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SED Alum Honored as Prof of the Year

Cathleen Stutz (SED’95), an assistant professor at Assumption College, is the 2006 Massachusetts Professor of the Year.

Cathleen Stutz (SED’95), an assistant professor and chair of the department of education at Assumption College, was recently named 2006 Massachusetts Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Stutz, who has taught undergraduate courses at Assumption since 1995, became interested in education as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, where the distinction between “knowing a subject and knowing how to teach a subject,” she says, fascinated her. She came to Boston University to pursue a doctorate in education. “I don’t think I really expected the amount of personal attention I got as a doctorate student at BU,” says Stutz. “The professors were scholars, they were teachers, they were wonderful mentors.” She cites the guidance of advisor Thomas Culliton, an SED professor emeritus of curriculum and teaching, who recommended her for her first teaching fellow position. The two still keep in touch.

At Assumption, in Worcester, Mass., Stutz keeps a teapot in her office, ready to offer a cup to visitors. She likes teaching on a small campus because she can connect easily with students. “I really like pushing students, and I like knowing students well enough that I can speak frankly to them,” she explains. “I like the fact that students know that they can drop in.” Stutz has developed approximately nine courses for the program since 1995 and often reinvents the core courses so that no class ever “seems stale.”

The Professor of the Year Award program was created by the Carnegie Foundation to increase awareness of the importance of undergraduate instruction across all disciplines. Outstanding instructors are honored for their dedication to undergraduate teaching at either the state or the national level.

For Stutz, the best part of her job is the feedback she receives while teaching a class. “I get excited when students have the aha experience,” she says. “I like when they start to recognize that education is not what they thought it was.”

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.