Recipient of the Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching for 2015
Jeanette Martin has received the WSU 2015 Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching. This award is given to recognize outstanding teaching by faculty in Washington State University’s UCORE program, and 2015 marks the third year the university has given the award. The award honors Dick Law who served as director of General Education from 1990 until his retirement in 2009. The Law award was created to value the important role played by faculty across the university in helping students attain WSU’s undergraduate learning goals, especially outside their major area of study. A faculty member receiving this award is an “educator who inspires curiosity and understanding of an area of study and encourages development of the lifelong learning skills of integrating and synthesizing concepts to solve real problems.”
Having a love of math and a passion for teaching has made senior math instructor Jeanette Martin an easy choice for the award. Jeanette finds ways to make math approachable, comfortable, and applicable to each student's day-to-day life. Jeanette emphatically says, "I love sharing my enthusiasm for math with students through real-world examples that they can connect to, and the best part of teaching is always the moment when a students says, "Oh! Now I understand!"
Serving as the course coordinator for Math 105 (formerly Math 210) for over ten years she has taught one or more sections of the course every semester. In addition, she has successfully taught Math 106 (College Algebra), Math 151 (Calculus for Middle School Teachers), Math 171 (Calculus I), Math 172 (Calculus II), Math 220 (Linear Algebra), Math 251 (Fundamentals of Elementary Mathematics I), Math 252 (Fundamentals of Elementary Mathematics II), and Math 273 (Calculus III).
Embracing and integrating technology, she incorporates a student engagement system called Learning Catalytics into her calculus sequence and Math 105 courses to connect with her students. The system allows students to answer multiple-choice questions in a way similar to clickers, and lets them draw graphs, enter equations, and mathematical expressions that give her immediate, real-time feedback in the classroom. It has become a powerful way for her to gauge student understanding as she covers material, and allows her to adapt her instruction to help them. She writes examples with a stylus onto an iPad and projects it onto her classroom screen with ease as she walks around the classroom. She casually switches between the iPad, Learning Catalytics, and web pages or animations to illustrate what she is teaching. Her Math 105 distance learning course uses discussion boards to encourage student interaction with peers and herself, and she plans to add this to her campus courses this fall to foster a sense of community and give students another out-of-class resource.
In return, her students love her and many walk away loving math. As one student has said, "I can not say enough good things about Jeanette Martin. She is a warm, bright individual who made lecture interesting with real-life examples and plenty of amusing jokes. I struggle so terribly at math, and she made everything understandable. Give her 10 promotions!"
One of Jeanette's nominators summed up her admirable qualities by saying, "For all audiences she creates an exciting, supportive learning environment in which students learn to take risks, are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, and work to reach the high standards she sets for them. Jeanette has a delightful sense of humor that is invaluable in keeping students alert and at ease at the same time. She has the remarkable talent of being able to challenge her students while also helping them experience the enjoyment she has in the subject."