Jamie Mayer, associate professor of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, has earned the 2020 NIU Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for her contributions in and out of the classroom.
Students repeatedly report that Mayer is truly gifted in sharing information with others, praising her for using a variety of teaching techniques. From case studies to visual representations, Mayer has a unique ability to meet students where they are in order to help them grasp challenging topics.
Sherrill Morris, chair, School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, shared the sentiment.
“Dr. Mayer embodies excellence in education,” Morris said. “I am in awe when watching her present. She quickly identifies the needs of her audience and adjusts the level of difficulty for the provided content.”
Mayer, who has a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree from Indiana University, is also lauded for her ability to interweave research and service projects into coursework to enhance her students’ learning experience.
“She supervises multiple honors capstone and independent study projects each year,” Morris said. “Her students are eager to volunteer to work with her, and the opportunities she develops are life changing for the students and the community participants.”
Mayer’s service projects are rooted in research, allowing students to more easily make connections between academic coursework and real-life scenarios.
“Engaged learning is a fantastic way to get students to integrate their own experiences with course material,” Mayer said. “In most cases, the service aspect of the experience can boost students’ self-efficacy and allow them to see how they can fit into the bigger picture as part of a larger community outside of the classroom.”
Mayer said the result is a win-win for Huskies and the surrounding community.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase our amazing student talents and it allows the community to see new ways in which students can interact with community members,” Mayer said.
Since the learning environment has changed due to the pandemic, Mayer has worked diligently to change with it by to keep engaged with the community through virtual events and service projects.
“I’m working on recruiting students to help start up a virtual choir for individuals with dementia so that we can still reach some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community right now,” Mayer said. “We can still tie in classwork to research and service, and I am finding some things that we can do virtually that I hadn’t realized were possible.”
Mayer is passionate about teaching Huskies and said it’s an honor to be recognized as an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award winner.
“My favorite thing about college students is their enthusiasm,” Mayer said. “They know why they’re here, they know where they want to go, and they’re excited to soak up what they can to reach those goals.”
Alicia Finch and Douglas Wallace from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were also named as 2020 NIU Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award winners.