University College Presents TAF Teaching Awards to LSU Faculty

TAF Teaching Awards

Chantel Chauvin; James V. Moroney; Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Tiger Athletic Foundation David H. Hardy; Belinda C. Davis; and Kandace T. Hurst at the "Celebration of Excellence" Spring Awards. Photo: LSU University College

BATON ROUGE – During LSU University College’s annual “Celebration of Excellence” Spring Awards program, four Tiger Athletic Foundation Teaching awards were presented to Chantel D. Chauvin, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Sociology; Belinda C. Davis, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Political Science; Kandace T. Hurst, LSU College of Science, Department of Chemistry; and James V. Moroney, LSU College of Science, Department of Biological Sciences.

The Tiger Athletic Foundation provides University College with the generous support to award up to eight Teaching Awards. LSU students are integral in this process, as they nominate their best professors and instructors. All nominated faculty are presented to a Teaching Awards Selection Committee and recipients are announced.

“University College is pleased to have generous donors that allow us to acknowledge some of LSU’s outstanding undergraduate faculty with teaching awards,” said R. Paul Ivey, executive director of LSU University College. “Our ‘Celebration of Excellence’ ceremony allows us the opportunity to publicly recognize these deserving faculty.”

University College salutes all of these deserving individuals and expresses our gratitude to donors for their continued support.

Chauvin is an instructor in the Department of Sociology. Chauvin earned her doctorate in sociology from LSU, master’s degree in applied sociology from the University of Central Florida, and bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology with a concentration in criminology from LSU. She is widely published and has presented at numerous conferences with areas of interest to include the Southern subculture of violence, deviance, violent offending and victimization, gender and crime, and rural crime.

Regarding her teaching philosophy, Chauvin noted, “As a full-time instructor at LSU, teaching is my primary focus, and I am continually looking to enhance my abilities to engage students in the field of sociology through the courses I teach. My objectives for introduction to sociology are twofold: 1) to understand how your social environment helped shape you into the person you are today, and 2) understand the ways in which increasing diversity, technology and globalization impacts you, your world view and your interactions with others. Students may not remember every nuanced idea or concept they were presented with in my class, but I hope they are able to learn and utilize the broader concepts and critical thinking skills presented in my classes in their future courses, careers, and everyday lives.”

Chauvin’s students noted the following comments regarding her nomination:

  • “I enjoy going to class because she is interesting to listen to. She loves what she does and is very funny. The content is interesting, and I feel as if I have learned a lot. She gives lots of examples in class, which helps me to memorize everything. She is young and has a passion for criminology, which has made me interested in learning about criminology too. Even when I have no desire to go to class, I still go to class for her because I know that she is interesting to listen to and I never get bored during her lectures. I love this class so much and would literally take it again!”
  • “She should receive this award for many reasons. She is very intriguing and portrays the lesson in an understandable, but interesting way. She brings up her background in order to thoroughly explain some lessons we go over. She is very easy going and cares about each of her students.”
  • “I am a sociology major, and I absolutely love her class. She is a criminologist by trade and that is what I want to be. She inspires me to be all that I can be and to go after what I want. By far the best teacher I have ever had.”

Davis is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science. Davis earned her doctorate from Florida State University and specializes in public policy. Her research focuses on uses of welfare policy in the American states as a vehicle for examining theories of public policy.

Regarding her teaching philosophy, Davis stated, “In ‘Introduction to Public Policy,’ students learn the basics of public policy with a particular emphasis on public attention to a problem and how our understanding of a problem’s root causes guides solution choices. My goal in each class is to teach students the subject matter of the course in a way that helps create critical consumers and producers of information and fosters a greater sense of political efficacy.”

Davis’ students noted the following comments regarding her nomination:

  • “Dr. Davis inspired me to care more about the world and what is going on in it. I’ve learned more in her class than any other class I’ve taken at LSU. She made things that were extremely challenging easily understandable. Her passion and drive for the things she cares about alone is honorable and deserves recognition. Amazing professor and an even more amazing person!”
  • “Dr. Davis had full understanding of the material she taught in class and she conveyed the complicated source material of her class in a way that was easy to comprehend. She had the upmost respect for her students and she seemed to genuinely care about the success of all of her students.”
  • “Dr. Davis is very caring and loves her students. She always encourages us to try our best to understand material, and makes sure that we're caught up on current events in politics. She helped us to understand the process of the presidential election and the effects of each candidate's possible victory. She makes class way more interesting than it probably would be to someone who doesn't really understand the political jargon or its processes. Dr. Davis is an amazing woman, who cares about all people and all levels of society. She is a very warm and comforting person. She even came to my community to speak to the residents about how to register to vote, helping us to determine our political preferences, and what the entire election process means. There's so much to say about Dr. Davis and what she does and has done for me. I hope she wins this award- but even if she doesn't, please give her a copy of this nomination. It was too much to put on the evaluation form and she needs to know this ... Please and thank you!”

