Katherine Cennamo, professor of learning sciences and technologies, and Gerard Lawson, associate professor of counselor education, were each presented with the 2014 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award. 

Both recipients are faculty in School of Education in Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research presents the award annually to one or two Virginia Tech faculty members who have shown ongoing dedication to scholarship in the realm of higher education teaching and learning.

Katherine Cennamo

A member of the Virginia Tech community for 18 years, Cennamo specializes in instructional design and technology. She has conducted extensive research on the practice of instructional design, which looks at how educators can structure their teaching in a way that maximizes student learning.

“I am advancing our understanding of how learning theories can impact the design of instructional activities for post-secondary learners, as well as refining our theoretical understanding through an examination of higher-education pedagogy,” Cennamo said. “This is important to all of us in higher education who seek to identify instructional actions that will optimize desired instructional outcomes.”

Cennamo’s roles as researcher and teacher have been complementary. Along with designing technology-based instructional materials and investigating effective instructional practices, she has used this knowledge to prepare her students to be future instructional design professionals.

“My research has impacted my teaching and the teaching of others; likewise, my teaching has informed my scholarship,” said Cennamo.

Cennamo received her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

Gerard Lawson

Gerard Lawson, a Virginia Tech faculty member since 2002, specializes in counselor education.

Lawson's research focuses on a specific kind of teaching called “supervision,” specifically triadic supervision. This tutorial, mentoring type of teaching is used in counselor education. A supervisor in the profession monitors and evaluates the work of two counseling students while ensuring that quality service is provided to clients.

Lawson was the first to provide a research-driven and theoretical basis on how triadic supervision could be used to most benefit the learner.

“Lawson is a developmentalist by nature and by theory, which pervades his approach to teaching, to research and to the outreach he offers to professional counselors,” noted Nancy Bodenhorn, associate director of the School of Education.

Putting his research into practice, Lawson created workshops on clinical supervision that have been held across Virginia. More than 600 professional counselors have attended these workshops to learn how to better supervise counselors who are still in the pre-licensure process.  

“Through his workshops, Lawson has ensured that the supervision that is provided throughout the commonwealth is at a quality level, and has expanded the number of people who can provide supervision, which used to be an access issue, especially in rural areas,” Bodenhorn said.

Lawson received his bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech, a master's degree from Longwood University, and a Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary.

To learn more about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, contact the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research.

Written by Rebecca Robertson of Richmond, Virginia, a junior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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