Montana State University

MSU instructor earns online teaching award

August 9, 2016 -- MSU News Service

John Townsend-Mehler, an academic advisor and instructor in Montana State University’s Liberal Studies program, has been awarded the second annual Online Teaching Award from MSU’s online degree completion program in liberal studies. MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

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BOZEMAN— John Townsend-Mehler, an academic adviser and instructor in Montana State University’s liberal studies program, has been awarded the second annual online teaching award from MSU’s online degree completion program in liberal studies.

The Liberal Studies Online Teaching Award was established in 2015 by Tami Eitle, then director of liberal studies. It was created to acknowledge the contribution of talented instructors who contribute to the program.

“I’m honored to win this award, particularly in light of how many talented instructors we have in the program,” said Townsend-Mehler. “I’ve been teaching for a little over 10 years, and I’ve been impressed with the dedication of our online students and their ability to balance schoolwork with jobs and family. Teaching in the liberal studies online program has been a very rewarding experience.”

Townsend-Mehler teaches LS101US “Ways of Knowing – Gods and Monsters: The evolution and future of science,” LS401 “Senior Project” and other online courses, including LS301 “Warp Drives, Replicants and Light Sabers: Art and Science of Science Fiction” and LS450 “Evolution and Public Opinion. Townsend-Mehler also teaches for youth outreach programs through MSU Extended University.

Multiple students nominated Townsend-Mehler for the 2016 award, applauding the organization of his courses, the clarity of his instruction, his responsiveness to students and his passion for the material. Some students mentioned that his courses challenged them to engage with both the material and one another and to learn new material and apply it to different situations. Many said they came away from his courses with a much greater appreciation of the values of an interdisciplinary approach.

“We feel fortunate to have such an incredibly dedicated and talented instructor working in both the on-campus and online liberal studies program,” said Jordy Hendrikx, director of liberal studies.  

The bachelor’s degree completion program was created in 2012 to help students with 60 or more credits (from MSU or another institution) complete their bachelor’s degree in liberal studies through online coursework. Twenty students have completed the program and earned their bachelor’s degrees since the program’s inception.    

Contact: Jordy Hendrikx, director of liberal studies, (406) 994-6918, jordy.hendrikx@montana.edu