Hurst is an instructor in the Department of Chemistry. She earned her doctorate in chemistry from LSU.

“My objective as an educator is to motivate students to think critically about the subject matter and to provide students with the necessary resources to help them succeed. To elevate my teaching efforts on a regular basis, I use self-monitoring, information from students, and test results. I also consult with other instructors about their methods for conveying that set of information and how it was worked for them. It is my intention that the student leaves me in a better way than when they first arrived,” Hurst said.

Hurst’s students noted the following comments regarding her nomination:

  • “Dr. Hurst should receive the University College TAF Teaching Award because she is extremely helpful, kind, nice, professional and friendly. I am able to go to her office hours and not worry about my questions not getting answered. She does not make me feel intimidated by her. She is comforting, and I feel that if I ever need anything, academic or anything, she could be someone I can go to for assistance.”
  • “Dr. Hurst is an excellent professor. Personally, coming from a school that did not have a very strong chemistry department, it is wonderful coming to a college where the professor takes time to explain everything you need to know and explains it in a way students can understand.”
  • “Dr. Hurst cares about her students. She is a really dynamic teacher, and she is always excited to help students. She teaches in an understanding way that allows students to retain information and apply it.”
  • “Dr. Hurst is my favorite professor. She is a great teacher. She explains thoroughly what is going on in the lesson, and she allows class to ask questions.”
    Moroney holds the Streva Alumni Professorship in the Department of Biological Sciences. Moroney received his doctorate from Cornell University. His research specializes in plant molecular genetics in the area of photosynthesis, specifically how plants and algae acquire CO2 for photosynthesis. Under Moroney’s direction, his laboratory studies the role of carbonic anhydrase in terrestrial plants using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Moroney’s lab is also participating in RIPE, a project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based at the University of Illinois. The goal of this project is to improve crop yields by improving the efficiency of photosynthesis in terrestrial plants.

“Biology 1201 is typically the first biology course students take at LSU. My goal is to provide this large, very diverse group of students with the information they will need to advance successfully through their chose major, whether that is in allied health, agriculture or biological sciences. My concern about attendance stems from my experience with LaMSTI program, a National Science Foundation sponsored education program based in the Department of Mathematics. The greatest lesson I learned from this program’s studies was that students who were missing class often performed poorly. This past semester, I created daily, small quizzes for my 250 students to motivate them to attend every class. I entered more than 12,000 grades! I believe the effort is worth it, as my attendance and exam scores were the highest I have seen in nearly 30 years of teaching freshmen biology,” shared Moroney.

Moroney’s students noted the following comments regarding her nomination:

  • “Dr. Maroney shows a passion for the material he teaches and does an excellent job at teaching the material in an interesting and intriguing manner. He is very helpful and wants his students to succeed. He gives us every opportunity to succeed and is always eager to help.”
  • “Dr. Moroney is engaging and excited about his material even though he’s teaching a freshman level class for the umpteenth time. He is witty and knowledgeable and a great lecturer, with a lot of sympathy for those of us who aren't biology enthusiasts. He’s willing to spend lots of time in office hours making sure that students actually understand everything he's trying to teach, and he emphasizes a lot of real world uses for the material, which makes it infinitely more interesting in my opinion. His class was thorough and rigorous, but entertaining. Dr. Moroney doesn’t assign gratuitous work – just enough to help us understand. It was a pleasure taking his class.”
  • “Dr. Moroney goes above and beyond in his chosen profession. He works hard to help people critically think. He is very knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions. He teaches valuable life lessons and has completely challenged my fundamental philosophy in life. I feel like a better person from being in his class.”

During the “Celebration of Excellence,” University College awarded $80,000 through 65 undergraduate student scholarships, five LSU faculty teaching awards, two graduate teaching assistant awards and one LSU Advisor of the Year Award on Thursday, March 23, at The Club on Union Square.

Since 1933, LSU University College has served as the portal of entry for students enrolled at LSU.  Academic and personal success is the hallmark of a well-rounded student, and University College provides a foundation of support services for students beginning their academic careers at LSU. University College has two enrollment divisions: The Center for Freshman Year and The Center for Advising and Counseling. Additionally, University College offers retention-specific programs: Student Support Services, Ronald E. McNair Research Scholars and Summer Scholars. These academic support programs focus on particular student populations and are a significant part of the role and mission of University College.

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Contact Jacquelyn Craddock
LSU University College 


Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations