Faculty Members Recognized for Teaching Excellence

October 06, 2011

Five faculty members from the University of Mount Union are recipients of the Excellence in Education Award sponsored by Ohio Magazine.
Dr. Beth Canfield-Simbro, Dr. Jamie Capuzza, Professor Sandra Ekstrand, Dr. Ronald Mendel Dr. Peter Schneller, and will be formally recognized for their achievements and dedication to teaching in Ohio Magazine’s special section “Excellence in Education” in the magazine’s December issue. All five faculty members also have been the recipients of Mount Union’s Great Teacher Award.
“To have five faculty members from Mount Union recognized for their excellence in teaching is truly an exceptional representation of the quality of our faculty,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union. “Our professors are known for building strong relationships with students and placing great value on teaching, and this award is affirmation of what we have long known – our faculty are indeed excellent educators.” 
Dr. Beth Canfield-Simbro, associate professor of human performance and sport business and co-director of Mount Union’s Honors Program, is a dedicated and active professor both on and off campus. She has been instrumental in the success of Mount Union’s Honors Program and the development of the public health major. Canfield-Simbro is an exceptional advocate for service-learning initiatives, supporting projects such as boys and girls fitness programs at the YMCA, Health and Wellness programming at local preschools and the National Neighborhood Day picnic.
Canfield-Simbro earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Wright State University in 1996. She also earned a master’s degree in public health with concentrations in health behavior and health promotion and a doctorate degree in public health, both from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Jamie Capuzza, professor of communication and director of Mount Union’s Gender Studies Program, is committed to bringing cultural awareness into the classroom. She has taught communication and gender studies courses abroad in China, Italy, Germany and Spain, and she completed a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship that explored the changing roles of women in India. Within the classroom, Capuzza tries to provide an international perspective on the topic at hand, and tries to illustrate the importance of valuing human diversity on a regular basis. Capuzza, who will teach in Bangalore, India in the summer of 2012, has served as director of the Honors Program and chair of the Department of Communication.
Capuzza, a 1985 graduate of Mount Union, earned a bachelor’s degree in English and communication. She also earned both master and doctorate degrees in rhetorical theory and criticism from The Ohio State University.
Professor Sandra Ekstrand, associate professor of economics, accounting and business administration, emphasizes the importance of gaining experience through internships, shadowing and service-learning projects. Most of her professional experience is in business, education and healthcare environments, which is why her approach to teaching is to incorporate these experiences and industry knowledge into the curriculum. She continues to consult with businesses to ensure she’s up to date in the field and integrates real life examples in her classes. She truly gives meaning to experiential learning. Ekstrand has also been instrumental in the development of the human resource management major.
Ekstrand earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from Malone University and a Master of Science degree in organizational development and analysis from Case Western Reserve University. She also earned certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and other certifications through the Center for Creative Leadership.
Dr. Ronald Mendel, associate professor of human performance and sport business and director of Mount Union’s Exercise Science Program, is whole-heartedly committed to student research at the undergraduate level. A member of the Mount Union faculty since 2004, he serves as advisor of the Exercise Science Club and serves on the Human Subjects and Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research (SCHOLAR) Day committees. His education, experience and support continues to encourage and inspire students to engage in academic research to find new knowledge.
Mendel earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education, both from Walsh University. He also earned a doctorate degree in exercise physiology from Kent State University.
Dr. Peter Schneller, professor of education, truly sees the importance of community service and diversity. For nine years, he has taken middle childhood education students to Charleston, SC for service-learning work trips. In addition, he provides other valuable field experiences for students with groups such as Juvenile Attention Center, Alliance Navigators After-School Program and Tomorrow Center. He also created the comparative education course to teach education majors how to deal with diversity issues. Schneller also has spent four months teaching at the Tibetan Childrens’ Villages School Teacher Training Center in Dharamsala, India. Schneller recently spent his sabbatical leave in India, Singapore, Japan and South Africa researching the global mindset of college-aged students.
Schneller earned a Bachelor of arts degree in English/speech from Wittenberg University, a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Kent State University, a Master of Science degree in education from the University of Akron and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in teacher education from the University of Idaho.
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