Two earn awards for non-tenure track teaching

non-tenure-track-compositePULLMAN, Wash. – Instructor Andrew O’Fallon and clinical associate professor Samantha Swindell are recipients of the annual President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Non-tenure Track Faculty at Washington State University.

The award will be among those presented at the Celebrating Excellence Recognition Banquet on March 28, part of the WSU Showcase annual celebration of faculty, staff and student achievement. Showcase reservations may be made through Wednesday, March 19, at

showcase-155x42pAward criteria include: igniting a passion for learning; innovative mentoring and teaching; valuing and responding to diversity; increasing students’ intellectual growth, critical thinking and integrated views; and organizing/conducting new courses or revitalizing existing ones.

O'Fallon-80O’Fallon is lauded by nominators for his enthusiasm, knowledge and dedication to teaching and to students in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he has taught since 2004. He teaches many of the entry-level courses, and his skill aids retention of young students and helps them build a strong foundation for their challenging disciplines.

He serves as his school’s internship coordinator, teaching excellence committee member and representative on the evaluation exams for international teaching assistants. He earned the school’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 and 2010, the College of Engineering and Architecture’s Reid C. Miller Outstanding Teaching Faculty Award in 2010 and the school’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2009, among other honors.

“Teaching and learning are my passions,” O’Fallon says. “I strive to learn as much as I can so that I may teach to the best of my abilities and positively impact my students. I want my students to understand that learning does not end when they leave college, but is a lifelong commitment that can only be achieved through continuous improvement.”

Swindell-80Swindell has taught in the psychology department since 1998. She teaches lab, lecture and online courses to classes of all sizes as well as mentoring undergraduate researchers and graduate instructors individually. She is a member of the WSU Academic Advising Association and formerly served on its certification committee.

As director of the undergraduate program for psychology, she coordinates the annual undergraduate research symposium. Her research focuses on teaching methods, outcomes, assessment and implementing what is discovered in order to improve teaching and learning. She earned teaching excellence awards from the College of Liberal Arts in 2012 and 2005 and the outstanding mentor award from the annual WSU Women & Leadership Forum in 2008 and 2005, among other honors.

“My teaching philosophy is based on my training in behavioral psychology,” Swindell says. It involves: applying learning principles known to produce behavioral change; creating an environment conducive to learning; and understanding that success as a teacher is reflected in students’ success. “Their learning is evident when they can say and do things they could not say or do before taking my course. If these changes are not evident, I have failed to teach them.”

In addition to the banquet, the Showcase celebrations include the Distinguished Faculty Address (March 27); the Academic Showcase display of faculty, staff and student work (March 28); and SURCA, the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (March 28).