Gillings School recognizes outstanding teachers with Innovation Awards

February 23, 2016

The University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health community gathered in Armfield Atrium on Feb. 22 to celebrate eight faculty members – one from each academic unit – who were presented with UNC Gillings’ fifth annual Teaching Innovation Awards.

2016 Teaching Award winners

Left to right are award-winning teachers Dr. Amy Herring (BIOS), Dr. Howard Weinberg (ESE), Dr. Geni Eng (HB), Dr. Brian Pence (EPID) at top, Amanda Holliday (NUTR) at bottom, Dr. Anna Schenck (PHLP), Aimee McHale Wayling (HPM), and Dr. Christine Tucker (MCH).

The 2016 awardees are Geni Eng, DrPH, professor of health behavior; Amy Herring, ScD, Carol Remmer Angle Distinguished Professor of Children’s Environmental Health and associate chair of biostatistics; Amanda Holliday, MS, clinical assistant professor of nutrition and director of the Practice Advancement and Continuing Education Division; Brian Pence, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology; Anna Schenck, PhD, Professor of the Practice of public health leadership, director of the Public Health Leadership Program and the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, and associate dean for practice at the Gillings School; Christine Tucker, PhD, research assistant professor of maternal and child health; Howard Weinberg, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering; and Aimee McHale Wayling, JD, MSPH, adjunct instructor of health policy and management.

Herring, Holliday, Pence and Tucker also won the award in previous years.

First presented in February 2012, the student-organized Teaching Innovation Awards honor faculty members who students feel “improve the learning environment at the Gillings School by integrating new technologies, engaging students in interactive activities, employing creative assessment methods, and introducing and incorporating progressive curriculum ideas into the classroom.”

A $1,000 prize is intended to help each winner advance his or her educational development in teaching and learning.

The teaching innovation initiative developed out of the Gillings School’s SPH2020 efforts and through a teaching and learning task force held at the School in 2011. The task force recommended identification, encouragement and reward of high-quality teaching; enhanced technology and applications for teaching and learning; and identification and support of faculty members who are early adopters of curriculum innovation.

The awards presentation followed a faculty teaching showcase that took the form of a progressive lunch with “lightning talks” offered at each food station. Faculty who shared pedagogical innovations included Brian Pence, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, who spoke on facilitating group work; Karin Yeatts, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, and Shelley Golden, PhD, assistant professor of health behavior, who presented on co-designing a course with new competencies; Jane Monaco, DrPH, associate professor of biostatistics, and Todd Schwartz, DrPH, research associate professor of biostatistics, who offered lessons on flipping the classroom; and Ashley Ward, PhD, lecturer in UNC’s geography department, who shared the technology behind the Davis Library Liquid Galaxy, a surround-screen immersive digital display.

Laura Linnan, ScD, professor of health behavior and associate dean for academic and student affairs at the Gillings School, presented the awards. As Linnan announce each recipient, she read glowing comments from their student nomination forms.

The Gillings School’s academic programs committee sponsored these events and an earlier ‘Celebrate Teaching!’ panel on media and ethics. One more event in the series is scheduled for Feb. 29 at noon in 0001 Michael Hooker Research Center (Blue Cross Blue Shield Auditorium).

All Gillings School community members are invited at that time to hear a presentation on “Strategies and Best Practices in Classroom Minority Inclusion and Success” by Sharbari Dey, MSW, assistant director of education and special initiatives for the UNC Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. (Online registration is required by Feb 26.)

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or