Elmhurst Presents President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching

May 17, 2018 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Elmhurst College recently presented the 35th Annual President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching to two faculty members, psychology professor Elizabeth Majka and music professor Jennifer Mather.

The President’s Award was among a number of awards, research grants, promotions and other recognitions that were celebrated during the Founders’ Faculty Awards Dinner, held on Friday, May 11.


Troy VanAken

I’d like to congratulate our President’s Award winners, and all of the faculty whom we recognized for their achievements.

President Troy D. VanAken on the faculty award winners

“Elmhurst College has received accolades from national rankings organizations like U.S. News for the quality of our undergraduate teaching, and when you see the dedication that our faculty have to our students and their success, it’s easy to see why,” President VanAken said.

Each year two faculty are selected to receive the President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The award is a testament to a professor’s contributions to the education of Elmhurst students. Recognized student organizations nominate faculty members for the award and support their nominations. Members of the Faculty Development Committee then make the final decision.

Elizabeth Majka, an assistant professor of psychology, teaches statistics, research methods, psychology and culture, and other courses related to general psychology and social psychology. Broadly, her research investigates how people successfully maintain a sense of belonging.

In nominating Majka, students commented on her contagious passion for science and praised her for igniting their passions, creating an inclusive atmosphere in the classroom and teaching them to see science as a service. They also said “…none of us would be on the same path and as prepared for our futures had we not had the opportunity to learn from her.”

Jennifer Mather, an adjunct faculty member, has been a voice professor at Elmhurst College for 21 years. She also teaches a course in opera scenes and light opera and musical theater, and works with professional singers in the Chicagoland area and the Midwest.

Students said Mather “is like a musical encyclopedia.” They praised her advanced knowledge of vocal technique and pedagogy, and gave many examples of her going above and beyond “for each and every student.” They said she has helped dozens of students overcome prior vocal issues, and added: “None of our lives has been the same since we met Professor Jennifer Mather.”

Liz and Jennifer exemplify the faculty of Elmhurst College—all are dedicated teachers and scholars,” said April Edwards, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “It is rewarding to see the impact that our faculty have on Elmhurst students every single day.”

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