Eastern Mennonite University announces three honors of the annual Excellence in Teaching Awards:
- in the Tenured Faculty category, Daniel Showalter PhD, associate professor of mathematics;
- in the Pre-tenure Faculty category, Johonna Turner PhD, assistant professor at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding; and
- in the Non-tenure Faculty category, Bonnie Yoder, adjunct instructor in EMU’s Teacher Preparation Program.
The award honors the gifts of faculty across all the positional categories of employment. Criteria include impact on students, effective teaching practices, subject knowledge and continual growth, including a commitment to professional and pedagogical development.
The selection process began with nominations from the campus community. A committee appointed by Faculty Senate reviewed the nominations and selected the honorees.
Tenured Faculty: Daniel Showalter, PhD
Since summer 2015, Showalter has taught a range of classes in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and education. He has also advised thesis projects for the MS in Biomedicine program and teaches an online Biostatistics course for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
“The variety is one of the reasons I absolutely love teaching at EMU,” he said. “Of course, the main reasons I love it here are the students–who constantly challenge each other and myself with their insights during our discussions–and our supportive community of colleagues.”
Showalter “clearly loves his content, respects and aims to help empower his students, and delights in coming up with new ways to engage them. He also takes faith integration seriously,” wrote one nominator. “Students have spoken to me about the ways in which he communicates his appreciation for Scripture and the Christian tradition in natural, gentle, and inviting ways. He serves also as a public intellectual, engaging in policy conversations that extend his teaching role far beyond our campus.”
A second nominator praised Showalter’s capabilities and interest in developing practical application of math and statistics principles to real-world problems,
Showalter earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Urbana University, an MS in mathematics from Ohio University, and a PhD in mathematics education from Ohio University.
Pre-tenure Faculty: Johonna Turner, PhD
Turner is assistant professor of restorative justice and peacebuilding at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and in the applied social science department. She joined EMU as an instructor at CJP’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 2014 and joined the full-time faculty in fall 2015. She is also co-director of the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice.
She regularly teaches graduate courses in restorative justice, as well as joins in co-teaching the core 6-unit “Foundations of Justice and Peacebuilding Level II” for all CJP MA students. Additionally, she has taught graduate courses in social movements and formation for peacebuilding practice, as well as undergraduate courses in restorative justice and trauma awareness and facilitation and group dynamics.
Next semester, Turner will teach a new course titled “Ending Violence, Shifting Power,” which will introduce students to “the rich body of thinking and practice emerging from feminist, antiracist and LGBTQ anti-violence movements,” she says.
Turner’s innovation is also highlighted in other courses she has designed and taught at EMU, Eastern Mennonite Seminary and CJP’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, including “Peacebuilding through Biblical Narrative,” Christian spirituality for social action; and “Justice, Peace and the Biblical Story,” cross-listed with the seminary.
Turner often invites graduate students who show an interest in facilitation and teaching in and out of academia to join her as a course co-designer and co-instructor: “My practice of teaching is enmeshed with my mentoring practice,” she explains.
Nominators cited Turner’s contributions to integrating faith into coursework and university faculty/staff events; she is a member of CJP’s Faith Integration Taskforce but has actively influenced the broader university on this topic as well. She received several nominations from students, who shared that her compassion, sensitivity and method of inquiry sparked not only excellent discussion but helped to engender self-confidence on their own journeys of discovery.
Turner “graces the world with an incorrigible spirit of joy, a curious intellect, and a deep compassion for all whose liberation has been shackled by the injustices of violence and oppression … She is keenly aware that her emancipation is all wrapped up in the freedom of those around her,” wrote one colleague.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Turner is also a sought-after speaker and a widely published scholar. Learn more about her journey at her personnel page and in this Peacebuilder podcast episode.
Turner earned her PhD in American studies at the University of Maryland. She holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and interdisciplinary studies from the University of Missouri, and two graduate certificates: in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, and in Urban Youth Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Non-tenure Faculty: Bonnie Yoder, Adjunct Faculty
Yoder has taught at EMU since 2010, working with teacher education students in the beginning of their professional preparation and then supervising many during their culminating student teaching experience. She has also taught courses in management and organization in early education, content area reading and writing, and foundations of curriculum development, at the graduate level.
Nominators cited Yoder for her commitment to the program, her openness and flexibility in working with various groups of students, her care and compassion for students, and her teaching and facilitation strategies, which emphasize critical reflection.
She brings vast experiential knowledge and relationships from her 17-year career as a teacher and administrator in the local school system. This enables EMU students to begin this important pre-service experience with beneficial, positive relationships with other mentoring supervising teachers.
“I feel blessed to serve EMU and the wider community through the meaningful work of guiding students as they discover the call to teach,” she said. “EMU’s education department has a strong reputation and high goals in preparing pre-service teachers to impact the world. The collaboration and camaraderie within the department makes this possible. What a joy to watch our students develop into confident teachers.”
Yoder earned her BA degree from EMU and an MEd at James Madison University. Among other accomplishments, she is a former National Economics Teacher of the Year.