult area of study.”

Casteel has twice received the James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching at Penn State York.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 12, 2012