Shibley, Wells receive Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

March 19, 2009

Ivan A. Shibley, associate professor of chemistry and science degree coordinator at Penn State Berks, and David M. Wells, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State New Kensington, are the recipients of the 2009 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.

Shibley, who joined the Penn State Berks faculty in 1996, has received a number of teaching and advising awards, including two other University-wide awards, the 2004 Excellence in Advising Award and the 2002 Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching.

According to one nominator, Professor Shibley is “a dynamic individual who possesses the unique gift of being able to make complex subjects more easily understood by students and is highly motivated to find techniques and methods to improve student learning. In addition, he is an outstanding mentor to new faculty and helps to develop other outstanding teachers.”

“Not only do I appreciate the knowledge he has helped me to establish,” added a recent graduate, “but I appreciate the contagious excitement for the material even more now. His encouragement and guidance have been a key part of my success so far and his joy at my successes has been very motivational.”

Wells, who has more than 29 years of outstanding teaching at Penn State New Kensington, is described by one nominator as “a model of a college mathematics teacher. He is a scholar whose scholarship enhances his teaching, and he is a teacher who derives pleasure and satisfaction from teaching and from mathematics.”

His development of unusual problems with surprising solutions for use in his classes has led to his involvement with high school mathematics contests, chairing a committee responsible for creation of a national contest taken by more than 100,000 students annually. Many professional mathematicians cite the contests as the source of their initial interest in mathematics.

In this role, another nominator wrote, Professor Wells “has indirectly provided mathematical mentoring for untold numbers of students and teachers through his elegant and beautiful problems. I can tell that this ability to teach through problem solving has been developed over years of experience in the classroom working with students of all types.”

Last Updated March 19, 2009