A Florida State University speech instructor whose students describe him in such glowing terms as "inspiring," "passionate" and "caring" has been selected to receive the university’s top teaching honor.
Mark T. Zeigler, an associate in the Department of Communication and an adjunct instructor in the Center for Leadership and Civic Education, was named the recipient of the 2008-2009 Distinguished Teacher Award during the university’s Faculty Awards Program, held Thursday, April 9. He will receive a $7,500 stipend along with the award.
"I am honored and humbled by this recognition," Zeigler said. "When I look at those honored previously, I find that they are my teaching heroes. James Smith, David Kirby, Ken Goldsby, Jim Jones … It’s hard to believe I’m in their company."
Nominations for the Distinguished Teacher Award are submitted by students to honor faculty members who have made a great impact on them. Those nominations then are reviewed by a faculty committee, which makes the final selection.
"I owe this award to the students of Florida State University who have given so much of themselves in the classroom," Zeigler said. "There are no finer students than those at Florida State. I am also extremely grateful to my colleagues in the Department of Communication. I can’t imagine a more supportive group of colleagues with whom to work."
His former students’ fondness and respect for Zeigler is evident in many of the comments on their nomination forms.
"I’ve never had a teacher so passionate about what he does, and it makes me want to … be passionate about whatever it is I want to do," one student wrote. Another described Zeigler as "probably the most inspiring, helpful and enthusiastic professor I’ve had at FSU. He was always there when I needed help in class, and he genuinely cares about his students."
John Mayo, who recently stepped down as dean of the College of Communication, noted that "throughout his career at Florida State, Mark’s teaching has received exemplary ratings from students and faculty colleagues alike. He is an innovative instructor who challenges and inspires students, both in and outside the classroom. No matter the size of his classes, be they large lectures or small discussion sections, he somehow manages to establish rapport with virtually every student."
A member of the Florida State faculty since 1993, Zeigler has worn a number of hats at the university. He served as assistant dean for student affairs in the College of Communication from 1993 to 1999; was summer director of Florida State’s London Program in 2004 and 2005; and has taught a variety of courses, including "Fundamentals of Speech," "Rhetoric and Human Affairs," "Interviewing" and "Contemporary Human Communication," full time since 1999. He also has served as a member of the university’s Honors Program faculty and has been active in the Center for Leadership and Civic Education, which helps train students for responsible citizenship and effective leadership.
Of all those responsibilities, "the accomplishment of which I am most proud is the fact that I am on the faculty at Florida State," Zeigler said. "As a child, I dreamed of being associated with this institution. To think that I make contributions here and am recognized is hard to believe."
Anne Rowe, the university’s dean of the Faculties, described Zeigler as "beloved by students across Florida State’s campus, many of whom he instructed in his public speaking course. He is also a popular speaker for student events and has been active in the London Study Center program for many years. We congratulate him today on this well-deserved recognition."
Other outstanding FSU faculty members also were recognized in the following categories during the Faculty Awards Program:
Distinguished University Scholars
This is the second year for this award, which is designed to recognize outstanding performance by Florida State University employees who are non-tenured or non-tenure-seeking, have longstanding track records of research and/or creative activity at the university, and occupy more senior levels in their respective positions. Examples of such positions include the titles of curator, staff physicist, scholar/scientist or research associate. This year’s recipient will receive a one-time award of $10,000 and a framed certificate. The Distinguished University Scholar Award is presented to:
- Anthony Frawley, Physics
Developing Scholar Awards
Developing Scholars are mid-career associate professors who have been singled out by their peers for recognition. Each receives a $10,000 award to be used in their research program, following specific guidelines, along with a framed certificate. The Developing Scholars for 2008-2009 are:
- Frederick "Fritz" Davis, History
- Robin Goodman, English
- Mark Horner, Geography
- Jon Maner, Psychology
- Jill Pable, Interior Design
- Louis St. Laurent, Oceanography
Distinguished Research Professor Awards
The title of Distinguished Research Professor is the third highest faculty award at The Florida State University, following the Robert O. Lawton award and the Daisy Parker Flory award. A select panel of current Distinguished Research Professors vets the nominations, submitted by faculty peers, for presentation to the university president. Each of this year’s recipients will receive a one-time award of $10,000, along with a framed certificate. The Distinguished Research Professors this year are:
- Suzanne Johnson, Medical Humanities and Social Sciences
- Harrison Prosper, Physics
- R. Jay Turner, Sociology
Graduate Faculty Mentor Awards
The Graduate Faculty Mentor Award honors faculty mentors whose dedication to graduate students and mentoring have made a significant contribution to the quality of life and professional development of graduate students. The award comes with a $3,000 award. The honorees this year are:
- Nancy de Grummond, Classics
- William Hillison, Accounting
- Frank Kowalsky, Music
- Richard Liang, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Daniel McGee, Statistics
Undergraduate Advising Awards
Recipients of the University Undergraduate Advising Award have been nominated by students who have been beneficiaries of their services. These individuals dedicate their time to ensuring that students receive the best possible advice related to their courses and their career choices. The recipient also receives a $2,000 award. This year’s honorees are:
- Kimberly Amos-Tata, Nursing
- Jeff Badger, Biological Science
- Robert Lovins, Military Science
Honors Thesis Mentor Awards
The Honors Thesis Mentor Award was established to recognize and honor faculty members whose direction and advisement of honors thesis research or creative activity has significantly contributed to the enhancement and quality of education of undergraduate students at The Florida State University. Faculty are nominated by students in the Honors in the Major program for this award. The award comes with a $2,000 stipend. This year’s honorees are:
- Philip Steinberg, Geography
- Carla Wood Jackson, Communication Disorders
Undergraduate Teaching Awards
The Undergraduate Teaching Award recognizes faculty for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Recipients must be outstanding in the many aspects of teaching that contribute to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. This year’s honorees are:
- Natalya Baldyga, Theatre
- Allen Bathke, Accounting
- Randy Blass, Management
- Terence Coonan, Center for the Advancement of Human Rights
- Angela Davis, Teacher Education
- Jonathan Grant, History
- James Jones, History
- Kelley Kline, Psychology, Panama City Campus
- Amy Koehlinger, Religion
- Marie Krafft, Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Victoria Meyer, Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts
- Tom Miller, Biological Science
- Mark Pietralunga, Modern Languages and Linguistics
- Cristina Rios, Teacher Education, Panama City Campus
- David Rowell, Theatre
- Shridhar Sathe, Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences
- Annette Schwabe, Sociology
- Patricia Spears, Biological Science
- Kathryn Tillman, Sociology
Graduate Teaching Awards
The Graduate Teaching Award recognizes faculty for excellence in graduate teaching. Recipients must be outstanding in the many aspects of teaching that contribute to successful teaching and learning. This is a student-oriented award with nominations submitted by students and alumni. Each recipient also receives a $2,000 award. This year’s honorees are:
- Lynn Panton, Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences
- John Reynolds, Sociology
- Eugene Ryerson, Medicine
- Molly Wasko, Management Information Systems
- Kaifeng Yang, Public Administration