2014 Award Winners

The Exemplary Online Course Award recognizes faculty who use online learning technology effectively by exhibiting the best practices for designing engaging online coursework. This year’s winner, Dr. Laurel Abreu, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Laurel joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the fall of 2009, after completing her doctorate in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Florida. She holds an M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics also from the University of Florida and a B.A. in Spanish from the Dr. Abreu teaches intermediate and advanced undergraduate Spanish courses, as well as graduate courses in Spanish and linguistics for the Master of Arts in the Teaching of Languages program. Her current research takes a variationist approach to studying second language acquisition. She is also working on a collaborative project involving the creation of community among language learners through social media tools. Dr. Abreu won the Exemplary Online Course Award for Spanish 637,
Afro-Hispanic influences in the Caribbean.

According to one of Laurel’s colleagues who nominated the course, “This course fused cool and highly relevant cultural content with cutting-edge pedagogical resources including live chats, student-created country wikis, online collaboration tools for group work, and peer editing/assessment tools."

Comments from the awards review committee noted that the course was “structured in a clear and intentional way that allows for scaffolding of student knowledge” and “assessments and evaluations are varied and utilize both formal and informal assessment.”

The Innovation in Teaching Award is designed to encourage faculty to implement new ideas in the classroom.  In a community of learning, we all learn from each other—from teaching mentors and from fellow faculty who reflect on and continually seek teaching strategies that promote deeper and more engaged learning. This year’s winner, Dr. Gallayanee Yaoyuneyong, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marketing and Fashion Merchandising at the
University of Southern Mississippi.

Gallayanee earned her Ph. D. from Florida State University in apparel/textile product development after obtaining a M.S. degree from Eastern Michigan University in merchandising and a M.S. degree from The University of Southern Mississippi in instructional technology.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in social administration from Thammasat University in Thailand.  Dr. Yaoyuneyong joined the fashion merchandising faculty at Southern Miss in 2007.

Dr. Y – as she is affectionately called - utilizes a multitude of approaches to equip her students with skills, knowledge and practical experience to succeed in diverse and often unpredictable
conditions. She encourages them to explore novel methods of developing and marketing products through collaboration and experimentation.  Likewise, Dr. Y. invests much time and
effort evaluating the efficacy of new techniques for teaching and learning, and her energy and enthusiasm inspire others to do the same. 

Here’s what some of Gallayanee’s colleagues had to say about her:

“The process of collaboratively brainstorming with her, specifically about using design-
thinking as a teaching approach, in many ways transformed how I work with undergraduates in literacy education.”   ~Dr. John Bishop, Assistant Professor, CISE, The University of Southern

“Whether it is service learning, Web 2.0 or consulting with area retailers, she consistently explores new ways to engage students.”   ~Dr. Brigitte Burgess, Associate Professor,
Department of Marketing and Merchandising, The University of Southern Mississippi

“Creating activities not found in other classes or previous semesters, she is able to challenge students to critically understand not only the material, but also the process of learning.  Dr. Y is the definition of innovation.”  ~Staci Cox, Instructional Specialist, The Think Center, The University of Southern Mississippi