Soo-Young Hong receives 2021 Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence
16 Apr 2021
The College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has named Soo-Young Hong, associate professor in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies, the recipient of the 2021 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.
Hong has been at the university since 2009, teaching several in-person and online courses in both the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies and Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. She has developed 16 courses in collaboration with Great Plains IDEA consortium partners for the Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society online bachelor’s program and is currently developing four courses with partners for the Early Childhood and Family Policy online master’s certificate program. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Hong was named CEHS Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the fall of 2020.
Hong holds high standards for student performance and works to support all students in in meeting those standards.
“I spend sufficient amount of time at the beginning of the semester to help students feel welcomed, appreciated, respected, understood and comfortable,” Hong said. “Once students feel comfortable and respected, it becomes much easier for me to express my expectations and hold students accountable without making them feel pressured or stressed.”
Hong has received consistently high course evaluations for all of the courses she has taught. Students appreciate the extra effort she takes to learn about and build relationships with them. This allows her to support students and link the course content to relevant experiences.
“The work felt meaningful and important because she related it to what was important to her students,” one nominator wrote. “This emphasis made the content come alive in ways that promoted future interest and learning – interest that lasted far beyond the classroom or semester.”
In addition to building relationships, Hong spends a considerable amount of time carefully orchestrating students’ learning experience and her own teaching experience to encourage engaged, active and continuous learning. She enjoys engaging students in activities that require multiple modes of learning, such as physical movement and drawing diagrams. In CYAF 972, Theories of Human Development and Family Relations, Hong asks students to create an infographic explaining the bioecological model of human development to a specific audience.
“This not only encourages students to critically think about the theory, but also build skills to communicate the learned knowledge with lay individuals,” she said.
Hong will be recognized at the Swanson Award Reception in the fall.
College of Education and Human Sciences
Child, Youth and Family Studies