Today, after performing for an hour in 90+ humid weather at the Yellow River Festival, I rushed to get Amy at the Coil/Sherck household (thank you guys for sharing Thea’s nanny today!) and rushed next door to the Eppley Auditorium, because yesterday someone called me to tell me Mark would be receiving an award.
We arrived in the final third of the “Commencement Convocation,” one of many ceremonies of graduation weekend, in which the main guest speaker speaks and student and faculty awards are presented.
Kathy Lintner introduced the Major General Delmar Taft Spivey Award for Excellence in Teaching and started to read almost two full pages of notes about the recipient and why he was receiving this award, presented each year to one outstanding young teacher. Pretty soon I realized this was the one Mark was going to receive — the mention of his fedora confirmed it.
“How can he plan for the most student-centered activities yet still help students work through the most thorny lab experiment and succeed? How can he help them understand not only that a system works but also why it works and how?”
(From a student) “Dr. Prochaska loves physics. There really is not much more I can ask from an instructor. His passion for the subject and his students is evident in his constant drive to ensure that everyone has a strong understanding of the material. Nevertheless, what is most rewarding is his willingness to help outside of the classroom setting… and his determination to hep any student through any problem. I would argue that I have found another great mentor instructor at Culver.”
(From a department colleague) “Mark is not only a model scholar of his discipline, physics, but he is also a model scholar of teaching and learning. He regularly researches and implements innovative teaching methods — from POGILs to interview exams — and then takes the extra step of sharing with his colleagues so that all Culver students benefit. His dry wit, unabashed honesty, and humble demeanor blend together perfectly to make him an effective teacher for everyone in the community, students and adults alike. Mark inspires his students; Mark inspires me! If only being like Mark was as easy as putting on a classy fedora, but I know his unusual success results from a true growth mindset supported by hours of planning, assessing, tutoring, and sharing.”
Well done, Mark, and congratulations!