Topic: College of Sciences and Humanities
June 6, 2008
To be honored by her peers with Ball State's Lawhead Award for Teaching in the University Core Curriculum is a delight for Robin Rufatto.
"I was thrilled when I read the letter that I'd won," said Rufatto, a mathematical sciences instructor who has been working at Ball State since 1980. "I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for the committee members that I know. To think that they consider me worthy of this award humbles me."
The Lawhead Award is presented annually and is based on a teaching evaluation, contribution to the core curriculum, freshman activities, service to the community and support letters from faculty and students. The award was established courtesy of gifts from Victor Lawhead, former dean of Ball State's undergraduate programs, and his wife, Doris Lawhead, a former academic adviser.
Rufatto, who teaches courses that range from intermediate algebra to math applications, said she believes the value of a university's core curriculum is multi-faceted.
"It provides students a peak at a variety of disciplines they've never seen before," she said. "Few, if any, high schools have the time or resources to offer classes in anthropology, Japanese, political science, or classical cultures, to name just a few. How can a young person know if one of these areas is just what they're looking for if they've never been exposed to it?"
As an instructor who teaches numerous core curriculum courses, Rufatto said one of the elements she enjoys most about the role is working with new freshmen each fall.
"When these students walk into their classrooms that first week, they're feeling so many things," she said. "I consider it a huge privilege and responsibility to be one of the first instructors they meet. When they walk out of my classroom that first day, I want them to know that, if they work really hard, they can be successful in my class."