About the Award
The Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award recognizes excellence in contributing directly and indirectly to student learning through teaching, research, and creative activities; advising; academic program development; and educational leadership.
Mitra Emad received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 17, 2018.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Mitra Emad
- Associate Professor
- Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminology
- College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth
A cultural anthropologist who a colleague calls “the most innovative teacher in our college,” Mitra Emad has turned the classroom into a hotbed of student-led learning. Emad built the Cultural Studies program and has brought fresh insight into teaching both in person and online. For example, she pushed UMD toward building a new laboratory with technology for students to work on digital ethnography projects, and developed technology-enhanced delivery of courses in online and hybrid versions.
Her students praise her flexibility and ability to defer to students with more relevant life experiences while also commanding respect and generating enthusiasm. Her students learn how to become “creators, rather than consumers, of their education,” a colleague notes.
“She made me realize that I could use anthropology outside the academic sphere, that real opportunities exist, and, more importantly, that I could create those opportunities for myself,” says a former student.
Emad is also known for helping her peers become better teachers. She was the prime mover in developing the UMD Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and has personally led the way for many colleagues to embrace course management systems and excel at traditional, online, and hybrid teaching methods.
Thanks to Emad, “I have now incorporated digital storytelling as a student project in multiple classes, to great success,” a colleague says.
“Teaching for me is a co-created encounter at the intersections of curiosity, knowledge, and human experience.”
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