MISSOULA – Tobin Shearer, a University of Montana history professor and director of the African-American Studies department, recently was named a 2019 Montana University System Teaching Scholar.
Shearer is one of 12 faculty members across Montana selected for the program’s inaugural class by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and Board of Regents. Those selected for this new honor develop high-impact teaching practices for student success and serve as exemplary models for others in higher education.
“Our talented and dedicated faculty are in many ways the lifeblood of the Montana University System,” said Dr. Brock Tessman, an OCHE deputy commissioner. “This is particularly true when it comes to providing a high-quality academic experience for our students. This program is one way our office can celebrate and support outstanding faculty who are committed to making student learning more innovative, exciting and meaningful.”
Shearer will receive a $1,500 award, as well as a $500 stipend to design and facilitate a faculty learning community at UM.
“It’s just a true honor to receive this award and be recognized for effective teaching practices,” Shearer said. “It is my students who really deserve the award. They make my teaching possible and a true joy.”
With this award Shearer plans to gather a small group of faculty who will support each other’s efforts to improve their general education classes.
Faculty groups established by the MUS Teaching Scholar Program will work together to learn about and develop practices focused on this year’s scholars theme, “High-Impact Practices for Student Success.” The theme builds on a larger MUS project regarding high-impact practices funded through the Lumina Foundation.
High-impact practices proven to positively affect student success include freshman seminars on financial literacy, campus resources, study habit improvement, service learning, undergraduate research, internships and senior-year “capstone” research projects.