Blasko, Johnson receive Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

University Park, Pa. -- Dawn G. Blasko, associate professor of psychology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and Timothy P. Johnson, associate professor of landscape architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture, are recipients of the 2011 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.

A member of the Penn State Behrend faculty since 1993, Blasko has taught a wide range of courses in psychology and developed the first undergraduate general education course in cross-cultural psychology at Penn State. In this service-learning class, students work with immigrants or refugees to the United States, tutor international students or develop lessons for at-risk students in inner-city schools.

In her classes, one nominator wrote, she views her role as a guide in a student's search for new understanding, has high expectations for herself and her students, and emphasizes active learning by engaging students in demonstrations related to the course content.

Blasko also is recognized for her leadership roles in supporting diversity and in promoting educational equity and public service at Penn State Behrend. Recipient of several teaching, mentoring and service awards, she is a former chair (2006-07) of Penn State's University Faculty Senate.

Since joining the landscape architecture faculty in 1983, Johnson has led the effort to integrate the use of digital technology into the undergraduate curriculum. As a result, the department has a national reputation as a leader in technology integration.

Johnson strives to maintain a balance between "high tech" and "high touch" by integrating pen- and touch-based computing in his classes. A "multi-touch surface" computer, which he researched, designed and constructed, is now being used in one of the department's upper-level design studios to allow students to explore design ideas and present their work in a more interactive way.

"Professor Johnson's technological skills are captivating and inspiring," a former student wrote, "and his willingness and ability to share his skills is a true gift and resource. His ability to simplify and demonstrate rather complex technology has led to the successful adaptation and use of numerous computer-design programs by hundreds of students."

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Last Updated March 16, 2011