Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award Winners
||Dr. Matthew Luderer, Chemistry
||Professor Stephen Murabito, English
||Dr. Walter Orange, Mathematics
||Dr. Mary Beth Spore, English
||Assistant Professor Joanne J. Viano, French
||Dr. Richard Blevins, English
||Dr. Lillian Beeson, Communication
||Dr. Anthony Boldurian, Anthropology
||Dr. Mark McColloch, History
||Professor Judith Vollmer, English Writing
||Dr. Ted Zaleskiewicz, Physics
||Dr. Nancy Estrada, Hispanic Languages and Literature
||Dr. Diane Marsh, Psychology
Matt Luderer, PhD
2011 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award Winner
Matthew Luderer, PhD, an associate professor of Chemistry, who has taught at Pitt-Greensburg since 2004, was selected to receive the award because of his “many contributions to the Biology and Chemistry curricula of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg,” the chancellor wrote in his notification letter. Specifically, Nordenberg cited Luderer’s development of an organic chemistry laboratory manual, which was published by McGraw Hill in 2007.
In addition, Luderer also has been chosen by 45 students as a mentor for their undergraduate senior capstone experiences. “As is evident from your outstanding student evaluations, your classroom teaching is inspiring while simultaneously making a traditionally difficult subject, Organic Chemistry, enjoyable for your students. . . . You consistently provide your students with the tools and methods to pursue their professional goals.” Luderer also developed a teaching assistant training program for the organic laboratories designed for students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry or biology.
Luderer, a native of Clarion, PA, earned a BS and an MS, both in Chemistry, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He then went on to earn his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut. Luderer is chair of the Chemical Safety and Hygiene Committee and oversees all safety matters. His research interests include developing environmentally friendly organic reactions in water as solvent and in studying trace metal concentrations in venison samples from western Pennsylvania.
Luderer is quick to acknowledge his mentors and supporters, “My parents, Bob and Karen, and my brother, Mark, were always by my side through thick and thin. When I went to IUP, I had the honor of working with Professor John Wood who actually earned his PhD in chemistry at Pitt back in the 70s under Professor Ted Cohen.”
Luderer also is willing to share his own experience as a student and how two professors were major influences in his life, saying, “You see, I took John Wood for organic chemistry in the fall of 1992 and miserably failed the course. However, he was one of the few professors that offered me a second chance, taking me under his wing for the next seven years. Ultimately, I earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 1999.”
Wood directed Luderer to the University of Connecticut where he earned his PhD from Professor William “Wild Bill” Bailey—a close friend of Wood’s. “These two individuals made such a positive impact on my life and career that I love both of them like second fathers. If it weren’t for them, I would not be where I am today.”
Students are at the core of Luderer’s teaching philosophy. “I have to give a special thanks to all of my students past and present. My ultimate goal as a teacher is not to win awards, but to do anything I possibly can to help my students achieve their goals in life, just like John Wood and Bill Bailey did for me. That is truly the best award any teacher can receive.”
Residents of Greensburg, Luderer and his wife, Amy, are the parents of two daughters, Alexis, age nine, and Sydni, age eight.
Remarks from Chancellor Nordenberg
"This honor recognizes your many contributions to the Biology and Chemistry curricula of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Your development of a new Organic Chemistry laboratory manual, published by McGraw Hill in 2007, is one example of your many contributions to student learning. As is evident from your outstanding student evaluations, your classroom teaching is inspiring while simultaneously making a traditionally difficult subject, Organic Chemistry, enjoyable for your students. Your efficacy as a teacher is demonstrated in the 45 students who sought you to mentor them through their undergraduate senior capstone experiences. You consistently provide your students with the tools and methods to pursue their professional goals. The University is proud to reward your commitment to excellence in teaching with this award."
You are being honored for the important contributions you have made to the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg over the past 16 years. Your successful college composition textbook, Connections, Contexts, and Possibilities, integrates your teaching and professional interests by incorporating the writing of your students. Students benefit from your classroom organization, ability to promote discussion, constructive feedback, and the enthusiasm you have displayed across a range of teaching assignments. You have inspired them to find their own voices and reach high goals. The English Writing Workshop that you founded -- and for years directed -- has enhanced the education and elevated the confidence of countless students. It has also provided a valuable experience for the advanced undergraduate tutors you mentored and afforded the opportunity to present their ideas at professional conferences. We are proud to recognize your teaching accomplishments by honoring you with this award. Congratulations!
Mary Beth Spore
This award honors your dedication to the undergraduate teaching of writing skills courses and children's literature. And the numerous contributions you have made to your department and campus over the past 19 years. As co-founder, teacher and advisor in the College Skills Program, you have strengthened the academic and study skills of underprepared but motivated students, making their goal of a college education achievable. The annual UPG Children's Literature Conference you developed brings nationally-known speakers to campus to interact with community librarians and teachers and serves as a forum for your students to present their research. Your students recognize you as that special teacher they will remember all of their lives. This University-wide honor extends that recognition of your teaching excellence.
This honor recognizes the enthusiasm and outstanding teaching skills you have consistently demonstrated for over thirteen years in a variety of courses, from basic Algebra to Advanced Probability and Statistics. Because of your meticulous preparation, clarity of presentation, excellent pacing and use of real-life examples, your students have increased their understanding and interest in mathematics. You have shared your love for the history of mathematics through your lectures for the UPG Natural Sciences Academic Village. The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg acknowledged your accomplishments by selecting you for their Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000. This University-wide honor now extends that recognition of your teaching excellence.
Richard L. Blevins
Your selection for this honor recognizes your 20 years of outstanding teaching at the Greensburg campus in a variety of courses and within the areas of English literature, reative writing and composition. You have implemented different and innovative approaches to teaching in different instructional settings and have consistently encouraged students to challenge themselves. By sharing not only your knowledge, but who you are, you have helped students gain an understanding of themselves and "find their own voices". Your contributions to curricular reform and your mentoring of large numbers of students have enriched the intellectual climate on campus, gaining you the respect of both students and colleagues. In addition to teaching, you have maintained a high level of scholarship, evidenced by your publications of poetry, nonfiction and literary criticism and your national reputation as an editor, literary critic and scholar. Your campus has acknowledged your contributions by awarding you their distinguished teaching award; the University now extends that recognition of your excellence in teaching.
Joanne J. Viano
"For the last 33 years, Joanne J. Viano has taught various courses to majors and non-majors at the Greensburg campus, including French, English composition, medieval literature, the Bible as literature, and college skills."You have been meticulous in course preparation and refine your courses each time they are taught," Nordenberg noted. "You care deeply about your students, accommodate their various learning styles and encourage them to strive for excellence in their studies. Your own commitment to lifelong learning, ranging from studying biblical Hebrew to your medieval studies at Cambridge University during your summers, infuses your courses with new ideas and your students with your passion for learning." -University Times
"Chancellor Nordenberg (himself a past recipient of the teaching award) cited Beeson's "single-handed and tireless efforts in the development of the communications major at Greensburg" and her long-term commitment to teaching and supporting students in and outside of the classroom. Nordenberg quoted one of Beeson's colleagues, who referred to her as "one of these magicians, inspiring students with her passion, her energy, her creativity and her commitment."
"Boldurian was praised by Nordenberg for his "single-handed development of the UPG curriculum in archeology," as well as his innovative teaching methods, his involvement of students in field work, and his integration of research and teaching." -University Times