GVSU Education Programs News

Two Education faculty receive awards

January 09, 2023

Two Education faculty receive awards

Two Education faculty members received 2023 GVSU Faculty Awards. These were presented at the Faculty Awards Convocation on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. in the Loosemore Auditorium, located within the Richard M. DeVos Center on GVSU's Pew Campus. The awards honor the outstanding contributions of our Education faculty.

Joseph Fisher, Ph.D. received a Pew Teaching Excellence Award. This award recognizes distinguished faculty who inspire GVSU students across disciplines by stimulating intellectual curiosity. To receive this award, faculty must stimulate intellectual curiosity in students, demonstrate evidence of their commitment to the field, and reflect on their practice toward improvement.

Setting a new standard in Grand Valley’s special education program, Joseph Fisher and colleagues embraced the purpose of translating “research into classroom practice at a level that improves the educational outcomes of children with disabilities.” In his words, “Reorienting the program to this standard significantly changed my teaching philosophy and dramatically challenged and enhanced my approach to teaching.” This led to the design of purposeful clinical teaching experiences for Grand Valley students, centered on this ideal. Even during the pandemic, Fisher held this value as he and his students successfully pivoted to online instruction. Reflecting on his teaching excellence, an experienced colleague states, “his teaching is simply brilliant.”


Richard Vandermolen, Ed.D., received the Pew Teaching with Technology Award. This award recognizes faculty who use technology in innovative ways, including teaching and course design. By working to improve current practices through technology, faculty can maximize students’ engagement in their learning and equip them with resources and skills for their careers.

As an instructor, Rick Vandermolen intentionally grounds the use of technology in pedagogical research to meet his students’ needs, including challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether using mainstream technologies or exploring new and emerging ones, such as Owl cameras and active learning classrooms, he leads with knowledge, clear expectations, and strong guidance for students. A colleague states, “Dr. Vandermolen is a role model of leadership in our program, department, and college regarding technology integration…[and] active dissemination.” From chairing his college’s technology committee to his involvement in campus faculty learning communities, Vandermolen embodies excellence in teaching with technology.


The article photo shows portraits (left to right) of Joseph Fisher and Richard Vandermolen.

Article edited by Alex Jacobsson. For more information on this story, contact the Office of Certification and Accreditation - (616) 331-6650.

Share this news story

View More GVSU Education Programs News

Page last modified January 9, 2023