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SPORN AWARDS

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 26 - April 3, 1997

Cosby Rogers

By Sandy Broughton

When Virginia Tech undergraduates take Cosby Rogers' Human Development class, they get more than just lectures and reading assignments. Laboratory tours, child observations, small-group design projects, hands-on activities, videos, e-mail, and music involve students in the class and create a camaraderie sometimes missing in large introductory courses. "She is always striving to find alternative ways to teach her material, which makes her class my favorite," said one student. "She makes us look at a child's development in a whole new way," said another.

Rogers, a faculty member in Family and Child Development in the College of Human Resources and Education, is the 1997 recipient of the Sporn Award for Teaching Introductory Subjects. Overall, Rogers receives high marks from students for being approachable, accessible, fun-loving, and passionate and knowledgeable about her subject matter.

An expert on child development, self-esteem, and play, Rogers has taught the introductory course in Human Development for 25 years, ever since she joined the faculty at Virginia Tech. Since 1973, enrollments have increased from 200 per year to 750 per year in 1996-97. Over the years, Rogers has developed an extensive archive of video instructional materials. She has introduced small-group projects, such as designing an educational toy, which allow students to interact with each other. This year, the introductory course will further evolve. Through the Center for Innovation in Learning's Cybercore project, Rogers and Katherine Cennamo are creating a state-of-the-art courseware package using computer-based multimedia materials.

Rogers joined the Tech faculty in 1973, and since then has won Family and Child Development departmental awards for public service, professional achievement, and advising. She was instrumental in the development of the toddler program at the Virginia Tech Laboratory School and served as Lab School director 1977-79. She has worked with such organizations as YMCA International, the Virginia Department of Education, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Virginia state legislature on child-development and family-life issues.

Rogers is currently chair of the university search committee for associate provost for undergraduate programs. She represents the College of Human Resources and Education on the university committee on undergraduate curricula, which she is also chairing this year.

Subhash Sarin

By Liz Crumbley

"First of all," said Subhash Sarin, "there cannot be a better award in teaching than the recognition you get from your students. Teaching is the number one reason we are here, and to be recognized for your efforts in this regard is truly a great honor."

Sarin, a professor of industrial and systems engineering (ISE) at Virginia Tech, was selected by the General Assembly of the Student Engineers' Council to receive the College of Engineering Sporn Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction.

Since joining the Tech faculty in 1983, Sarin has been elected by ISE students as one of the top five outstanding faculty members in the department, and has appeared three times in the dean's list of upper quartile student teaching evaluations.

Before coming to Tech, Sarin taught at Ohio State University. He studied as an undergraduate at the University of Delhi in India, and received his M.S. from Kansas State University and Ph.D. from North Carolina State.

Sarin's teaching is concentrated in the area of operations research. His research in this area and in manufacturing systems has attracted support from a number of sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, Mining and Mineral Resources Institute, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"It is often difficult to find a professor skilled in all areas of teaching such as class preparation, clarity of instruction, patience, and respect for students," said a fourth-year ISE student. "Dr. Sarin exemplifies these qualities ten-fold every time he walks into the classroom. He takes teaching well beyond the often-boring classroom lecture."

"My philosophy of teaching is to make students think about the subject matter," Sarin said. "I like to stress basics, give students hands-on experience, and help them in the learning process through discussions, encouragement to ask questions, and by relating the material to real-world situations.

The Sporn Award is presented in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Philip J. Sporn. Sporn was president and chief executive of American Electric Power Co.