Baylor Faculty Earn Centennial Professor Awards

April 27, 2016

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Contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321
WACO, Texas (April 29, 2016) – Sandra Cooper, Ph.D., professor and coordinator of the mathematics education program in Baylor University's School of Education, and Steven Pounders, M.F.A., professor of acting and directing in the theatre arts department in the College of Arts and Sciences, have been selected as recipients of the 2016 Baylor Centennial Professor Awards.
Created by the Baylor Centennial Class of 1945, the award provides tenured professors with $5,000 for research projects that will facilitate more in-depth study in his or her field.
Cooper will use the award to fund a study that will define highly effective elementary school mathematics teachers. She will use her research to improve her early education courses and better teach her students – future educators themselves – what they can do to establish math skills early on in their students' lives.
"I'm quite honored and pleased I'll have the opportunity to engage in this project," Cooper said. "This work will really contribute to my ability to revise my course to help prepare future elementary teachers. I have a list of excellent elementary math teachers, several from Texas, and I plan to interview them to learn about their background, their teaching philosophies, how they organized their instruction and how they build relationships with children, what makes them stand above others. I'll take that data and build a profile of what makes an effective elementary mathematics teacher and use that to help plan my courses."
Cooper was a sixth-grade teacher before she became a professor at Baylor.
"I've always been passionate about early grade math – Pre-K to third grade – because that’s where children build a foundation of mathematics that helps them later in life," Cooper said. "I think the best math teachers need to be the ones teaching those early grades, who understand how basic math should be taught, because there are methods that are more effective than others."
Pounders will use the award to complete a Meisner Certificate Training Program offered by the True Acting Institute at Williamette University in Salem, Oregon. He will use his certification to create a course in Meisner acting for Baylor theatre arts students.
"I was very excited to win the award," Pounders said. "I'd been planning a sabbatical from the summer of 2017 for quite some time, and I knew the certification would be beneficial for my students. It will be a new technique for getting at honesty in acting. I've had tastes of this training before, and I'm excited to take the full course, but I'm most looking forward to coming back to Baylor and developing a training program for my students. Whatever experiences I have are bolstered by seeing the energy students bring when they are trying things for the first time."
by Jenna Press, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.