At the heart of any college are the teachers and professors who provide our students with an education every single day. All our faculty members have been nationally recognized for their support and expertise, which has resulted in Dean College being ranked #2 in Best Undergraduate Teaching in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report in the Best Regional Colleges - North category. This year, the College also recognized three individual faculty members for their outstanding contributions to the College with Excellence in Teaching Awards: Dr. David Dennis, professor of History; Gregg Seibert, assistant professor of Media Studies; and Kelly Rys, assistant professor of Marketing.
“Teaching is an art, and one of the most important functions of the college,” said President Kenneth Elmore while presenting these awards at the 157th Commencement Exercises. “Each year, we recognize faculty, the practitioners of the art, with Excellence in Teaching Awards and prizes from the President's Fund for Excellence. Candidates for the award are chosen on the basis of their impassioned teaching, engagement with students both in and out of the classroom, for their scholarship and professional achievement that has brought the classroom alive with real-world applications for students.”
The award for a full-time faculty member was presented to both Dennis and Seibert, who have collaborated for several semesters on a joint interdisciplinary project that has History and Communications students working together to create documentary videos highlighting local history.
Dennis joined the full-time faculty in 2011. He serves as program coordinator for the Humanities and has spearheaded the Humanities in Action initiative, that focuses on applying “humanities methods in practice for a broader audience.” Dennis teaches courses in World History, Digital History, and History of Gender & Sexuality, among others. Students comment that he is “very knowledgeable in his field and that reflects onto his classes, which makes it exciting and engaging.” Dennis received a B.A. in German Language and Literature and Mathematics from Texas Tech University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from The Ohio State University.
Seibert joined Dean in 2015 as an adjunct and joined the full-time faculty in 2016. He serves as the program coordinator for the Communications and Sports Broadcasting programs. Seibert teaches courses in video production, coordinates all streaming for Dean TV and advises the Dean News Network student club. A practicing professional, he also runs his own successful video production business and shares his real-world expertise in the classroom. One student commented, “We not only were taught but we got a chance to experience and apply the skills we have learned.” Seibert received a B.S. in Business Administration from Plymouth State University and M.A. in Mass Communication from Emerson College.
The award for a part-time or adjunct instructor was presented to Rys, who joined Dean in 2017 as an adjunct and later became a part-time faculty member. She led a revision to the Marketing major, giving it renewed vibrance. She has been a key member of the Honors Program work team and recently worked to convene a Women in Business student club. Rys has received an innovation grant to incorporate an interactive digital tool in the Personal Finance course to enhance student learning and engagement. She brings her professional expertise to the classroom, where she teaches courses such as Principles of Marketing and Sales and Relationship Management. Her students share, “The techniques taught in class I have used in real life and have already seen a positive change,” and “Professors like her are why I continue to go to Dean.” Rys received a B.S. in Management and an M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing from Providence College.