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UW’s Burant Honored for Excellence in Teaching

May 2, 2016
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Terry Burant, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies, is one of three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. (UW Photo)

When students and colleagues describe Terry Burant, they mention qualities such as “amazing teacher,” “respectful,” “encouraging” and “kind.” Her effective and engaging instruction, combined with a commitment to her students’ success, have earned her a top teaching award.

Burant, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies, is one of three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. This year’s other winners are Caskey Russell, an associate professor in the Department of English and head of the American Indian Studies Program; and Jennifer Turpen, an associate lecturer in the Department of Music. The awards are made possible by a fund established by Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.”

Burant taught in the Department of Educational Studies from 1998-2001. After pursuing other teaching opportunities, she returned to UW in 2011. She teaches courses in human development and learning, and prepares students for their first classroom teaching experiences.

“As our practicum instructor, she was faced with the daunting task of preparing us for our first teaching experience. Such a task is wrought with challenges. Yet, through the whole experience, I always knew what was expected of me and, more importantly, had the tools to succeed,” says student Caleb Huber.

Steve Bialostok, a professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, says Burant recognizes the need to develop “deep learning” as opposed to “surface learning.”

“She thinks about how these future classroom teachers must grapple with far more than instructional strategies and lesson planning, but rather ideas, concepts, as well as the implications and application of those ideas and concepts. In other words, her students must engage in ‘deep learning,’” Bialostok says.

Not only do students give her high marks for her classroom performance, but they praise her positive influence that extends beyond the classroom.

“Throughout my time at the university, Dr. Burant’s involvement in both my schooling and personal life has had a lasting impact on my development as a future educator and member of society. I hope to emulate the same expertise and genuine enthusiasm for both my content area and my students’ lives as Dr. Burant shows on a daily basis,” says Danielle Wood, an English secondary education major.

“She put everything in an understandable manner and held us to very high expectations,” a student wrote in a teaching evaluation. “She also had a wonderful sense of humor and conducted her classes with learning at the top of the scale. I honestly hope that I am half of the teacher that Dr. Burant is. She has become a personal role model of mine.”

In addition to her teaching duties, she provides leadership for teaching-related initiatives. She chaired the Ellbogen Symposium on Teaching and Learning Committee (2012-13) and served as the faculty adviser for UW’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, a student organization open to education majors.

Burant received her B.S. degree in natural resource management (1981) from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; her M.E.-P.D. in secondary science education (1986) from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; and her Ed.S. degree in language, reading and learning disabilities (1995), and her Ph.D. in teaching and teacher education (1998), both from the University of Arizona.

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