Lauren Gatti named 2020 Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award recipient

Lauren Gatti named 2020 Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award recipient

02 Nov 2020    

The College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln is proud to award the 2020 Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Excellence in Teaching to Lauren Gatti, associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education. The annual award honors a professor that encourages engaged, active and continuous learning; holds high standards for student performance while providing attentive support to all students in meeting those standards; and consistently works to improve their teaching.

Eleven years prior to her post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Lauren Gatti was a high school English teacher at Loyola Academy and Cristo Rey Jesuit in the suburbs of Chicago. It was then where she found her teaching philosophy. Cura Personalis, the Ignatian concept meaning “care for the whole person.” She carried this philosophy with her to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to undergird her core beliefs in teaching and animate the interpersonal relationships with her students.

“Engaging students in meaningful learning and holding them to high standards means that I centralize their intellectual and personal growth,” “To this end, I do not shy away from challenging my students, nor do I shy away from engaging them in rigorous debates of the field they are about to enter.”

She not only challenges her students but also challenges herself by “constantly looking for ways to improve [her] teaching.”

Gatti’s self-awareness allows her to reflect on her teaching strategies, purposeful application of her course curriculum and personal impact in each

of her student’s lives. This was evident in 2016 when she revamped an entire senior seminar course to integrate a new teaching approachand coordinated a 5-week program for practicum students who felt ill-equipped while working with English Language Learners.

“The desire to be responsible to my student’s needs infuses everything I do in the classroom,” Gatti added.

Aside from teaching methods courses for preservice teachers and graduate courses in Democratic Education and Teacher Education Policy & Practice, Gatti conducts research around social justice and teaching in the classroom. During the Spring 2020 semester, Gatti created a research project, Difficult Issues, to serve as a resource for students aspiring to teach and colleagues to help them think through how to handle topics and respond to difficult questions thoughtfully and justly within the classroom.

Gatti is known for her university-wide participation, as she co-directs the English Education program, is a senior personnel member on the Design Team for the International Consortium for Multilingual Excellence in Education, and is an active participant in the Advanced Peer Review of Teaching Program in addition to her involvement in the Peer Review of Teaching program.

Gatti will be recognized at the Swanson Awards Reception on March 26th, 2021.

College of Education and Human Sciences
Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education