UNI confers Yager Exemplary Teaching Recognition Awards

Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014

John Fritch, associate dean and professor, College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences, 319-273-2725,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Dr. Robert E. and Phyllis M. Yager Exemplary Teaching Recognition Award, established by the Robert and Phyllis Yager Education Fund for Excellence, recently recognized two Iowa teachers with awards.

This year's recipients are: Clayton Edwards, mathematics teacher from Grundy Center Middle School, and Lisa Chizek, science teacher from North Tama Elementary School.

The intent of the awards from the Yager Education Fund for Excellence Award is to recognize exemplary K through 12 teaching by University of Northern Iowa graduates. It serves a key role in supporting UNI's leadership in preparing teachers.

Nominees are selected by UNI faculty members and are UNI graduates in at least their fifth year of teaching in a K through 12 classroom. Awardees are selected on the basis of teaching materials and student performance.

Chizek was nominated by Jody Stone, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Stone noted that Chizek, who earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education and her masters degree in science education at UNI, began her teaching career as a third grade classroom teacher and transformed into a highly effective science teacher. She also successfully lobbied her principal to increase the time spent on science instruction at the third grade level and incorporated activity-based, student-centered learning into her science teaching.

Edwards was nominated by Brian Townsend, associate professor of mathematics. A desire to improve his classroom practice and his students' understanding of mathematics led Edwards to UNI's Middle Grades Master's Program. Townsend noted that Edwards is an innovator in his classroom through the use of technology and problem-based instruction.

Robert E. Yager, professor emeritus of science education in the College of Education at the University of Iowa where he taught for 50 years, received his B.A. degree in biology from UNI in 1950. Yager went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant physiology from the University of Iowa. His research interests have focused on student motivation and attitudes toward science.Yager teaching award winners