COE professor recognized for commitment to students

Catherine Pangan was officially appointed as the Richard W. Guyer Chair in Education on Oct. 28.

“I was stunned [when I found out I received the position],” Pangan said. “It was really neat because I found out at one of the last College of Education faculty meetings last May,” she said. “They wheeled in this big chair and Ena Shelley, dean of the college of education, said they were going to announce the Guyer Chair winner and they had two special guests to do it.”

Her son entered the room with a bouquet of flowers along with her husband. The position is a teaching award given to junior faculty members of the College of Education every three years. Senior faculty members vote on which faculty member will receive the award.

“I get funds to work with students on professional development projects,” Pangan said. “Anything that the students [find exciting] that deals with teaching and education we can do for the next three years with these funds.”

Pangan said she is looking for student input on what to do with the money.

“I have all sorts of wild and crazy ideas of what I would like to do,” Pangan said. “But first, I want to ask the students what they would like to do and hopefully throw in some of my own ideas.”

The way she involves students played a big role in Pangan’s appointment to the position.

Her colleagues and students agree that she was the right candidate for the Guyer Chair.

“[Pangan] is a gift to the College of Education in so many ways,” Shelley said in a congratulatory video made in honor of Pangan. “Her positive, gracious disposition and passion for teaching and learning are qualities that I deeply admire and respect.

“She represents the best of all of us and I am thankful every day that she is my colleague and friend.”

Pangan is also an inspiration to the students who take her classes.

“The thing I appreciate the most about [Pangan’s] teaching is she embodies the idea that once you are her student, you are always her student,” senior Julie Glenn said. “Even though I took her class last fall I am still emailing her and stopping to talk to her about lessons and resources.”

The time Pangan puts into working with her students keeps her busy.

“I sometimes wonder how she has time to sleep because she is always on the go,” Glenn said. “I love how committed she is and it is fun to see her passion. “She honestly lights up a room and truly makes learning fun.”

Junior Chris Beaman said Pangan is especially good at making people she is working with feel at ease.

“When I had her for introductionto the profession of teaching, it would have been easy for me to sit in a class and be really nervous, but she got all of us involved,” Beaman said. “She had an activity planned for every minute that we were in there because she really wanted to get all of us involved and engaged.”