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outstanding teachers

Outstanding Teachers 2022

Among the highest forms of recognition that TU can bestow on a member of the faculty is the Outstanding Teacher Award. Initiated in 1980, it is limited to three faculty members per year – less than 1% of the resident faculty. The winners are nominated by students and the selection is made by the elected Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. Thus, the award represents recognition by both students and fellow faculty. The winners of this prestigious award will be honored at the 2022 commencement with a monetary award and a medallion. Past winners can be recognized by this medallion worn on a ribbon about the neck as part of their academic regalia.

Ido Kilovaty, Frederic Dorwart and Zedalis Family Fund Associate Professor of Law

man with dark hair and beard wearing a blue shirt and dark blue tie
Ido Kilovaty

Ido Kilovaty began teaching at TU in 2018 and was promoted to associate professor in 2021. His excellence in teaching extends to the mentoring and professional development he provides outside the classroom, which enhances the excellence of his many students. Kilovaty’s fluency with many languages and cultures extends to his teaching practice, which takes a creative and flexible approach both to in-person and online instruction.

Kilovaty’s courses offer the fundamentals of legal practice, such as evidence and criminal procedure, as well as cutting-edge topics in cyber security and computer crime. In that way, his teaching has ensured that TU College of Law graduates alumni whose solid foundation exhibits the forward-thinking flexibility needed today and tomorrow. This is clearly reflected in student evaluations that praise his clarity and attentiveness.

Selected student comments

  • “Professor Kilovaty provided exceptional instruction via online platform. In my opinion, there was no difference between Professor Kilovaty’s in-class instruction and his online lecture delivery. Professor Kilovaty also provided flexibility in course delivery that helped tremendously in overcoming some of the challenges of going to school online.”
  • Professor Kilovaty “was very good at taking student responses and pointing out what was good about them and where they applied, even when they weren’t as directed as he would have liked for the specific question he asked. This was very helpful in understanding more about what was being discussed.”
  • “Professor Kilovaty is incredible. You can tell he really considered the best interests of students in designing this course and in his overall approach to teaching. He is always kind, very approachable, knowledgeable, and actively removes obstacles to learning. I wish every professor would approach in the way he does.”

Angus Lamar, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

man with dark hair wearing an open-collar white shirt and a blue v-neck sweater
Angus Lamar

Angus Lamar began teaching at TU in 2015 and was promoted to associate professor in 2021. During that time, he has consistently demonstrated innovative teaching practices and a dedication to student learning, aspects that have made him an effective and popular instructor. At present, he directly supervises 67 undergraduate students and three graduate students in a research laboratory. His approach combines rigor with an engaging and personable manner that helps students to understand incredibly difficult subject matter.

Lamar’s courses service several majors, including chemistry, biochemistry, biology, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics and psychology. It is little wonder that he has been able to reach so many different students, who praise the clarity of his expectations and his manner of organizing lectures and course material. However, the excitement he generates is one of the characteristics that stands out most.

Selected student comments

  • “Dr. Lamar contributed to my learning in this class by giving lectures that were detailed yet understandable. He gave tests that challenged students on their understanding of the concepts and of how to apply them, rather than just testing rote memorization. Additionally, he made an effort to provide examples to help further illustrate concepts and connect them to things we have discussed in other classes or have encountered in real life. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and believe that it has already helped me in other chemistry classes though the skills that were developed, which was made possible due to Dr. Lamar’s excellent teaching.”
  • “I have learned so much from this course. The topic was well covered and I feel like I’m walking away with a lot of knowledge about medicine that I never learned before in my entire 4 years in my major (even though I’m a pre-med major).
  • “I’m taking this as a minor course and I’m so glad I did. The way Professor Lamar teaches the class really helps me to understand the content. I understand chemistry best when Professor Lamar is teaching it.”

Kristen Oertel, Mary Barnard Professor of 19th-Century American History

woman with long blonde hair wearing glasses, collarless white blouse and a grey blazer
Kristen Oertel

Kristen Oertel began teaching at TU in 2010 and was promoted to full professor in 2016. Her excellence in teaching stems from a deft combination of rigor, ethical vision and inspiration that extends beyond the walls of the classroom. She has also demonstrated a flexible creativity in maintaining engaging, discussion-based courses since the COVID-19 pandemic forced faculty to teach online and in a hybrid manner. For many years, Oertel’s teaching has consistently developed student excellence.

Students seek out Oertel’s courses in order to engage with the biggest questions of today through study of the past — and they are amply rewarded. Her inclusion of innovative projects, such as skits and debates, as well as a variety of study materials, such as film and podcasts, complements the traditional critical writing and reading assignments that are the hallmark of liberal arts education at TU. By their own telling, students emerge from her courses well-informed and capable of seeing the big picture with critical acumen.

