The Rising Star Awards recognize faculty for their commitment to ongoing educational improvements and excellence. Rising Star faculty participate in professional development of teaching activities through the Center for Teaching Excellence. Visit the Rising Star Requirements page to learn more.

2021 Recipients
Brantlee Spakes-Richter
Brantlee Spakes-Richter, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Plant Pathology
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Course Reviews for Excellence Workshop Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Presenter at the Interface Teaching Conference

Dr. Spakes Richter is an Assistant Professor in Plant Pathology with an 80% teaching appointment. She teaches a balance of majors and non-majors, online and in-person, and freshman through graduate-level courses, always striving to elucidate for students the interconnections of scientific and humanities concepts, and the impacts of those connections in the Real World. A firm believer in continuous improvement, Brantlee has served as a “beta tester” for many of UF’s new teaching tools, and has particular interest in building courses and curricula that help students build themselves as professionals and lifelong learners.

Diba Mani
Diba Mani, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology
College of Health & Human Performance

• Passport to Great Online Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Global Learning Institute Participant
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Presented a Workshop for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Diba teaches small- and large-enrollment undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in-person, hybrid, and fully online. This broad range of course formats require Diba to incorporate different types of activities in her classroom to provide her students with the most effective and efficient methods of learning. Amid the changes in higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Diba has engaged in many workshops and seminars offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Instructional Technology & Training, which have given her an opportunity to learn and incorporate different teaching techniques and opportunities for her students.

Erika Brooke
Erika Brooke, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Sociology and Criminology & Law
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Global Teaching & Learning Certificate Recipient
• Great Online Course Series Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Presented a Workshop for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Erika Brooke focuses on providing hands-on experience with the justice system through creative, innovative, and meaningful assessments that build cultural competence. Utilizing strategies based in technology and globalization, she successfully implemented a virtual exchange (VE) project that facilitated bi-weekly students discussions with a partner class in Ecuador comparing justice systems. She plans to extend the VE project concept to another class via virtual guest lectures with corrections experts around the world.

Harrison Hove
Harrison Hove

Lecturer
Department of Journalism
College of Journalism and Communications

• Passport to Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Global Learning Institute Participant
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Recorded a Podcast for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Harrison Hove teaches broadcast journalism courses where his students practice knowledge at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy: creating. Harrison oversees student content creation from timed writings to daily television reporting and special projects. Working to build classroom community virtually, Harrison has restructured an online broadcast writing course with themes of interactivity and active learning. He also successfully internationalized the curriculum in his TV news reporting course, encouraging students to highlight stories in marginalized and internationalized communities.

Megan Mocko
Megan Mocko

Lecturer
Department of Information Systems and Operations Management
Warrington College of Business

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Great Online Course Series Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Active Learning for Large Enrollment Faculty Learning Community Participant

Megan Mocko is a lecturer at Warrington College of Business. She teaches statistics to undergraduate and graduate students in the college. She is interested in engaging everyone in the classroom. Previously, she taught statistics in the Department of Statistics. In addition to her teaching, Megan’s involvement in statistics education led to her work as co-chair on the recently updated 2016 GAISE Guidelines report. The American Statistical Association endorsed the revised 2016 GAISE report along with the original report released in 2005.

Mengyu Li
Mengyu (May) Li, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering
College of Engineering

• Passport to Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Great Online Course Series Completer
• Engineering Education Research Faculty Learning Community Participant
• Made Course Changes Recommended by the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Mengyu Li teaches numerous undergraduate and graduate ISE courses that are related to supply chain management/modeling and systems architecture/design. She enjoys advancing her teaching skills by implementing novel teaching methods in her courses to improve the learning experiences for students. Mengyu takes every opportunity available to learn about how to utilize technology in her courses to address the needs of diverse learners, for both face-to-face and online teaching. She also challenges students with activities that require group efforts and communication to enhance the sense of learning community.

Misti Sharp
Misti Sharp, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Food and Resource Economics Department
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Team-Based Learning Workshop Completer
• Team-Based Learning Faculty Learning Community Participant
• Presented a Workshop for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Misti Sharp joined the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida in fall of 2016 as a lecturer with a 100% teaching appointment. She teaches economically and quantitatively focused courses and has had the opportunity to teach students in Germany, in the US, online, and in a hybrid flexible format. She believes that the best learning is achieved when students can engage with the material in a variety of ways. This has led her to develop classroom experiments for students to experience economic theories firsthand and develop application projects using real-world data for applied data analysis. Previous students describe her classes as challenging but rewarding due to the emphasis on critical thinking and application.

Rachel Slivon
Rachel Slivon, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Management Communication Center
Warrington College of Business

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Great Online Course Series Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Presenter at the Interface Teaching Conference

Dr. Rachel Slivon is a Lecturer in the Management Communication Center. She is always looking for ways to engage her students through active learning and innovative activities. Her courses often include experiential learning opportunities so students can put their communication skills and strategic business skills into practice as they work with local community partners on specific projects.

