2017 top teachers

Rita Chen is one of six UWL faculty members being recognized for excellence in teaching.

First in a series of profiles on this year’s Eagle Teaching Excellence Award winners

Six UW-La Crosse faculty members are being recognized for excellence in teaching. They are the 2017 Eagle Teaching Excellence Award winners. This year the Provost Office received approximately 800 teacher nominations from UWL students. A UWL committee selected the winners.

Winners were announced at the end of spring semester and as part of spring commencement. They will be recognized among colleagues at the Chancellor’s All-University Address in fall.

This year’s winners are:

  • Gwen Achenreiner ~ Marketing
  • Rita Chen ~ Education Studies
  • Faye Ellis ~ Biology
  • Gary Gilmore ~ Health Education/Health Promotion
  • Brad Nichols ~ Art
  • Lindsay Steiner ~ English

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of short profiles recognizing the six faculty to receive the Eagle Teaching Excellence Award.

Rita Chen, associate professor, Department of Educational Studies 

“Rita Chen is the definition of excellent. She has made this semester my favorite one at UWL. Her passion for what she does makes a huge difference in the lives’ of her students. She goes out of her way to help, encourage, and prepare her students for their future endeavors of teaching! Rita was always an email away and able to help with anything. Not only did she help prepare students for teaching and make the first field experience the best it could be, she also helped me find what kind of teacher I want to be, as well as prepare her students for the FORT test. Without Dr. Chen’s help I am confident that a majority of the students from class would not be ready or equipped with the skills that we are today.”

-UWL student Jennifer Michalke

Rita Chen file:

Years at UWL: 8 years

Teaches: I teach literacy courses and supervise teacher candidates in public schools. I teach four major courses: Foundations of Literacy; Teaching Language and Literacy; Field Experience One; and Teaching for Social Justice through Service Learning. I run the Eagle Bluff Professional Development School site where K-5 public school teachers work with me to prepare pre-service teachers to learn to teach and assess students’ literacy skills.

History: I was an elementary school teacher for six plus years, teaching English language learners in Taiwan. I also taught immigrant children and adults in Bloomington, Indiana. I earned my doctoral degree in Language and Literacy Education from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Favorite part of teaching: I feel very fortunate to be a teacher educator who prepares future generations of teaching professionals. The best part of my job is to work with a group of students who want to be teachers, are not daunted by responsibility and challenges weighing upon their shoulders, and cannot wait to experience the energy of teaching children in schools! My students make EVERY day in the classroom unique, hilarious and meaningful for us all. Just thinking about all the wonderful teachers who have graduated from UWL makes me proud of my job!