RIT Professor Wins Prestigious Teaching Award
May 30, 2002
by Susan Murphy
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To Rochester Institute of Technology professor David Neumann, a resident of Honeoye Falls, the key to teaching is creating a connection with his students.
His philosophy of "experimentation and innovation" has earned him an Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching, RITís annual award honoring faculty excellence. Up to four Eisenhart Awards are given each year to professors in various RIT programs.
Neumann, a professor of communication in RITís College of Liberal Arts, creates a creative climate for his students through the use of current technology in the classroom and distance learning classes, discussions that invite participation and original ways to combine research, theory and experiential learning.
"I believe one element of successful teaching is to respect and challenge students," Neumann says. "I make this a priority in all my classes."
An interactive and experiential approach to learning is characteristic of Neumannís teaching style. He started teaching in 1986 as a graduate student at Bowling Green State University where he was working on his doctorate in interpersonal and public communication. That same year he won an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from the International Communication Association, a sign of future awards to come.
In 1990, soon after joining the RIT faculty, he was awarded an RIT outstanding young professor award.
One of the best parts of teaching for Neumann is the positive reaction he gets from students when they are engaged and a class comes alive.
Teaching keeps him thinking about current issues. And, he says, "It gives me a finger on the pulse of the younger generation." His studentsí questions and comments reveal what is important to them, a perspective that also interests Neumann as a parent.
As a scholar, Neumann has presented and published numerous papers, his most recent research focuses on Internet plagiarism, computer-mediated communication apprehension and image analysis of advertisements appearing in Rolling Stone magazine.
He served as chair of the professional and technical communication department from 1992-94, and has received several faculty research grants.
Neumann is an active member of the RIT community and has sat on a variety of committees including CLA Tenure, College Promotion, Institute Academic Conduct, Institute of Effective Teaching Committee and serves as an Institute Mediator.
He looks forward to developing a new online version of his Persuasion class, using online testing and streaming audio and video. Neumann received a grant to coordinate "Film across the Communication Curriculum," a unique project that will bring together students from different communication classes to analyze selected films.
"I think there are innovative solutions to most any problem we face, no matter how small." he says.
The College of Liberal Arts, one of eight colleges at RIT, provides the foundation for every RIT student. The College offers studies in anthropology/sociology, philosophy, fine arts, language and literature, history, science/technology/society, and political science and offers bachelorís degrees in criminal justice, economics, social work, psychology, public policy and professional and technical communication. The college offers masterís degrees in communication and media technology, public policy and school psychology.
For the past decade, U.S. News and World Report has ranked RIT as one of the nationís leading comprehensive universities. RIT is also included in Yahoo Internet Lifeís Top 100 Wired Universities, Fiskís Guide to Americaís Best Colleges, as well as Barronís Best Buys in Education.