UNCSA announces recipients of annual Excellence in Teaching Awards

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) closed out the winter semester by announcing the recipients of its annual “Excellence in Teaching” awards for 2015-’16.

This “magnificent seven” was nominated by students, fellow teachers and UNCSA alumni. The awards were originally instituted in 1994 by the UNC Board of Governors to encourage, identify, recognize, reward and support good teaching at each of its 17 constituent institutions. One recipient from each UNC campus will receive a teaching award from the Board Governors that includes a $12,500 stipend, commemorative bronze medallion, and official recognition at commencement exercises. These system-wide winners will be announced in March.

This year’s UNCSA recipients include Douglas L. Bohannon, who has taught high-school English at UNCSA since 2004. He was nominated by his students and colleagues for enthusiasm for teaching, care for students, knowledge and art of the English language, and attention to writing skills.

Prof. Dennis G. Booth, who has taught technical direction at the School of Design & Production since 1992 and served as assistant dean for production since 2004, was nominated by students and alumni for his focus on process and problem solving, with attention to detail and a value for reflection.

Composer-in-Residence Lawrence Dillon has been a UNCSA School of Music faculty member since 1987 and previously enjoyed stints as interim dean and assistant dean of performance. Dillon was nominated by alumni for his ability to help students identify and develop their talents, skills and interests. The recipient of a Bachelor of Music from the Hartt School of Music, he received Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he was a faculty member before joining UNCSA.

Jeffrey H. Morgan has taught high-school English since 1997 and served as assistant dean and director of the High School Academic Program, and assistant dean of the Division of General Studies. He was nominated by colleagues for his commitment to teaching, ability to engage students, his positive attitude, and his productivity.

The previous recipient of an Excellence in Teaching award in 2004, he has also received the Marcellus Waddill Excellence in Teaching award at Wake Forest University in 2001, the Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching at UNCSA in 1999, the Sallie Mae First-Year Teacher of the Year award for Watauga County in 1994, and a Master Teaching Fellowship at Wake Forest in 1994-’95.

Dale M. Pollock, a good friend of yours truly, was the first recipient of an endowed professorship established in his name at the School of Filmmaking and was dean of the film school from 1999-2006. Currently an associate professor of cinema studies, he also holds the title of Distinguished Scholar. He was nominated for the substantial amount of time he devotes to one-on-one mentoring of students. He is the author of Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, which is currently in his fourth printing, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA), the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), and the Governor’s Task Force on Film. He previously was a staff writer at Variety and the Los Angeles Times, produced 13 feature films (including A Midnight Clear, The Beast, Blaze and The Mighty Quinn), and is a life-long fan of the Cleveland Browns … which means he’s endured yet another frustrating NFL season.

Dmitri Shteinberg, assistant professor of piano, has taught at the School of Music in 2011 and was nominated by students for his combination of discipline and passion for student growth, creativity, and imagination. The Moscow-born Shteinberg comes from a family of musicians who immigrated to Israel when he was a teenager. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician across Europe and North America and recorded for Summit and Sono Luminus labels, and performed numerous times on radio and television.

Greg Walter, an associate professor of the School of Drama, has taught at UNCSA since 2004. He was nominated by students, alumni and colleagues for the high standards he applies to himself and his students, and his ability to instill confidence in his students. He received a 2014 Encore Award for Alumni Excellence from the Belmont University School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in voice and piano and was the Theodore Presser Scholar in Music in 1986, and won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best ensemble in 1995, and previously won an Excellence in Teaching Award from UNCSA in 2011.

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MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2016, Mark Burger.