LEXINGTON, Ky.—The outstanding teaching of Transylvania University computer science professor Kenny Moorman and history professor Melissa McEuen has been recognized with a Bingham Award for Excellence in Teaching. Moorman and McEuen were chosen by a committee of distinguished professors from some of the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges and universities. Selection is based on classroom visits, essays submitted by candidates and student evaluations.
"We place a high priority on teaching excellence at Transylvania, and that fact is underscored by our Bingham Awards for Excellence in Teaching," said Transylvania President Charles L. Shearer.
Recipients of Transylvania’s highest teaching honor receive annual salary supplements for five years that can be renewed for up to 20 years based on continued superior teaching.
Moorman, a 1991 Transylvania graduate, began teaching at Transylvania in 1997 after teaching at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a Ph.D. in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence. His research interests include computer modeling of the human auditory system and small scale swarm robotics.
He said his primary goal as a teacher is to support the liberal arts, which involves teaching students how to be critical thinkers through a multidisciplinary approach.
“Computer science has always benefited from problem-based learning that our field naturally supports,” he said. “The true benefit of projects comes from the failures encountered along the way to the eventual successes. I tell my students there are usually hundreds of right ways to finish a project — they need to find the set that works for them.”
McEuen came to Transylvania in 1995 after teaching at Georgetown College. She earned a Ph.D. in history from Louisiana State University in 1991, and her research interests include American Women in the 20th century and the American South. Her book, Seeing America: Women Photographers Between the Wars is a winner of the Emily Toth Award.
As a professor of U.S. history, she challenges her students to confront an American past “full of secrets, complications, gray areas and intricately woven patterns.”
“I want to help students see things from different vantage points, to seek a range of explanations for historical phenomena and, particularly, to tolerate ambiguity,” she said.
The Bingham Program for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1987 to attract, inspire and reward faculty members in their efforts to make the classroom an imaginative place of learning and discovery. The awards were initially endowed by the late Mary and Barry Bingham Sr. of Louisville, who gave $3 million to the University in 1987. The Binghams were owners of The Courier-Journal and Louisville Times newspapers, WHAS radio and WHAS-TV, and Standard Gravure printing.