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Martha Castañeda named Miami University's 2010 Outstanding Professor

03/24/2010

Martha Castañeda
Martha Castañeda, assistant professor of foreign language education, has been named Miami University’s Outstanding Professor for 2010. She was among 69 faculty members nominated by graduating seniors for the award, presented by Associated Student Government (ASG) and Campus Activities Council Monday, March 22. Five finalists also were named.

The five finalists are: Rose Marie Ward, assistant professor of kinesiology and health; Philip Russo, professor and director of the Center for Public Management; Quanyu Huang, visiting associate professor and director of the Confucius Institute; Jeanne Hey, professor of political science and international studies and interim dean of Miami University Middletown; and Teresa Wagner, visiting assistant professor of management.

“This year’s winner has engaged students outside the classroom in numerous ways, including leading a study abroad trip to Honduras this past year,” Matt Hoffman, ASG secretary for academic affairs, said.

A student nominator wrote, “She capitalizes on student strengths and talents, by encouraging her students to be active contributors to the course. She is dedicated to recognizing individual learners’ talents and interest and tailoring her instruction to complement them” and “I can honestly say she has been the most influential educator I have had in my 16 years of schooling.”

One example of student empowerment that Hoffman’s committee found particularly moving was that she consistently gives her time to assist and encourage students’ progress in their educational journey [and] future goals while balancing other aspects of life.

“I’ll never forget the podcast she created for my Foreign Language Methods class, in which she defined a word we had come up with in class to describe great educators: awesomeness,” wrote her nominator. “In her podcast she defined ‘awesomeness’ by individually recognizing each student. She referred to [each] student by name and then explained why they wanted to become an educator, what they were passionate about, and what they aspired to do in the future. “

The nominator adds that because of Castañeda, “I have become a ‘confident intellectual.’ I have transformed into a student aspiring to be a caring, competent and transformative educator.”

Castañeda’s academic interests include the use of technology in the language classroom and in the preparation of future teachers. She joined Miami’s department of teacher education in 2007 and serves as director of foreign language education. She also teaches Spanish in the department of Spanish and Portuguese. She received her masters in Spanish linguistics from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 1997 and her doctorate in second language acquisition and instructional technology from the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 2005.

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