Cato College of Education professor Drew Polly is a 2018 finalist for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, one of UNC Charlotte’s most prestigious honors.
Polly, a professor of reading and elementary education, said his teaching philosophy is guided by three primary themes: a learner-centered curriculum and pedagogy where students are actively engaged, have ownership of their learning and engage in activities based on their needs and interests; a rigorous curriculum that requires them to apply content directly in the context of practice, utilizing higher-order thinking skills; and experiences directly informed by and connected to the work being conducted in public schools.
“I believe learning is an ongoing process that occurs by personalizing and making sense of concepts and knowledge that people encounter through meaningful experiences,” he said. “Sometimes a lot of the learning process occurs as individuals apply their new knowledge and skills in situations or activities. In the field of education, specifically teaching future teachers, this point is critical.”
First presented in 1968, the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding faculty members at UNC Charlotte. It was established in response to a suggestion by the staff of the student literary magazine. Bonnie E. Cone and W. Hugh McEniry, vice chancellors at the time, endorsed the students' proposal for the annual award and presented it to Chancellor Dean Colvard. He found financial support for the award through the generosity of Addison Reese and NCNB, a predecessor to NationsBank and Bank of America.
A celebration honoring the finalists and announcing the winner is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7.