Excellence in Teaching
Each year, the University at Albany honors special members of its community with Excellence Awards denoting exceptional contributions to the life of the campus. Five faculty members received this tribute in 1999 for Excellence in Teaching.
Andi Lyons, Theatre
Since joining the Department of Theatre faculty in 1982, Andi Lyons has taught 18 different courses, ranging from introductory to advanced graduate level. Nine of these she developed herself. In addition, as lighting designer and head of the department's Technical and Design Program, she participates in the planning and production of every play produced in the department — nearly 300 since she arrived at the University.
Lyons uses these productions to teach students how to apply in practice the ideas they have learned in the classroom and how to deal with challenges creatively. Students are charged with mastering theoretical concepts, be they about light or electricity or drafting. They are then expected to use those concepts in the practical and artistic setting of theatre production.
In lectures, Lyons is acknowledged as a master at condensing and simplifying very complicated and abstract concepts to make them completely accessible to those with little knowledge of the subject. Multimedia presentations, field studies, and student projects are built into virtually all of her instruction.
Overall, Lyons' goal for her students is to awaken their joy of learning and to prepare them to use their discovery to acquire practical skills. She also transmits her enthusiasm and appreciation for all aspects of theater. Her office hours might be best described as "whenever she is not in class." She often advises and mentors students before and after rehearsals, late at night, or on weekends. She encourages her students to contact her at home.
Lyons has been very active professionally. She is a member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and, through its information network, passes on the newest technology in her field to her students. She is vice-commissioner of Programming for Technical Design and in 2000 will become commissioner. She has been active in technical production throughout the region and also has served as consultant at many other theater companies — of great value in helping graduates secure their first professional employment after Albany.
Excellence in Teaching