By Tania Hajali
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Using accounting, finance and taxation as her canvas, Professor Theresa Tiggeman has won the Moody Professor Award.
Faculty members annually elect the Moody Professor so it’s considered the highest acknowledgment of one’s peers at the University of the Incarnate Word. The winner receives a $2,000 award.
Besides giving the December commencement address, Tiggeman will have to deliver public lectures at UIW this fall and Our Lady of the Lake University next spring.
Tiggeman, who started the program on campus where accounting students help low-income taxpapers prepare their form, said she believes in a teaching style called collaborative learning. This is a process where the students direct most of their own educational progress through their interactions with other students in the class. This method seems to allow all of her students to succeed, instead of a more standard introverted way of teaching, she said. The only major hurdle to this style of teaching is the shortcomings of the current primary education system.
“Learning takes place when you can make the connection between one thing and another, but you must first know the one thing,” Tiggeman said.
Based on the accomplishments that earned her the Moody Award, Tiggeman said she has worked diligently over the years and found very interesting results from her efforts. She has discovered that dividing up the class so the groups have relatively heterogeneous compositions leads to the greatest opportunity for success and stress-less learning.
She has found if groups are smaller than four, competition and power struggles form between the group members as they attempt to determine the best roles for each member. If the groups are larger than four, then other issues arise. For example, the student who really does not work to support the group, but instead simply uses the efforts of the other group members to hide their own lack of participation.
Brittani Harmyer, a student, said, “Even though accounting is not my favorite subject, it is very comforting to know that there are inspiring professors like Theresa Tiggeman out there trying to engender educational success through collaborating with her students, instead of simply talking at them.”
“The thing I really liked about her is that she’s really good at connecting the dots between the things that most people don’t see to connect,” Professor Patrick Tripp said. “She is very perspective. I think this award is well-deserved.”
“I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving,” student Louis Krahm said. “I love the way she teaches.”
Winning the award was “really nice,” Tiggeman said. “I’m humbled and getting this award was a great opportunity that will allow me to have new research opportunities. It also gives way for more collaboration and new teaching techniques.”