Selected student comments

  • Professor Oertel “has energized and emphasized my desire to study history, specifically African American history. . . . She made the history come alive, which is the mark of any great history teacher.  It was never just names, dates and facts – it was learning about how interconnected the world was through the lives of African Americans. [Professor Oertel] has been a major help in figuring out which path is right for me in my studies post-graduation.”
  • “Lectures and readings complemented each other extremely well. Dr. Oertel communicated things at the perfect level – not too complicated or not too simple. Brilliantly navigated sensitive subject matters.”
  • “This course has broken down a lot of stereotypes or common misconceptions that many of us have on groups of people or topics that originated in colonial times. This class encouraged an understanding of broad concepts at play during the period of America’s colonial history. The course engaged in discovering how these concepts related to each other, the people of the time and how both people and cultures changed over time.”

Outstanding Teachers 2021

Chapman Professor of Legal Writing and Phyllis Hurley Frey Professor of Law Gina Nerger, Associate Professor of Psychology Jennifer Ragsdale and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Hema Ramsurn are The University of Tulsa’s Outstanding Teachers for 2021. Their devotion to teaching and mentoring molds the character and work ethic of students, preparing them for successful careers and lives.

Among the highest forms of recognition that TU can bestow on a member of the faculty is the Outstanding Teacher Award. Initiated in 1980, it is limited to three faculty members per year – less than 1% of the resident faculty. The winners are nominated by students and the selection is made by the elected Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. Thus, the award represents recognition by both students and fellow faculty. The winners of this prestigious award will be honored at the 2021 commencement with a monetary award and a medallion. Past winners can be recognized by this medallion worn on a ribbon about the neck as part of their academic regalia.

woman with blonde hair and a black blouseGina Nerger

Nerger earned her juris doctor degree from the College of Law in 2007 and became an assistant professor here in 2014. Her excellence in teaching is well documented and extends beyond the classroom to the mentoring, teaching and professional development she provides outside of the classroom. Nerger’s commitment to fostering excellence among all her students is demonstrated in the courses she teaches at TU Law and in the Collins College of Business, as well as in her former role as director of bar support at the law school.

A strong believer in the importance of legal writing in the law school curriculum, Nerger describes her teaching style as one of providing a “skills-based focus, preparing [students] for the types of legal writing ‘assignments’ they will soon prepare in practice.” She also meets one-on-one for conferencing with students several times during each semester, keeps an “open door” policy and assists job-seeking students with their cover letters and writing samples. In 2018, students named Nerger TU Law’s Outstanding First-Year Professor of the Year andthe Outstanding Upper-Class Professor of the Year.

Selected student comments

  • “Professor Nerger is the best. She is very clear in her expectations, so there is never any confusion. Additionally, she is very kind and always willing to help.”
  • “Professor Nerger is wonderful. I am so grateful that I had her for my first experience with legal writing. She is very approachable and encouraging to all her students.”
  • “I have never had an instructor care so much for the quality of instruction given to online students or the quality of their learning. There is nothing I can think of that Professor Nerger could have done better than she did this semester.”

woman with brown and blonde hair and glassesJennifer Ragsdale

An expert in occupational health psychology, Jennifer Ragsdale began teaching in the Department of Psychology in 2011. Ragsdale gives her students the kind of caring attention to their individual progress that is a hallmark of TU’s teaching reputation. She is a top-notch teacher and scholar, widely regarded as innovative, caring and particularly attentive to the needs of her students.

A central tenet of Ragsdale’s teaching philosophy is the incorporation of personal and professional examples into class discussions. She strives to motivate students through dynamic and engaging lectures, activities and assignments that require them to work through course material and apply what they have learned to their own lives (e.g., how they organize brands in their memory) or real world situations (e.g., designing employee selection processes) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and she has been able to do this in ways that have helped students cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ragsdale also uses class projects that are meaningfully tied to students’ research interests or career goals in order to create an environment that elicits students sharing their own experiences.

Selected student comments

  • “I enjoyed this class more than I ever thought I would. The lectures were concise and very interesting. The activities helped me stay engaged and Professor Ragsdale was very accommodating about assignments.”
  • “The instructor did a great job in being accessible for questions, explaining and providing information relating the course on time, and designing the course so students are successful.”
  • “Dr. Ragsdale does well creating a relaxed, professional learning environment. She asks for and appears to value student input during discussions of course content.”

woman with black hair and grey jacketHema Ramsurn

Since joining the Russel School of Chemical Engineering, Hema Ramsurn has been widely and enthusiastically regarded as caring, fair, challenging, engaged in her research and committed to her students’ success. “My goal as a teacher has always been to make a positive impact in the lives of my students not only in class but beyond,” Ramsurn said. “I want them to have this feeling that I am here not only to teach them some engineering principles in order to just pass exams but that I genuinely care about what they actually learn and how they will use this knowledge in their careers and lives.”

