Dr. Jessica Kimmel, professor of graduate studies and recipient of the Presidential Teaching Award with UIW President Dr. Louis Agnese.

Dr. Jessica Kimmel, professor of graduate studies, was honored with the 2012 Presidential Teaching Award on Friday, March 30 at the Faculty Appreciation Luncheon.

The annual award acknowledges and rewards a full-time faculty member who exemplifies excellence in teaching that leads to student engagement. Colleagues, current students and alumni make the nominations for the award by sharing why the nominee deserves to be selected.

“Teaching at UIW is up there at the top with faculty performance,” Kimmel said. “The university asks for us to be good teachers, rewards faculty and supports them.”

Kimmel understands students and the pressures they are under. She believes that problem solving to help students makes for good teaching and advising, rather than just drawing a line and saying “this is how it has to be.”

“As faculty, we have to understand these pressures and help our students figure out a way to do it and Incarnate Word is a place where finding solutions for students is encouraged,” she said. “We offer that when a lot of schools do not – this is what makes UIW student friendly.”

As part of the award, UIW President Dr. Louis Agnese also presented a $5,000 stipend to Kimmel and she will now be a member of the selection committee in succeeding years.

“This is a wonderful award for the president, faculty and administration to give, and as part of the committee to select future recipients I would look for those who take a narrow discipline and work it outward with their students to find a way to get them involved,” Kimmel said. “Then there is the effect of the Mission on students – we have faculty who will take 50 students on Mission trips over spring break. At UIW, you see there is a respect for academia and faculty from our students because it is mutual.”