Faculty Excellence Awards
UHCOP Faculty Members Marwaha, Tejada-Simón Honored for Outstanding Teaching by UH Provost
May 2 — Two University of Houston (UH) College of Pharmacy faculty members – Aditi Marwaha, Ph.D., and MariVi. Tejada-Simón, Ph.D., M.Ed. – are among the 2021-22 recipients of the University of Houston Faculty Excellence Awards from the UH Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. The Faculty Excellence Awards are one of the highest honors conferred by the university and will be formally presented at the Faculty Excellence Awards ceremony May 5 at the Hilton University of Houston Hotel.
This year's honor is the second time Marwaha has earned the UH Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in the Instructor/Clinical category, having previously received it in 2012-13. Serving as an Instructional Assistant Professor, Marwaha has been a faculty member at UHCOP since graduating from the college's Pharmacology Ph.D. program in 2005. Currently, she is involved in the teaching of 10 didactic courses and facilitates three skills labs of the Pharm.D. degree program. She also serves as academic coordinator for the Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences as well as faculty advisor of the college's Pharmaceutical Association of the Middle East and South Asia.
The mantra that guides her through her teaching journey is "Learning through engagement."
"I believe that preparing a lecture is not just about facts, logical flow, content and accuracy, but also about telling a story," Marwaha said. "Stories create curiosity, encourage engagement, forge interactions and promote understanding. Thus, the storytelling that I have adopted as my style of teaching,
leads to a lively classroom environment, creating a culture of open learning."
Marwaha is credited by her peers and students for embracing and implementing technologies to enhance the student learning experience. For example, in addition to her use of e-polling and dynamic "chalkboard" presentation tools, Marwaha was among the inaugural grant recipients of the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program supported by the UH Libraries and Office of the Provost. Under the program designed to mitigate the high cost of textbooks while enhancing academic excellence, Marwaha restructured the Pharmacy Calculations course and created an open (online) textbook as well as later adding a companion practice problems supplement.
In addition to the UH award, Marwaha has been recognized four times with the Rho Chi Society UHCOP Beta Omicron Chapter's Teaching Excellence Award (2009-10, 2013-14, 2015-16 and 2019-20), student-selected Faculty of the Semester in both Spring 2020 and Fall 2020, and the UHCOP Faculty Advisory Council's Teaching Award in both 2010-11 and 2018-19.
A UHCOP faculty member since 2008, Tejada-Simón is being recognized with a UH Teaching Excellence Award. Tejada-Simón, an associate professor of pharmacology and director of the college's Faculty Development Program, teaches in eight professional or graduate student courses, including two of which she also serves as course coordinator. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the college's Hispanic Pharmacy Student Association.
She summed up her teaching philosophy as "bringing together compassion, passion, knowledge, skills and feedback, and a growth mindset."
"Preparation and enthusiasm are foundations of effective teaching," Tejada-Simón said. "It is my job to challenge them to use their inherent capabilities to resolve problems for themselves. For this, I ask questions they must work hard to answer, and the great reward is when they ask questions that I must work hard to answer."
Tejada-Simón said she employs a variety of instructional technology tools to not only enhance the learning experience, but also in monitoring student understanding and retention of the course content. She said web-based resources and group discussions to run cases and study questions prior, during or after class, providing a platform for group work, class discussion and collaborative opportunities. She also uses various traditional and nontraditional tools to determine and measure student learning, including pre- and post-test assessments, clicker-based response systems, and game-based learning platforms.
In addition to her latest honor, Tejada-Simón earned the 2020-21 Rho Chi Society UHCOP Beta Omicron Chapter's Teaching Excellence Award, the 2016 UHCOP Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching, and the 2013 UH Early Faculty Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Research.