Congratulations to College of Western Idaho (CWI) Professor of Psychology, Heather Schoenherr, who was named the recipient of the 2023 Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award given by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association). The award recognizes teaching excellence for individuals currently teaching at two-year colleges and is widely considered the highest honor for members of the Society.
The selection criteria for the Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award broadly focus on instructional effectiveness and encompass three key areas: effective teaching, service, and scholarship of teaching and learning.
According to the award’s criteria, effective teaching requires the development of outstanding teaching methods, materials, and courses, as supported by innovative approaches, student evaluations, supervisor and colleague feedback, and prior teaching accolades. The service criterion encompasses local, regional, and national contributions aimed at fostering student interest in psychology and using psychological principles to improve society, such as mentoring, community outreach, and collaboration efforts. Finally, the scholarship of teaching and learning puts a focus on professional engagement in teaching-related publications, conferences, and activities, fostering student research, and furthering graduate-level training for enhanced instructional effectiveness.
“It is an honor to be a recipient of the Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award,” said Schoenherr. “Teaching is a privilege and a responsibility that I hold in high regard. I share this recognition with my incredible students, who inspire me daily, and with my colleagues who diligently dedicate themselves to this noble profession. As community college educators, we are uniquely positioned to facilitate the development of academic self-efficacy and identity in our students giving them the encouragement and tools to continue their education or transition to the workforce. Community colleges truly hold transformational power. I am deeply humbled to be among the outstanding educators who have received this award in the past.”
A founding faculty member at CWI, Schoenherr has educated students at both ends of their CWI journey for the last 15 years. This includes those on the verge of graduating in the Social Sciences Capstone course (SOC 290) and those embarking on their first semester at the College, enrolled in Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 101).
In addition to teaching, Schoenherr is also the advisor for the Psychology Club and Psi Beta Honor Society, which recently garnered recognition with the Chapter Excellence Award. Under Schoenherr's guidance, the CWI chapter's primary focus revolves around equipping students with invaluable research experience, bolstering their competitive edge when they transition to universities or enter the workforce.
The Society for the Teaching of Psychology promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology. The Society provides resources and services, access to a global collaborative community, and opportunities for professional development. It endeavors to promote equity and social justice for teachers and students of psychology with marginalized, racially minoritized, and intersecting identities. The Society also strives to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning; advocate for the needs of teachers of psychology; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the teaching and learning of psychology; foster partnerships across academic settings; and increase recognition of the value of the teaching profession.