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 Marchand gets nod for President's Award for Teaching Excellence 



February 26, 2010

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab



Marchand gets nod for President's Award for Teaching Excellence  


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Glowing recommendations and accolades from Slippery Rock University mathematics students and alumni, strong support from fellow faculty and an ability to make difficult concepts understandable have earned Richard Marchand, associate professor of mathematics, this year's President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

           The award will be presented at SRU's annual Academic Honors Convocation at 2 p.m. April 11 in Morrow Field House.

           "I commend you on your accomplishments as an outstanding teacher and am proud that you are a member of our faculty," said SRU President Robert Smith in announcing Marchand's award. "This decision was based on many factors, including your commitment to teaching beyond contractual obligations, a participatory and engaging pedagogy, developing and using innovative classroom practices and your commitment to scholarly growth." 

           Marchand, a member of the SRU mathematics faculty since 2003, received numerous letters of recommendation from students who have taken his courses. 

            "I had Dr. Marchand as a professor in my spring '08 'Calculus III' class. Little did I know that in just a short time, he would change my entire outlook and appreciation on the world of mathematics," wrote one student in her nomination. 

           "Dr. Richard Marchand is as dedicated a professor as I've ever encountered, and his enthusiasm for teaching extends well beyond the walls of the classroom," wrote another, adding, "It's clear that most of the truly enriching experiences of my undergraduate career were directly tied to Dr. Marchand's passion for teaching mathematics. What's more, the three classes I took with him were tremendously rewarding and did much to shape my view of the world�Luckily, excitement is contagious, and as long as Dr. Marchand is teaching, I know there will be SRU students who are truly excited about mathematics."

           Fellow faculty cited Marchand for hosting classes that were "well organized." Class reviews cited, "Dr. Marchand proposed a problem and led the students to make a conjecture about the solution. The students then analyzed graphs of the function and its derivative generated by MAPLE to see that the natural conjecture was incorrect. The quotient rule was introduced by well-chosen examples. The quotient rule was proved and examples were given. The students were given an opportunity to work a problem on their own. Students asked and answered questions. It was a good experience in testing a conjecture."

           Another faculty member observed, "Rich used a combination of lecture and active learning via worksheet problems. In completing the worksheet problems, he called on many students to respond, always by name. He tied the material to real-word examples of false-positive tests. He introduced basic examples via a nicely organized workshop, which enable the students to constructively develop the formulas related to conditional probability. His presentation in general was clear with smooth flow and nice build of materials from basic introduction through the culminating formulae. The students were engaged, involved and actively taking notes. They offered answers and comments."

           A third faculty member, after visiting Marchand's class, wrote, "The class is designed to involve as many students as possible and the instructor did all I can think of possible to get students involved. The students were attentive and took serous notes in order to capture as much of the board information as possible. The instructor has done his part well."

           A review of more than 50 Student Survey of Course Effectiveness reports taken at the end of each semester revealed such comments as:

      "There were many strengths; critical thinking and the class was made fun and enjoyable. Good professor." 

      "His variety of explaining ways to do something so all could understand was excellent; this course makes you think outside the box, something we all need to do. You really can't improve it, it's calculus, you can only find ways to make it more interesting."

      "The strengths of this course are its challenges, but the professor was available for help. Not much can be done for improvement," 

      "Dr. Marchand does an excellent job keeping the class involved while keeping a hardworking learning environment. His teaching style is excellent," and 

      "Very good teacher who really cares and will help in every way."

           In reflecting on his own teaching style, Marchand wrote, "I think the variety of teaching methods that I have learned along the way, including active and cooperative learning techniques, and an emphasis on interdisciplinary applications, have been beneficial to my students�.My teaching has always been predicated on active participation of my students. I am not one to sit and watch life pass me by, and I refuse to let my student do it in my classroom. My goal has always been to actively engage my students in the learning process. I continue to experiment with ways to do just that."

           Marchand has taught 17 different mathematics courses at SRU, including two he developed, "Mathematical Modeling" and "Introduction to Mathematical Software." Two of his students from the "Mathematical Modeling" class went on to compete at the International Mathematical Contest in Modeling and received meritorious raking -joining the top 13 percent in the world.

           He has been honored as Math Professor of the Year at SRU and been previously nominated for the President's Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievement and the Presidents Award for Excellence in Teaching. He received the William T. Hagan Young Scholar Award from CUNY-Fredonia, the Commander's Award for Public Service form the Department of the Army, and the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and Mathematical Association of America Award while at Clarion University.

           He earned his doctorate in applied mathematics at the University of Virginia after earning his undergraduate mathematics degree at Clarion University. He has taught at SUNY College at Fredonia, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the University of Virginia, Clarion University, Clarion Limestone High School and has worked for Johnson Controls in Cleveland, Ohio. He has more than two dozen publications to his credit and has made nearly 60 presentations related to mathematics.

           The annual convocation will also honor spring and fall semester 2009 dean's list students, including those who have earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average. The program will salute the Presidential Undergraduate Scholars in the sophomore, junior and senior class, scholarship recipients, scholar athletes and service-learning scholars.

            The ceremony also includes presentation of the President's Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Achievement and the President Award for Outstanding Service.

A reception will follow in the Grasstex area of the Field House.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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