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NSU faculty named 2016 DaVinci Fellows

The DaVinci Institute has selected Northeastern State University faculty members, Dr. Elizabeth “Bea” Keller-Dupree, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. John S. de Banzie, professor of biology, as DaVinci Fellows for 2016.

This honor will be celebrated on April 1 in Oklahoma City during an awards reception at the Oklahoma History Center, where keynote speaker Scott Meacham will discuss the topic “Education for Innovation.”

For de Banzie, just receiving news of the nomination was thrilling, but to win was truly an honor.

“I try very hard to come up with new ways to engage my students and help with their learning and it’s marvelous to have my efforts recognized by such an august body as the DaVinci Institute,” de Banzie said.

A DaVinci Fellow is named for his or her innovation and creative responses to unique challenges that faculty encounter in a classroom. Positively impacting students, creatively teaching and teaching creativity are all marks of a DaVinci Fellow.

Keller-Dupree believes that creativity and innovation in research and teaching takes many forms, such as simply posing a challenging question that requires complex thinking or critical reasoning, or at other times, experientially engaging students beyond their brain space. As a counselor educator, she values both parts.

“It’s hard to know what activity or experience will connect deeply with a student, but I believe that exceptional teaching seeks to reach engagement by trying new and unknown things. Creativity requires me to be okay with the unknown,” Keller-Dupree said.

The favorite aspect of teaching for de Banzie is that moment when a student is tackling a difficult concept and suddenly “gets it.”

“Without understanding, learning is merely memorization and not all that useful. Understanding makes those connections between concepts and I try to come up with ways to encourage my students to find those connections,” he said.

Keller-Dupree and de Banzie are two out of five honorees for 2016.

According to the Districts of Creativity Network, Oklahoma is one of only 13 recognized Districts of Creativity in the world. Oklahoma is the only state in the United States and the only location in North America to receive this recognition.

Past NSU DaVinci Fellows include Dr. Stephan Sargent (2015), Dr. Mary Swanson (2014), Dr. Linda Wilson (2010), Dr. Amy Aldridge (2009), Dr. Martha Parrott (2007), and Dr. Kippi D. Wyatt (2006).

More information can be found at Districts of Creativity.

Published: 3/28/2016 9:41:27 AM

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