HES Faculty Honored with NC State Teaching Awards
Tommy Holden and Kari Lewis receive university teaching awards for their commitment to educational excellence.
Tommy Holden – Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award
The Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award, coordinated by the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and the Office for Faculty Excellence, is one of the most prestigious undergraduate teaching awards at NC State University.
Each year, NC State seeks to recognize teaching excellence by requesting that each college nominates exceptional faculty members as their representative for the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award. To be considered for this award, the nominee must be a full-time faculty member, a former recipient of the Outstanding Teacher Award, and have a nomination package submitted, consisting of course materials, class evaluations, letters of support from students and peers, along with other required documentation.
This year, Tommy Holden, teaching professor for the Department of Health and Exercise Studies, has been selected as the recipient for the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award at the university level.
An NC State alumnus and instructor with HES since 2002, Holden teaches a variety of courses for the department, including many that are required for the outdoor leadership minor. Over the years, he has been recognized for sharing his profound passion and love for the outdoors with his students, and even inspiring many of them to pursue a career in the outdoor leadership industry.
After being awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2019, Holden delved deeper into his own teaching philosophy.
“The students at NC State are incredibly smart. I’m inspired by our students constantly,” said Holden. “They could have chosen to attend any school in higher education, but they chose NC State. I feel it is our responsibility as faculty to engage them, have them think critically, make learning fun and exciting and promote their health and wellbeing as a whole student.”
Upon receiving the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award in spring 2022, Holden described how his methods have evolved over the years, particularly while teaching remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 challenged my teaching in more ways than I could have ever imagined. At the beginning of the pandemic, I thought I had a good handle on how to facilitate the learning process for my classes, but shifting all of our classes to an online environment really made me rethink how to teach, engage and create meaningful experiences and communities for students. I, like so many others in our department, really poured a great deal of energy into maintaining a high caliber of instruction and accountability in an online environment.”
Holden reiterated that while he is excited to be teaching in an in-person setting again, he has not completely discarded some of the methods he developed while teaching online. “Needless to say, I’m happy to be instructing in an in-person environment again, but there are many concepts I’ve learned during instructing online that I’ve incorporated into my in-person classes.”
Holden went on to share his immense gratitude for being nominated for the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award. “I’m just happy to be able to represent HES for this award because there are so many incredibly talented faculty in our department.”
Holden will be named an “Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor” and will retain that title for as long as he remains a member of the NC State faculty.
Congratulations to professor Holden on receiving the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Award, and thank you for all the contributions you’ve made to the Department of Health and Exercise Studies.
Kari Lewis – Outstanding Teacher Award
The Outstanding Teacher Award recognizes excellence in teaching at all levels. Nominations for this award typically originate within the faculty’s department and are forwarded to the college-level awards committee for consideration. From there, college nominees are put forth for university-level recognition.
To be considered for the Outstanding Teacher Award, the faculty nominee must be a full-time faculty member, must have taught at least 15 student credit hours at NC State, and must have a nomination package submitted, consisting of course materials, class evaluations, letters of support from students and peers, along with other required documentation.
This year, Kari Lewis, associate teaching professor for the Department of Health and Exercise Studies, has been selected as the recipient for the Outstanding Teaching Award at the university level.
A faculty member with HES since January 1988, Lewis has taught a wide variety of fitness-based courses for the department, including HESS 237 Weight Training, HESF 107 Run Conditioning, HESM 284 Women’s Health Issues, and HESF 101 Fitness and Wellness. She has also been widely-recognized for her outstanding work in the field of adapted physical education, particularly catering to the needs of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Lewis’ colleagues and students both shared their overwhelming support of her as an outstanding teacher.
Joy Kagendo, who has worked alongside Lewis since 1998, stated that Lewis was one of the first faculty members who took it upon themselves to mentor her and extend a helping hand if she needed one.
“Kari’s dossier is rich with so many of her accomplishments and contributions to NC State University and the community,” Kagendo remarked. “She practices what she preaches by staying physically fit and intellectually challenging herself through workshops, presentations and continuing education. Her work speaks for itself and I am proud to call her a colleague and a friend.”
Katie Jones-Kindborg, one of Lewis’ former students, recalled how Lewis’ support encouraged her inside and outside of the classroom.
“Every student, regardless of their inherent academic ability, is able to feel successful in her classroom,” said Jones-Kindborg. “Dr. Lewis’ support for student success permeated in all aspects of my life while I was a student at NC State. I felt very proud of what I could accomplish as a student and a student leader because of her.”
Upon receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award, Lewis shared, “Personally, I’m honored to be recognized as an outstanding teacher. I’m very appreciative of my colleagues and students that wrote letters of support. On a bigger scale, receiving this award helps us as a department to be recognized within the university as a department with outstanding teachers.”
Following the fall 2021 semester, Lewis announced her retirement after 33 years with the Department of Health and Exercise Studies. As an integral cornerstone of the department, her presence will be deeply missed and appreciated for years to come.
Congratulations to Kari Lewis on receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award and for 33 years of teaching excellence in HES.