May 2021 – Drew University announced the 2021 teachers of the year in the College of Liberal Arts, Theological School, and Caspersen School of Graduate Studies during its virtual 2021 Commencement ceremony.
The winners, Tammy Windfelder, Mark A. Miller, and Steven Firestone, were nominated by students and selected by their deans and university president based on performance and student evaluations.
Congratulations to these stellar examples of Drew’s extraordinary faculty.
Tammy Windfelder, Associate Professor of Biology, is the winner of the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts. “Her classes are nothing but fun and exciting, and she makes learning enjoyable,” said one student. “Dr. Windfelder is an amazing professor who truly listens to and cares about her students,” said another. “Dr. Windfelder has not only made a profound impact on my undergraduate experience, but has helped me be prepared for my career after college,” said yet another. Common themes among Dr. Windfelder’s many nominations were her kindness, compassion, understanding, and positivity, in addition to praise for integrating extracurricular activities and immersive experiences to coursework, and managing to seamlessly move a hands-on subject like biology into a virtual setting.
Mark A. Miller, Associate Professor of Church Music, Director of Craig Chapel, and Composer-in-Residence, is the recipient of the Theological School Scholar/Teacher of the Year. Professor Miller is a beloved and inspiring part of the Drew community, as evidenced in the words of his students and advisees. “He is one-of-a-kind,” said one advisee, who added, “He revealed to me my potential and helped me realize that I really can do anything I set my mind to.” Another student said, “He goes the extra mile to see the learners understand the subject. He carries everybody along and we all feel dignified while learning.” Said yet another, “Professor Miller is drop-dead brilliant. He encourages you to think outside the box in both written and verbal contributions to the class.” One more nominating student noted how Professor Miller’s songs capture the Drew experience and the values of the school. “Whenever I hear or sing these songs,” said the student, “I remember what I learned at Drew and what deeply moved me to pursue justice-seeking education and ministry.”
Steven Firestone, Director of the Master of Science in Finance program and Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance, is the Thomas H. Kean Scholar/Mentor of the Year Award in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies. “Professor Firestone is an amazing educator, mentor, and individual. He puts his everything into classes and the program, meeting with students to help them succeed, making introductions to people in the industry, and working around the clock to try to secure internships for all students,” said one student. “He is one of the most selfless individuals I’ve met in my professional career, whether it’s meeting with students on a Sunday afternoon to help prepare for an interview the next Monday, or working around the clock to secure internships for all students,” said another nominating student. One more said, “He has been one of the most involved and dedicated professors I have ever been around. He does everything in his power to ensure that students in the program are set up for success when they graduate.”