Ramsurn has been recognized as an excellent teacher for several years and has won five teaching awards at three different levels in three different years over a four-year time span: departmental Omega Chi Epsilon in 2019 and 2020, college Tau Beta Pi in 2017 and 2019; and college Kermit Brown in 2019. In addition to her excellent classroom teaching, Ramsurn mentors students outside of her courses. She has also advised the American Institute of Chemical Engineers student chapter, including a year in which they hosted the regional conference. She has also co-advised a Love’s Cup business plan team.

Selected student comments

  • “Honestly, I love Professor Ramsurn. She is a very awesome, excellent and superb professor and I really enjoyed being in her class and I hope to take another class with her in the future. She is really invested in the success of students.”
  • “Dr. Ramsurn is a great professor, in the classroom and outside. Her lectures are always very informative, interesting and well paced. She is very knowledgeable about the subjects that she teaches. Dr. Ramsurn is also a very approachable professor, which makes it easy to ask her questions in class and in her office.”
  • “Dr. Ramsurn inspired me on day one with her enthusiasm and energy. She captivates the class and maintains a professional character while being personable, helpful, understanding, and kind.”




Outstanding Teachers selected for devotion to students and mentoring

Collins Professor of Computer Information Systems Lori Leonard, Stanley Rutland Professor of American History Andrew Wood and Associate Professor of Law Matt Lamkin are TU’s Outstanding Teachers for 2020. Their devotion to teaching and mentoring molds the character and work ethic of students, preparing them for successful careers and lives.

The university inaugurated the Distinguished Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1980. Honorees may receive the award once in a lifetime, and only three awards are given annually. The award is especially meaningful because it must be initiated by a student’s nomination, and the winners are selected by colleagues who serve on the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. Each honoree receives a medal and a stipend.

Matt Lamkin

outstanding teachersSince joining the College of Law faculty in 2013, Lamkin has earned the praise and admiration of his students. He has been recognized by students for his outstanding teaching every semester he has taught in the TU College of Law, translating to many awards. In his first two years at TU and again in 2018-2019, students voted to recognize Lamkin with the College of Law Outstanding First Year Professor Award. In 2015-16, he was honored as the Outstanding Upper-Class Professor.

Lamkin’s teaching philosophy is “driven by a desire to teach his students critical skills that will endure beyond their recollection of any particular law school subject matter.” He achieves this by teaching analysis and argument and helping students engage with the course materials in effective ways.

Student Comments:

  • “Helped me with my writing ability and had a continuing conversation about my paper and what I needed to do to write a paper effectively.”
  • “Professor Lamkin always made himself available for us to meet with him and was always very helpful and provided bonus sessions, which were a huge help to preparing for the exam. I also enjoyed the ‘life lesson’ talks he would give on occasion; they were an encouragement to me.”
  • “This has been my favorite class so far. I really like it that Lamkin takes his time to explain the different concepts. It’s useful when we move on to the next topic and they correlate.”

Lori Leonard

outstanding teachersWith over 25 years of teaching experience, Leonard has called TU home for the past 21 years. Beyond the lives she’s impacted along the way, she has even more to show for her time as a professor. In total, she’s collected 15 teacher awards, one Mayo Teaching Excellence Award from the Collins College of Business, two Most Valuable Professor awards and one mention as an Exceptional Mentor.

Course evaluations and student comments reinforce the care and concern that Leonard gives her students to ensure they thrive as professionals. She advises approximately 15 students every semester for enrollment while also mentoring many in the computer information systems major. Many TU students are on campus, at least partially, because of Leonard. Until she became associate dean of the Graduate School, she was heavily involved in meeting with prospective undergraduates. Now she continues to meet with prospective graduate students.

Student Comments:

  • “I absolutely would not be where I am today without your impactful mentorship and considerate advice.”
  • “Thank you for being such an influential person, not only in my life, but in the lives of so many others! The thoughtfulness and care you exude for your students does not go unnoticed!
  • “I still am grateful you fit me (a junior…who was having a mid-life crisis at 21) into your schedule to talk about what CIS was.”

Andrew Wood

outstanding teachersWith a TU tenure of over 20 years, Wood is dedicated to the instruction of diverse material. He largely teaches general education block courses with international and cross-cultural influences that provide a well-rounded, college-level liberal arts education. As a passionate, committed and experienced professor, Wood deploys a variety of pedagogical techniques including dynamic lecture mixed with Socratic Method, humor, music, film, discussion groups, class presentations, posters, field research and various online web interventions/engagements.

In the classroom, Wood focuses on fostering fundamental critical thinking skills, a curiosity about the world and an active concern for basic democratic values. In course evaluation comments, students frequently commend Wood’s subject knowledge, engaging presentation style and sense of humor, as well as his clear and supportive explanations and assignment feedback.

Student Comments:

  • “In my three years at The University of Tulsa, I have yet to encounter a more dedicated, hard-working or caring professor as Dr. Wood.”
  • “I have constantly been impressed by his dedication to making history come alive in the classroom and impressing on his students the importance of studying the history of those who have been oppressed and forgotten in history.”
  • “Very knowledgeable and his investment in the class motivated the students to want to learn.”