Union University
Union University Center for Faculty Development
Center for Faculty Development

Center Programs

Newell Innovative Teaching Award


The Newell Innovative Teaching Award is designed to encourage faculty to try new ideas in the classroom. Faculty members are asked to submit proposals if their innovation meets the following criteria:

  1. It is innovative. This is defined as introducing something new and creative to your classroom that has resulted in significant learning. The proposal should demonstrate true innovation in the discipline. An innovative teaching technique in not merely new for the instructor but for the subject area as a whole.
  2. It is relatively comprehensive in scope. The innovation must have involved changes in the way a subject (not necessarily an entire course) is taught. For example, an activity that transpires in the course of one class does not have the same influence as a pedagogical strategy that evolves over several class sessions.
  3. Classroom innovations must have occurred in the academic year the proposal is submitted.

Selection Process

A five-member committee comprised of the dean of instruction, two past winners and two representatives from the Faculty Development Committee select the first place winner ($500) and up to four honorable mentions ($250).

Rating Form

Submission Guidelines

The proposal should be divided into the following sections:

  1. Description of the project;
  2. How the project differs from current teaching ideas and methods in the field;
  3. Your opinion of the success of the project and how it can be improved.

The award will not be limited to those projects deemed entirely successful by the professor; on the contrary, the instructor may determine that the innovation proved ineffective but can be improved. An innovation will be considered meritorious if it meets the above criteria and is accompanied by a review of its relative strengths and weaknesses.

A cover page should be submitted with the proposal that includes the title of the proposal and the applicant's name. Please do not put your name on the proposal itself. The proposal should be no more than 3-5 pages, double spaced (this includes appendices). Proposals over 5 pages will not be considered. Please be brief and use bullets, boldface, headings and other tools to aid the reader in understanding the project. If the committee needs further information, they will contact the faculty member.

Remember, you are writing for a committee outside your academic discipline. Clarity and brevity are appreciated.

Submit your proposals to the Center for Faculty Development Office by Friday, April 10, 2015. Winners will be announced on Awards Day.

Note: See Suzanne Barham in the Academic Center to view examples of past proposals.

Past Winners







  • Kevin Westbrook, "Strategic Marketing" (winner)
  • Mark Dubis, "An Application of Team-Based Learning to Biblical Studies" (honorable mention)
  • Kim Jones, "Empathy in Patient Care" (honorable mention)
  • Emily Lean, "Increasing the Sustainability of Your Organization" (honorable mention)
  • Fonsie Guilaran, "The Pedagogy of God and General Revelation: Using the SPARK System to Worship God Through Teaching Physical Science as God Taught Adam in Eden" (honorable mention)


  • Kim Jones, "Drug Education: Beyond the Pharmacy Counter and Into the Classroom" (winner)
  • Theresa Blakley and David Burke, "Social Work Live!: Teaching Social Work Practice Using I-tune, Case-based Role-play Across the Curriculum" (honorable mention)
  • Steve Beverly, "JACKSON 24-7: An Innovative Tool to Develop Issues Curiosity, Performance Skills, and Practical Career Experience in Broadcast Journalism Students" (honorable mention)


  • Jay Bernheisel, “The Three Little Pigs and the Materials Engineer” (winner)
  • Anna Clifford, “Children Experiencing the World: Virtual Fieldtrips" (honorable mention)
  • Joshua Veltman, “If You Can’t Beat’em, Join’em: Improving Wikipedia as a Music History Research Project” (honorable mention)


  • Gavin Richardson, “Practical Paleography in the Chaucer Classroom” (winner)
  • G. Jan Wilms, “Using Lego MindStorm Robots to Introduce Students to Programming” (honorable mention)
  • Jeannette Russ, “Beyond the Classroom Walls: Developing Decision-Making Skills in Engineering Economy” (honorable mention)
  • Lisa Medlin, “Medication Administration for Resource Parents as a Component of Community Health” (honorable mention)


  • Patricia Hamilton, “The Pillow Book: Using Ethnology to Foster Worldview Thinking” (winner)
  • Ray Van Neste, “A Textbook-less Approach to Teaching New Testament Survey” (honorable mention)


  • Gene Fant, “An Introduction to Critical Issues Related to the Study of Historical Linguistics” (winner)
  • Thomas Proctor, “Using Systematic Randomization to Mitigate the Effects of Social Loafing in MBA Cohort Small Group Assignments” (honorable mention)
  • Aaron Lee Benson, “Building a Woodfire Kiln” (honorable mention)


