Dr. Marcy Ziska, Instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is the recipient of the College of Humanities 2023 Distinguished Teaching Award.
“Dr. Marcy Ziska characterizes what we all look for in our undergraduate instructors and mentors: a dedicated and well-grounded individual, a strong and approachable instructor, a disciplined and goal-oriented persona, an exceptional individual, a woman with clear objectives and overall, an outstanding teacher,” wrote Eliud Chuffe, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies. “Due to her exceptional Spanish teaching skills, cultural knowledge, and dedication to our undergraduate students, she has been an inspiration to many students, fellow instructors, and new graduate teaching assistants within our college.”
Ziska began teaching in the department in 2012 and is an instructor in introductory and intermediate language courses. She has focused on assisting students’ transition to college, creating and implementing pedagogical tools to align with meaningful relevancy in students’ lives through use of current technology and digital resources. Having studied in Mexico, Argentina and Spain, she shares her experiences with videos and photos to demonstrate that study abroad is not only possible and helps recruit students to study abroad themselves.
Numerous students wrote letters in support of Ziska’s nomination, citing her enthusiasm and ability to connect with the students to make teaching Spanish more engaging and effective.
“There is not a single educator that is doing better for their students both educationally and socially than Professor Ziska. I thoroughly look forward to coming to her class every day to learn and be a part of a community with my peers. She is the reason that many of us have enjoyed Spanish more than we ever have before and look forward to learning more,” wrote one student.
“Professor Ziska has been one of the greatest instructors I’ve ever had. Before taking Spanish 102 this semester, I came into the course with feelings of dread and anxiety. In high school, Spanish was one of my hardest classes and I felt that despite how much work I was putting into learning the language, I could never understand it. But that all changed when I began this Spanish course with Professor Ziska,” wrote one student. “One of the very first things that I realized about professor Ziska is that she loves teaching Spanish and that she has a passion for teaching students. Due to the excitement she exerts about Spanish in the classroom it gets me excited and engaged in learning the topic.”
“Professor Ziska’s Spanish class has shown me the potential college education courses have to
uplift and support my overall learning. From the first day of class, Spanish 102 has remained one of the hours of my day I know I can look forward to while navigating my education as a first-generation college student,” wrote another. “I look forward to the positive energy Spanish 102 brings to my day. From daily Spanish jokes to foreign music videos, this class makes it clear that learning is far more effective when it is immersive and entertaining.”