May 1, 2019

2019 Murphy Award recipient: Dawn Laux

Dawn Laux Dawn Laux, recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

Five professors have received the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy. This week, Purdue Today will feature profiles on each of the recipients. Today's profile features Dawn Laux, clinical associate professor and associate department head of the Department of Computer and Information Technology.

Years at Purdue: 9 1/2.

Teaching interests: Database fundamentals.

What she wants students to take away from her classes: My hope is that students can find a practical use for what they have learned in my course. Many students come back after their first internship and share how they were able to use the skills they learned in my course right away.

On how she works to create an interactive, immersive experience in a large classroom: I use a mix of lecture, discussion, and group work. I am also very diligent in learning all of my students’ names early on in the semester, and I frequently use their names as they communicate with me in and out of the classroom. I feel that as I constantly walk around the room during class, they know that I am invested in their success as well. 

On why teaching and learning should be interdisciplinary and integrative: I had the opportunity to work with colleagues from my own college, the English department, and the communication school on the integration of TECH 12000, ENGL 10600 and COM 11400. It was an amazing experience to integrate the learning outcomes across the three courses to create an environment of learning, engagement and community for our first-year students in the Polytechnic Institute. By integrating the three courses, students were able to thread context with communication in a shared environment. Working with instructors from other departments also enriched my teaching practices.

How she works to ensure that all students’ learning needs are met with different learning methods: I try to provide support and guidance based on what I hear from the students and observe in the classroom. I pay close attention to how they are interpreting the material, and then try to adjust my delivery for better comprehension. I also provide the students with various ways to contact me outside of class, and we work together to solve problems. It is a team effort!

How her interaction with students is rewarding: I am so gratified when a student works through an issue in the class material, and with a little guidance, the correct answer comes to them. I am problem solver, and I truly enjoy working with each student as they wrestle with new concepts in my course. It is rewarding to see their growth throughout the semester, and also throughout the rest of their academic career at Purdue.

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, kschnied@purdue.edu


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