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Augustine receives Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Janet Kiplinger Ciccone
March 21, 2019

Surprise registered on Tami Augustine’s face as a large procession trooped into her classroom in Arps Hall.

Her surprise turned to excitement as she recognized Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron leading the crowd and realized what this might mean.

The provost announced that Augustine won Ohio State’s 2019 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, the university’s highest teaching honor.

“There are only 10 of these awards across the entire university in a given year, so this is a big deal,“ McPheron said. “It recognizes superior teaching, and we learn about it because of folks like you; colleagues, students, alumni provide these nominations.”

In total, three faculty from the College of Education and Human Ecology won the prestigious university award. Jackie Blount, professor of philosophy and history of education, and Claire Kamp Dush, associate professor of human development and family science are the other recipients.

A clinical associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Augustine’s expertise is social studies and middle childhood education. She typically teaches three courses per semester and one in the summer.

“She teaches us to teach with heart by modeling it herself,” said Claire Cressman, a middle childhood education major. “Her passion radiates through every decision she makes in the classroom; each move is intentional to expand our thinking.”

“Most importantly, by the end of the semester, she makes our class no longer feel like a group of strangers, but more like a family. Her effort toward making her students become their best for their students will impact thousands of lives in the future.”

Bruce McPherson and Tami Augustine
Provost Bruce McPherson announces to Tami Augustine's class that she won the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Augustine also oversees all the department’s licensure programs in early childhood, middle childhood and secondary education, and is directly responsible for the program managers of each licensure area.

The college’s Dean Don Pope-Davis recently appointed Augustine as interim director of Ohio State’s Office of Accreditation, Placement, and Licensure for the Columbus campus, which coordinates accreditation for all the university’s teacher licensure programs.

“Clearly Dr. Augustine has made a difference in the lives of students and our community,” Pope-Davis said. “I look forward to her continued engagement with students as she has demonstrated the kind of commitment that we all aspire to.”

Student evaluation scores revealed

For the past three years, students rated Augustine with a perfect score in her class evaluations, said Christian Faltis, Teaching and Learning chair.

“This is not an easy feat,” he said. “This is, I believe, due to Tami’s constant self-reflection and keen preparation for all of her teaching assignments. Each year, she reflects on her own teaching and how she can continue to improve. She is a leader in the field of teaching education, and she leads by example.”

Alumnus Daniel P. Redman, a social studies teacher at Hilliard Bradley High School in Hilliard, Ohio, agrees.

“She understands student-centered learning, and the power of truly reaching her students as people, in a way that few other educators I've encountered ever have,” he said. ”Dr. Augustine's class helped me to see both my strengths and my limitations, and provided an environment where I could wrestle meaningfully with why I wanted to be involved in education in the first place, and what things about me as a person needed to change to be the best educator I could be."

More students weighed in about Augustine via an anonymous survey invited by The Ohio State University Alumni Association, which awards the honor:

“Dr. Augustine is legitimately the best instructor I have ever had. She challenges her students but is also there for them at all times.… (She) is the only instructor that I still ask for advice and have kept in contact with since my time in her classroom. I could think of no one more deserving of this award.”

“Dr. Augustine has challenged my thinking in immensely positive ways and held my work to high standards that I am proud to have achieved.”

“Due to her diligence, heart, and intensity, she not only is changing each of her student's lives but consequently all of the students we have as well.

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