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Niagara University names 2014 teaching award winners

by jmaloni

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Fri, Aug 29th 2014 04:25 pm

Two Niagara University faculty members were recognized this morning for the outstanding quality of their teaching.

Ed Hutton, assistant professor of finance, was presented with the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award, while Stefanie Wichhart, Ph.D., associate professor history, received the Innovation in Teaching Award.

Candidates for the honors are nominated by their peers, with winners then chosen from a committee comprised of the awards' previous recipients.

Hutton worked for many years in the financial service industry, providing him with the real-world experience that captures students' attention. The award selection committee noted his ability to engage students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Hutton is described as a professor who will go the extra mile to help students understand the complex quantitative and analytical material required of finance students.

"Ed's innovative assignments compel active learning and bring his business world experience - including stints at some of the region's leading banks and financial institutions - into the classroom," said Thomas Chambers, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, programs and policy.

Hutton oversees Niagara University's financial services laboratory and has developed a certified public accountant certificate program at NU. An East Aurora resident, Hutton earned degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology (B.A., chemistry), Canisius College (MBA) and SUNY Buffalo (M.S., financial economics).

Wichhart rules the historical discussion in her classroom, often as King Henry VIII. The eight-year NU professor uses creative techniques such as classroom simulations, where students assume the role of historical figures to understand the complexity and contingency of past events, like England's Parliament, to bring history to life.

"Stefanie is truly befitting of an award for innovation, as she is not content to have students simply read books and write papers," Chambers said. "She is just as apt to involve them in historical research and video simulcasts with college students in Egypt."

Wichhart, a Cambria native, teaches courses on English history, the modern Middle East and the Arab-Israeli Crisis. She holds a B.A. from SUNY Geneseo as well as master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.

Hutton is pictured, left, with Timothy M. Downs, Ph.D., named provost and chief academic officer at Niagara University.

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