Dunn, Montalvo to receive Hackler award, Cameron’s highest faculty honor

Cameron University’s Dr. Mike Dunn, professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Edris Montalvo, assistant professor of history and government, have been selected as the 2014 recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award. The Hackler Lectureship in Teaching Excellence was established in 1996 by Cameron alumni Harold and Elizabeth Hackler to recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the lives of Cameron students. Dunn and Montalvo will receive their awards on November 12 during a reception at Cameron University-Duncan.

“The selection committee for the Hackler Award, Cameron’s highest teaching honor, has chosen two eminently deserving recipients in Dr. Mike Dunn and Dr. Edris Montalvo,” says Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Their dedication and commitment to providing high quality education is representative of all of Cameron’s outstanding faculty members. This recognition would not be possible without the support of Harold and Elizabeth Hackler, and we are grateful that they chose to acknowledge the impact a Cameron education had on their lives by establishing this award.”

Through the endowment, Dunn and Montalvo will each receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. Their names will be added to the Hackler Award honor roll plaque that is on display at the CU-Duncan campus.

photo of Mike DunnDunn’s nomination cited the breadth of his accomplishments as a faculty member, including outstanding student evaluations of teaching, mentoring undergraduates in research and scholarly activities, mentoring students in carrying out service learning projects that benefit community partners, service to the university, service to the profession and an array of accomplishments in the area of scholarship, including continuously seeking external support for research that involves undergraduate students.

“I love teaching because I enjoy passing on the knowledge, concepts and questions that continually evolve in the dynamic science of biology,” Dunn says of his teaching philosophy. “I believe we are all students, and with patience, imagination and guidance, we can learn for the rest of our lives. As a teacher, I enjoy the role of guide, and I love the challenge of finding ways to reach all students, regardless of their backgrounds, interests or abilities, and as a student, I continue to learn by conducting original research. It is my sincerest hope that through this combination of teaching and discovery, I might inspire our students so that they too may experience the joys of life-long learning.”

Dunn earned a doctorate in biology sciences from Ohio University. He has a master’s degree in geology and a bachelor’s degree in biology, both from Boise State University.  He joined the Cameron faculty in 2003. Dunn has been inducted into the Cameron University Alumni Association Faculty Hall of Fame and has been honored with the Student Support Services Outstanding Faculty Award.

photo of Edris MontalvoMontalvo’s nomination noted that he has taught “at a very high level” since joining the Cameron faculty, adding that his course rotation includes seven geography classes delivered in a wide array of formats, including traditional, online, ITV, both day and night sections and taught over eight or 16 weeks.  He has also taught a variety of classes outside of his departmental responsibilities, such as independent study sections that support the social studies education degree and the geography minor, the latter of which according to the nominator, Montalvo has developed almost by himself.

“My most memorable and meaningful experiences in my academic career share one common thread – the influence of outstanding teaching,” Montalvo says of his teaching philosophy. “Perhaps the best advice offered to me about teaching was that, although one should study the techniques of outstanding teachers, each instructor needs to develop his or her own teaching style. My personal teaching philosophy consists of four main themes: conversational inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, diversity and experiential learning. I believe that the main charge of a university professor is to serve students as a teacher and mentor. To this end, I constantly strive to serve my students better in the classroom.”

Montalvo has been a member of the Cameron faculty since August 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and English and a master’s degree in geography from Texas State University, where he also earned a doctorate in geography. He was honored in April 2014 with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Artistic Endeavor in the Educational Enterprise.

Recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award are selected based on nominations from faculty and students. All faculty who have been regular full-time members of the CU faculty for at least three years and hold an appointment as an assistant professor or higher are eligible. The candidate’s principle assignment must be teaching.


October 29, 2014