Dr. Price received the award for baccalaureate colleges in a ceremony Nov. 15 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“Christy is an outstanding and well-respected faculty member who has brought honor and distinction to our college and community. We are very excited she has won this prestigious award,” said Dr. John O. Schwenn, president of Dalton State. “You can tell when faculty put their all into teaching. We are very proud of what she has accomplished. She has not only made a positive impact on the lives of students, but has also made other faculty members think about the way they teach and how students learn.”
The U.S. Professor Award is just the latest in a string of honors Dr. Price has received for her innovative teaching techniques and her research on millennial learners, the generation of students born in the 1980s and 90s.
In 2010, she was selected as the CASE Carnegie Professor of the Year for Georgia, and in 2009 she received a National First Year Student Advocate Award from the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience. Dr. Price won the University System of Georgia Teaching Excellence Award in 2008 and was the 2007 recipient of the Dalton State Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has also been recognized by the Masters of Psychology as one of its “Top 20 Most Influential Psychology Professors.”
Dr. Price advocates a teaching style in which students are actively involved in learning, and she utilizes a variety of methods to engage students, including the use of brief video clips, application exercises, case studies, group activities, demonstrations, role plays, computer simulations, online review games, social media and classroom responders.
She focuses, she says, on the “five Rs” for engaging millennial learners who respond best when course content is relevant to them and their future and is delivered in a relaxed learning environment by instructors employing a variety of research-based teaching methods. Instructors, she says, should show interest and build positive rapport with their students as well as provide a rationale for assignments and course policies so students understand their purpose and see their benefit.
“Dr. Price has become recognized as an authority on innovative teaching techniques and engaging millennial learners,” said Dr. Sandra Stone, vice president for academic affairs at Dalton State. “She teaches not only to assist students in achieving learning outcomes, but to inspire and transform them so that they might ultimately apply course content to improve society and the human condition.
“No one has a stronger awareness that teaching is meaningless without reliable assurances of learning,” Dr. Stone said of Dr. Price. “She is dynamic, innovative and student-centered, approaching teaching with an ever-fresh perspective and a learning-centered lens.”
In addition to teaching students, Dr. Price has led a campus-wide initiative in course redesign in an effort to transform undergraduate education. Over the past year, she has guided 65 faculty volunteers through a process of learning about and then developing plans for implementing a learner-centered approach to teaching and learning.
Beyond her teaching and service to Dalton State, Dr. Price maintains a program of professional development and applied research and is a highly-sought speaker on the topic of millennial learners. She has been a conference keynote speaker on more than 20 occasions and has presented on student motivation and learning-centered teaching at more than 50 colleges and universities and schools in the U.S. and Canada.
Her own philosophy is basically one of stewardship and was formulated, she says, from experiences camping as a youth.
“The basic rule was always to leave the campground looking better than we found it,” she said. “The planet and those on it should be better off as a result of the contributions we make.”
Extending that philosophy to her career, Dr. Price says, “I believe the true measure of a teacher’s effectiveness is the transformative impact they have on their students’ lives and learning. I also believe the courses we teach and the interactions we have with students should inspire them to be better citizens who strive to have a positive impact on social change and issues of global importance.”
Former student and current teacher Carol Duzan said Dr. Price’s class is where she “truly learned how to learn.”
“Even early-on her cutting edge innovative teaching techniques were a drastic change from the mind-numbing lecture format which I had become accustomed to. She engages her students in authentic learning activities discussing personal application exercises, analyzing fascinating cases, collaborating on group projects as well as developing her students’ interpersonal, communication, critical thinking and writing skills,” Duzan said. “I now look back and consider myself lucky to be part of that extraordinary community she created in her classroom.”
Duzan introduced Dr. Price at the awards program, noting “I regularly address issues of social justice such as bullying and diversity issues in my classroom,” she said. “I am involved in a mentoring program for troubled and impoverished youth at my school. I am so very proud to say that I followed in the footsteps of my amazing mentor by carrying on Dr. Christy Price’s legacy, creating a conscientious community of learners who are committed to social justice and solving global issues. Thanks to her influence, my young students are poised and ready to change the world.”
Dr. Price joined the faculty at Dalton State in 1991. She received her bachelor’s degree in social services from Northern Illinois University in 1989 and her master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 1991. She earned her doctorate in community health from the University of Tennessee in 1998 and has completed post-doctoral work in psychology and educational psychology.
In accepting the award, Dr. Price thanked her family and also members of the Dalton State community.
“This award really belongs to my colleagues at Dalton State, where I have been so inspired by the recent revolution in learning-centered teaching among our faculty, and I need to thank Dr. Sandra Stone, my nominator, as the catalyst for that movement. I am also so thankful to have had the pleasure of working with such wonderful students over my 21-year career. Their commitment and positive attitude toward learning inspires me daily,” she said.
Other recipients of this year’s U.S. Professor of the Year awards include Lois Roma-Deeley, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, Ariz., Outstanding Community Colleges Professor of the Year; Autar Kaw, University of South Florida, Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year; and Todd Pagano, Rochester Institute of Techology, Rochester, N.Y., Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year.
The U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program was created in 1981 and is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.
This year’s award winners were selected from a pool of nearly 300 nominees. Judges selected national and state winners based on four criteria: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community, and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former students.