Excellence in Teaching
George RichardsonThe Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes faculty members for their skill, innovation, and dedication to teaching and academic advising.
An internationally renowned scholar of system dynamics theory, practice, and education with a strong record of service to both the University and his profession, George Richardson considers teaching to be his No. 1 priority. Richardson, a professor of public administration, public policy, and information science, has served the University for 14 years in various roles. He was the director of the master’s program in public affairs and policy for two years, the director of the Ph.D. program in public administration for four years, and the director of the Certificate Program for Advanced Study in Planning and Policy Analysis for nine years. Richardson chaired the Department of Public Administration and Policy from 1998 to 2001.
The adviser for two national award-winning dissertations, Richardson received the 1985 and 1993 Jay Wright Forrester awards, given by the System Dynamics Society for the most important written contributions in the field selected over the previous five years. He was also honored with the National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship in Science Applied to Societal Problems in 1974, and was a finalist for several awards in his field in 1999 and 1991. Richardson has written or edited 10 book-length volumes and 36 book chapters or articles. Much of his writing targets the development of theory and education, or what has been called the scholarship of teaching.
Numerous letters were sent in support of Richardson, and most center on his extraordinary teaching abilities. Professor David Andersen was extremely impressed by Richardson’s teaching style and identified its key qualities. “His courses have absolutely the best content in them,” he said. “He sets high standards for students. His course materials are extremely well organized. Even though he presents state-of-the-art material, sets high standards, is well organized, and has a diverse and interesting set of classroom behaviors and approaches, perhaps his best teaching attribute is his open and giving nature. George’s door is always open to his students.”
Richardson is known as a masterful classroom performer who is always organized and well prepared. A former student wrote that his lesson plans are carefully crafted to build knowledge incrementally, although he recycles key concepts frequently to ensure that they sink in. In addition, he invites participation, asks questions to check comprehension, and incorporates in-class group exercises that allow students to apply new concepts.
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