Rachel Yoho
Rachel Yoho, Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental & Global Health
College of Public Health and Health Professions

• Passport to Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Crucial Conversations Training Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Created a Resource to be Shared with the UF Teaching Community

Dr. Rachel Yoho teaches environmental health and global public health courses. She developed and teaches a new course, “Climate Change, the Environment, and the Future of Public Health.” Dr. Yoho is strongly committed to helping students develop their communication skills, particularly to align their communication strategies with the target audience, whether technical or non-technical. She is also invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion research and engagement in the classroom and the workplace.

Samuel Martins
Samuel Martins, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Plant Pathology
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• CITT Course Mapping Camp Completer
• #NoWallsTeaching Champion
• Made Course Changes Recommended by the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Samuel Martins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology. Martins emulates the Japanese philosophy “Kai Zen,” which means “continuous improvement,”. He supports an open classroom environment, where students are encouraged to ask questions and make mistakes. He enjoys using different active learning approaches, such as the jigsaw technique, think-pair-share, online real-time polls, as well as collaborative projects, which allow students to learn also from each other. He plans to incorporate virtual exchange into his class with people from different countries as a way to increase students’ intercultural skills in a global perspective.

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2020 Recipients
Amber Emanuel
Amber Emanuel, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Health Education & Behavior
College of Health & Human Performance

• Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Faculty Learning Community: Inclusive Teaching in the College of HHP Recipient
• Pathways to Teaching Excellence Master Reviewer
• Created a Resource to be Shared with the UF Teaching Community

Dr. Amber Emanuel is a Lecturer in the Department of Health Education & Behavior. She enjoys learning about and implementing universal design learning in her courses, to help improve teaching and learning for all types of students. Amber enjoys learning about how to utilize technology in teaching, especially for online courses. She likes to have students read and analyze current health issues, to help students improve their scientific and health literacy skills, while understanding local, national, and international health problems.

Crystal Marull
Crystal Marull, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Spanish & Portuguese Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Facilitator for the Experiential Learning & Teaching with Technology Faculty Learning Communities
• Presenter for Interface 2020
• Podcast Recording for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Crystal Marull became the Coordinator of the Online Spanish Program in 2017. She adopts an innovative approach that incorporates telecollaborative virtual exchanges to facilitate student conversations with native speakers located across the Spanish-speaking world. These personal exchanges are crucial to engaging traditional and non-traditional learners by providing them with a safe space to navigate the process of discovery and to find meaning for their learning. Her courses have received local and national recognition. She is actively engaged with the CTE as she strives to continue her own process of discovery and pedagogical development.

Diba Mani
Diba Mani, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology
College of Health & Human Performance

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Facilitator for the Active Learning for Large Enrollment Faculty Learning Community
• Presenter for Interface 2020
• Created a Resource to be Shared with the UF Teaching Community

The courses Dr. Diba Mani teaches are typically large enrollment and physiology-based, so she frequently implements learning response systems during lectures and “supplemental learning experiences”, which include virtual simulations, kinesthetic demonstrations, and interactive worksheets. Diba’s most recent endeavor in the classroom has been the successful internationalization of her upper division Neuromuscular Aspects of Exercise course, which comprises student group presentations on peer-reviewed articles and virtual interviews with researchers from around the globe.

Erika Brooke
Erika Brooke, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Sociology and Criminology & Law
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Global Learning Institute Participant
• Presented a Workshop for the Center for Teaching Excellence
• Recorded a Podcast for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Erika Brooke is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law. Erika focuses on integrating experiential learning opportunities and career readiness components into each one of her classes to give her students hands-on experience with the justice system. She plans to incorporate a virtual exchange project into the class as a way for students to further hone their intercultural competence and communication skills. Over the course of the semester, her students will collaborate with students in Columbia on a variety of interactive assessments that tap into issues related to the justice system.

Frederick Kates
Frederick Kates, Ph.D., MBA

Clinical Assistant Professor
Health Services Research, Management & Policy
College of Public Health and Health Professions

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Digital Literacy Faculty Learning Community Recipient
• Created a Resource to be Shared with the UF Teaching Community
• Recorded a Podcast for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Kates serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor for Health Services Research, Management & Policy Department in the College of Public Health and Health Professions. Rick is a dedicated educator who strives to make a difference in the lives of the students he teaches. He created a new course called Health Informatics & Emerging Healthcare Technologies, which is open to students outside his college to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurship. He is currently working on a national certification component where students have an opportunity to take the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society certification. This opportunity would help students to be more employable in the job market as well as promote UF as a forerunner in developing future healthcare leaders.

Ginny Greenway
Ginny Greenway, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Entomology & Nematology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

• Passport to Great Teaching Certificate Recipient
• Global Learning Institute Participant
• Presenter for Interface 2020
• Recorded a Podcast for the Center for Teaching Excellence

Dr. Ginny Greenway focuses on fusing research with teaching via Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences. In these courses, students gain authentic research experience and she prioritizes an active learning and team-based approach to encourage engagement and investment in the scientific process. She also aims to include global perspectives through virtual exchange activities with international researchers to offer students a broader perspective on what it means to be a scientist. Alongside this, Ginny has been coordinating the roll-out of CUREs across campus with the Center for Undergraduate Research.

