Good News

Niagara's Faculty Excellence Recognized with Two Separate Honors

April 3, 2012

Dr. Todd Schoepflin, an associate professor in Niagara University's sociology department, has been ranked as one of the top professors in the United States, according to The Princeton Review and, and Dr. Michelle R. Ciminelli, an assistant professor in the College of Education, has been selected as one of nine finalists for the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award from the International Reading Association (IRA), the largest association for literacy educators in the world.

Dr. Todd Schoepflin

Dr. Schoepflin is featured in The Best 300 Professors, a Random House publication that was released earlier this month. The Princeton Review partnered with MTV's to create the publication, the result of ratings compiled from over 10 million students on more than 1 million professors.

Students rated professors on several dimensions, including clarity, helpfulness, easiness and rater interest (interest level prior to attending the class). However, overall professor quality (which informs the highest rated professor list) is determined by an equal weighting of only two criteria: clarity and helpfulness. Five is the highest rating and one is the lowest rating for each of the above-mentioned dimensions.

“We developed this book as a tribute to the extraordinary dedication of America's undergraduate college professors and the vitally important role they play in our culture, and our democracy,” said Paul Kanarek, a founder of The Princeton Review. “Together with his students who rated him so highly, we salute Dr. Schoepflin and each of the other professors we profile for their outstanding teaching. We are truly pleased to recommend them””and the schools at which they teach””to college applicants and their parents who use our resources.”

According to a Nov. 7, 2011, review of Dr. Schoepflin, “(He is) absolutely (the) best teacher I've ever had! He really cares about what he's teaching and about his students. He teaches the material in a clear way and makes it beyond interesting. I am not an A+ student and have been known to skip many classes, but I would never even consider skipping his class. Most interesting class so far in college by a long shot.”

Dr. Michelle R. Ciminelli

Dr. Michelle R. Ciminelli's dissertation, Teacher Decision Making in Reading Instruction with Choices and Mandates, examines teachers' decision making processes over the course of a school year in the implementation of reading instruction when given liberties in materials and methods, and when provided a mandated program. A model of teacher decision making under each condition was developed based on the data.

The winner will be announced and the finalists will be recognized at the Research Address and Awards session during the IRA's 57th Annual Convention in Chicago on April 30, 2012. The winner will receive a $1,000 prize and the Outstanding Dissertation Award. Summaries of winning dissertations are published each year in Reading Research Quarterly.