Christine Corr Kiewra receives 2022 Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence
17 Mar 2022
The College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has named Christine Corr Kiewra, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF), the recipient of the 2022 Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence.
Funded by a generous gift from Donald R. Swanson, the award honors exemplary teaching in CEHS, and carries a $12,500 cash award.
Kiewra has over 20 years of experience in various roles within early childhood care and education. Prior to coming to the university in 2018, she amassed experience teaching in the classroom, collaborating with families, providing coaching and professional development for teachers, and being a program administrator. At UNL she teaches four courses each semester and has taught seven different courses in CYAF, including Lifespan Human Development, Child Development, Curriculum Planning in Early Childhood Education, Assessment in Early Childhood, and Early Childhood Coaching. She has also mentored twelve doctoral students in semester-long teaching experiences as the students prepare for careers teaching at the college level.
Her approach to supporting adult learners stems from the idea that the students need to see how class lessons are relevant to their lives now and in future careers.
“Two consistent teaching goals in my time at UNL are first to support students in recognizing the relevance of the content we learn to their future academic and professional careers,” Kiewra said. “The second is specific to teacher-preparation courses and is to support current and future educators in their ability to recognize the potential for joy and gratitude available to them in education-related careers.”
Her commitment to these goals are reflected in student feedback and consistently high evaluations for the courses she has taught.
“The projects that Professor Kiewra had us complete throughout the course were amazing building blocks for real life practice,” shared one of Kiewra’s students. “She did not make them difficult to complete and yet they were extremely beneficial in learning skills for assessment of children.”
Kiewra also values continuous learning and builds this into her teaching practices. She gathers student feedback throughout the semester and analyzes it to hone her methods, assignments, and assessments. During CYAF 160: Human Development and the Family, Kiewra experimented with students working in small “community” groups to help students in the large enrollment course build connections and foster collaboration. She intended to create new communities mid-semester to help introduce students to new acquaintances. However, based off of mid-semester feedback surveys, students expressed a clear preference for staying in their original communities because of the relationships they had built. Her original goals were being met even more strongly than she had anticipated, and Kiewra kept the original communities intact.
“I learned a lot in this course and felt as if our teacher worked really hard to make the information interesting and relevant to our lives,” noted another of Kiewra’s students. “I also loved my community; it made the class feel smaller.
Kiewra will be honored at the Swanson Award Reception on March 25 at the Nebraska Union.
College of Education and Human Sciences
Child, Youth and Family Studies