John Mendoza-Garcia
John Mendoza-Garcia, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Engineering Education
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering

• Passport to Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate Recipient
• Engineering Education Faculty Learning Community Recipient
• Course Reviews for Excellence Workshop Series Recipient
• Executed a Course Transformation

John Mendoza Garcia is a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Education in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Education at Purdue University and has a Master's and a Bachelor's in Systems and Computing Engineering from Universidad de Los Andes, and Universidad Nacional de Colombia respectively, both top Colombian Universities. John has taught face-to-face (lately flipped classroom style) and online. His courses have ranged from 10 to almost 600 students. He always looks for ways to connect with students and look into research on the domain knowledge to develop ways to facilitate students’ learning. He also encourages students to do their best while he tries to understand students’ struggles with the content or with personal situations that impact their learning. Regarding research, he investigates the learning of professional skills like problem-solving, systems thinking, design thinking, and computational thinking.

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2019 Recipients
Carolyn Hanson
Carolyn Hanson, Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy
College of Public Health and Health Professions

• Great Teaching Certificate recipient
• Internationalizing the Curriculum Grant recipient
• Completed the Foundations of Great Teaching
• Completed the TBL Workshop and the Creative Video Workshop

Dr. Carolyn Hanson is a Clinical Assistant Professor who returned to the Department of OT in 2018. Carolyn believes that teaching is more than conveying ideas and demystifying difficult concepts. She makes learning a personal experience for her students by engaging them in team activities. In the fall of 2018, Carolyn discovered the Passport to Teaching program and was excited to find a wide variety of topics being offered in a workshop/lecture series. She was able to choose topics that appealed to her. Carolyn now plans to participate in the Passport program as one of her annual goals as it is a measurable outcome of engagement.

Diba Mani
Diba Mani, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology
College of Health & Human Performance

• Completed the First Year Faculty Teaching Academy
• Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate recipient
• Faculty Learning Community: Experiential Learning Certificate recipient
• Faculty Learning Community: Active Learning Certificate recipient
• Internationalizing the Curriculum Grant recipient

Dr. Diba Mani is a lecturer in the department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology. Diba has taught classes ranging in size. She values implementing analogies and student engagement to hone in on concepts discussed in lecture material. Diba's course design puts emphasis on recognizing the importance of translating the topics discussed in class to "real life" (#IRL), be it by applying concepts to career and future educational interests, physical activity (sport) engagement, or healthcare experiences.
Diba prioritizes the expansion of student interaction through active learning, having students read, evaluate, discuss, and present scientific articles to their peers, improving their own professional development concurrent to applying course lecture content. Diba also emphasizes the use of analogies to cater to different learning styles and background knowledge students may come into her class with.

Ferol Carytsas
Ferol Carytsas

Lecturer
Center for Arts in Medicine
College of the Arts

• Completed the First Year Faculty Teaching Academy
• Great Teaching for New Faculty Certificate recipient
• Internationalizing the Curriculum Grant recipient
• Runner-up for UFIT Exceptional Course Development award

Ferol joined the faculty of the Center for Arts in Medicine in August 2018. She is a lecturer and the Undergraduate Advisor with the UF Center for Arts in Medicine. Her passion for education stems from her own teachers and her belief that effective teaching is about taking the time to build relationships and establishing an environment where students feel valued and appreciated. Ferol began teaching the undergraduate course, Music and Health, in Fall 2017. Music and Health was runner-up winner for the UFIT Exceptional Course Development award, and the course received one of the UF International Center’s Internationalizing the Curriculum grants.

Roxane Coche
Roxane Coche, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Sports Media and Communication
College of Journalism and Communications

• Completed the First Year Faculty Teaching Academy
• New Faculty Passport to Great Teaching Certificate recipient
• Internationalizing the Curriculum grant recipient

Dr. Roxane Coche was an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Memphis, teaching undergraduate and graduate students in broadcast, sports journalism and entrepreneurial media before coming to UF in 2018. She has developed a variety of exercises and activities to help students understand (and acquire) the many skills necessary to make it in today’s media world. Next semester, she will develop a standard-based grading rubric because it creates an environment that is much closer to the professional industry. Roxane and her colleague Eric Esterline won a $6,000 Internationalizing the Curriculum grant to develop the course, which will be offered for the first time in Spring 2020. The course will include a virtual exchange component, which means that students will collaborate with foreign students during a five-week module.

Sujata Krishna
Sujata Krishna, Ph.D.

Lecturer
Department of Physics
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

• Completed the First Year Faculty Teaching Academy
• New Faculty Passport to Great Teaching recipient
• Passport to Great Teaching recipient
• Digital Literacy Faculty Learning Community recipient
• Pathways to Teaching Excellence Master Reviewer

Dr. Sujata Krishna joined the University of Florida in Fall 2018 and enjoys interacting with students inside and outside class. She has had the opportunity to teach a variety of classes such as large courses in a traditional auditorium, smaller classes, online lecture and lab courses. Sujata likes to engage students in classroom conversations and encourages students to participate, even when they might only have an educated guess. Student participation keeps the learning active and brings to light any misconceptions. She keeps her course content exciting and current by including hot-off-the-press physics in a simplified way.

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