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Excellence and Expertise

Megan Gross receives Knox Distinguished Teaching Award

The award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate creative, innovative and engaging teaching methods at the undergraduate level.

Excellence and Expertise

Megan Gross receives Knox Distinguished Teaching Award

megan grossMegan Gross, associate clinical lecturer of speech pathology and audiology, is the recipient of Miami University’s 2021 E. Phillip Knox Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate creative, innovative and engaging teaching methods at the undergraduate level.  

Gross serves as the program coordinator for Miami’s American Sign Language (ASL) courses. She teaches ASL courses, Global Perspectives on Deaf Culture and ASL service-learning courses, among others, and trains and supervises graduate teaching assistants.

Gross "clearly has a passion for Miami students, the hard of hearing and Deaf community, and for making Miami courses available to those who cannot come to our campuses," a faculty nominator said. She seeks community partnerships and engagement opportunities that bridge the gap between the Deaf community and her students.

Another nominator, a former student who is currently a speech pathologist, wrote that Gross "introduced me to a language and culture that has become a fundamental part of who I am. To learn ASL, one must be immersed in Deaf culture. At a university in a rural area like Miami, this immersion proved difficult at times.”

However, Gross provided an abundance of opportunities to her students to be around Deaf individuals and “gives her students the opportunity to learn about Deaf community from Deaf individuals themselves,” the student nominator said.

Experiential learning and inclusivity

Gross designed the ASL curriculum to challenge students to develop a conversational fluency upon completion of the four-semester language sequence. Each language course requires students to attend an event in the Deaf community. Events such as Deaf Day at the Cincinnati Zoo, Deaf Day at the Aquarium, Reds games, or silent coffee chats expose students to native-signers in informal settings.

The opportunities for experiential learning built into the classes are truly one of the most impactful assignments for students, Gross said.

Gross teaches courses in American Deaf Culture and Deaf Cultures from around the world. The course “exposes students to a culture of people that lives in our society, that many of them never knew existed," Gross said. “One of my favorite discussion topics at the end of this course centers around how students can take the knowledge and understanding gained during this course and apply it to their majors and future careers.”

This introduction allows students to think about diversity in a new way, a former student said. “Personally, gaining and understanding an appreciation for Deaf culture has allowed me to think critically about the ways that I, as a speech language pathologist, can be more inclusive of the Deaf community,” she said.

Gross led a service-learning course focused on ASL and the Deaf Community. This course has allowed students the opportunity to interact with Deaf and hard of hearing individuals on a more personal level. Students have completed placements at St. Rita’s School for the Deaf, the Oxford Senior Center, local organizations and school districts.

Students developed a basic ASL course for members of the Oxford Senior Center, many of whom have some degree of hearing loss, Gross said. “The connection the students formed with the members was inspiring to watch. It also gave students a unique perspective on potential ASL language users.”

Other students had the opportunity to collaborate with the department of kinesiology, nutrition and health to create a video series of basic Gambian Sign Language for students preparing for a study abroad trip to The Gambia.

Teaching online "invaluable for students' continued success"

Gross, who began her career at Miami’s Regionals Campuses in 2013, has also created and taught online courses. “Her contributions to alternative learning modes for both the Miami Oxford and Regional Campuses has been invaluable for students’ continued success,” Janet Hurn, senior director of the Miami Regionals E-Campus office, said.

Gross has created courses that some have disputed are possible in an online environment, Hurn said. “American Sign Language is an active language that can only be demonstrated via video or in person. Megan has designed these courses using authentic assessments that necessitate students show exactly what they are able to do and that the learning outcomes are indeed being met.”

Gross is now one of our go-to experts in authentic assessment and is always willing to share her experiences with new online faculty, Hurn said

As faculty advisor for the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club, she helps to bring nationally recognized Deaf talent to campus each semester to share their experiences with students. The group has hosted comedians, magicians, advocates, educators and musicians. “Being able to provide students access to these incredible Deaf individuals is an important part of the curriculum I have developed,” Gross said. “It is through these experiences that students truly gain an appreciation for this cultural and linguistic minority within our society.”

Her work and innovative teaching strategies do much to move forward diversity, equity and inclusivity here at Miami, according to a nominator. Gross said her hope "for all of my students is that they leave my classes with a greater cultural understanding and acceptance, a confidence to communicate with people in languages other than their own, and that also endeavor to create accessible and inclusive interactions with all people they encounter.”

A nationally certified interpreter, Gross has worked in the education, medical, legal and video relay service industries. She received her master’s degree from Walden University in 2014.

Knox Award

Established by Miami alumnus E. Phillips Knox ('68), the award is presented to faculty members whose achievements unequivocally merit recognition for excellence in teaching along dimensions such as learning through inquiry and experimentation; awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity; or active participation in experiential learning and community partnerships.  

Award winners receive a professional expense allocation of $3,000.

(Note: Story thumbnail image shows Megan Gross and the architect's rendering of the new Clinical Health Science and Wellness facility that will house Miami's clinics, the department of speech pathology and audiology and other programs in 2023. Read more about building here.