  • David McClune, “The Use of Rudolf Laban’s Dance Movements in the Teaching of Conducting" (winner)
  • Bryan Dawson, “A Problems-Based Number Theory Course” (honorable mention)
  • Patty Hamilton, “Writing to Make a Difference: Letters of Advocacy" (honorable mention)
  • Terry Blakley, “Fighting for Socially Just Policies: Taking on the Challenge" (honorable mention)
  • Debbie Newell, "Fraud Detection and Prevention” (honorable mention))


  • Dr. Chris Hail, “Union Math Students Partner with Homeschoolers in the Jackson Community” (winner)
  • Mr. Michael Mallard, “From Word to Image: A Mixed-Media Lesson in Interpretation and Audience” (co-Honorable Mention)
  • Dr. Patty Hamilton “From Word to Image: A Mixed-Media Lesson in Interpretation and Audience” (co-Honorable Mention)
  • Mr. Steve Beverly, "A Consideration of 'After the Storm': Adaptation of a Natural Disaster in an Instant News Documentary" (Honorable Mention)


  • Dr. Matt Lunsford, "An Integrated Approach to Teaching the History of Mathematics" (Winner)
  • Dr. David Gushee, "The Use of Teaching Assistants in the Christian Ethics Program" (Honorable Mention)
  • Dr. James Huggins, "Comparative Anatomy Using Exotic Species and Lab-Based Web Access as a Study Tool" (Honorable Mention))


  • Dr. David Thomas "Perceiving the Past: Broadening Students'  Historical Understanding" (Winner)
  • Dr. Brad Green "Why Should the Smartest People Be 1000 Years Old?: Learning from the Middle Ages" (Honorable Mention)
  • Mr. Steve Beverly "Using Technology for Direct Access to Media Figures" (Honorable Mention)


  • Mr. Michael Mallard "Life Drawing vs. Drawing Life" (Winner)
  • Dr. Jean Marie Walls "The Globalization or Internationalization of Curriculum" (Honorable Mention) 
  • Mrs. Tharon Kirk/Mrs. Cindy Fish "Community Health Project" (Honorable Mention)


  • Dr. Naomi Larsen "Family Budget Analysis Pre and Post Divorce" (Winner)
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Poe "Teaching Minorities Class Through Experiential Learning" (Honorable Mention)
  • Mr. Lee Benson "Truly Hand Made" (Honorable Mention)
  • Dr. Kyle Hathcox "Application of Classroom Physics Principles" (Honorable Mention)
  • Mrs. Anna Clifford "Key Pals in Denmark. . .Tennessee" (Honorable Mention)


  • Mr. Steve Beverly "The Online Study Method and Chat Program" (Co-Winner)
  • Mr. Tony Chiareli "Mock Trial on Race and Ethnic Relations in the United States" (Co-Winner)
  • Dr. Matt Lunsford "An Innovative Capstone Course for Mathematics" (Honorable Mention)
  • Dr. George Guthrie "An Inductive Method for Teaching Intermediate and Advanced Biblical Greek" (Honorable Mention) 
  • Dr. Bevalee Pray "Practical Application of Investment Theory" (Honorable Mention)


  • Ms. Geri Smith "A School Health Partnership: Linking Student Nurse with School Nursing" (Winner) 


  • Dr. Kina Mallard "Supreme Court Simulation Exercise" (Winner)
  • Dr. Barbara McMillan "Using the Computer to Discover Meaning" (Honorable Mention)


  • Mr. Kenneth Holt "Labor/Management Negotiation: An Exercise in Labor Contract Negotiation" (Winner)
  • Dept. Of Music, (submitted by Dr. Andrew Roby) "Music in Lutheran Worship at the time of J.S. Bach" (Honorable Mention)
  • Dr. Bevalee Pray "Bulls and Bears: A Stock Market Simulation" (Honorable Mention)


  • Dr. Lytle Givens "Internationalizing Union's Sociology Curriculum" (Winner)
  • Dr. Barbara McMillin "Grammar Case Studies" (Honorable Mention)


  • Dr. Brent Cunningham "A practical Guide to Research Projects" (Winner)
  • Dr. Kina Mallard "Using Modern Technology to Assess Public Communication Speeches" (Honorable Mention)
  • Mr. Dwayne Jennings "Teaching Calculus with Mathematica as a Laboratory Component" (Honorable Mention)

"Do not assume that mere reading will suffice without fervor, speculation without devotion, investigation without admiration, observation without exaltation, industry without piety, knowledge without love, understanding without humility, study without divine grace."
-St. Bonaventure