Elizabethtown College professor earns annual award, chance to lecture
October 11, 2018   //   By:   //   Achievements, Campus and Community

An engineering and physics professor at Elizabethtown College said he is “overwhelmed” to receive an annual award from the College.

Kurt DeGoede is the recipient of E-town’s 2018 Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence. As part of the award, DeGoede will speak at the 2018 Annual Kreider Lecture.

DeGoede’s lecture, “Still Learning: continuous improvement in engineering and teaching,” will reflect on his 18 years at the College, detailing the development of his classroom teaching styles. More recent styles include unique teaching spaces, in-class coaching sessions, discussion-based analytic homework sets and Mastery-Based grading schemes.

I feel overwhelmed by this award.”

All of his topics come down to one theme: making the best decision in an ambiguous situation.

Fitting with the theme, DeGoede’s “just-in-time” preparation style will leave the specifics of his lecture open to alterations until the day he presents. DeGoede’s process allows for his lecture to evolve naturally and feel less scripted.

“I look at the lecture as an opportunity to both reflect on 18 wonderful years at Elizabethtown College and highlight a few of the strategies I am using to improve my courses and teaching methods today,” the professor said.

The Kreider Lecture is an annual event, serving as an award to a current Elizabethtown College faculty member whose excellence in teaching and mentoring has made him or her stand out in the campus community.

DeGoede said he has “had the distinct pleasure” of attending seminars by the Kreider’s, and has bonded with previous Kreider Lecturers. Among those lecturers are Oya Dursun-Ozkanca, associate professor of political science, and Robert Spence, director of instrumental studies.

This award is a perfect fit for DeGoede—according to the professor, students have found his classes to be equal parts challenging and rewarding.

“A former Dynamics student, now a professor, describes the course to his students as ‘both the hardest course I ever took and the best course I ever took,’” DeGoede said.

The challenging aspects of his courses are purposeful, according to DeGoede. No matter how difficult the class, the professor provides support and coaching to all of his students. His mentorship reflects that of J. Kenneth Kreider, a professor of history emeritus, and Carroll L. Kreider, a professor of business emerita. According to the Kreider Prize description, the namesake professors were known “for their inspirational service to countless students at Elizabethtown College.”

According to DeGoede, the Kreider’s were “personal mentors and valued friends for many years,” making this award all the more meaningful.

DeGoede’s mentorship is not limited to his role as a college professor. He is a leader to student members of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the cross country teams and the cycling club. The professor has also gone abroad with students to conduct research and product development in West Africa.

The 2018 Annual Kreider Lecture takes place at 7 p.m. October 11 in the Susquehanna Room of Myer Hall. DeGoede’s lecture is free and open to the public.

About the Author :

Rebecca Easton is a junior at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She is currently studying English with a concentration in professional writing, and is pursuing a double minor in communications and business administration. Her primary interests in these fields include journalistic writing, copy editing and marketing. She currently works for the Elizabethtown College Center for Student Success as a writing tutor. She also works for the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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