The William T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded each year to two full-time and two part-time faculty members at Webster University who demonstrate teaching at its finest. Nominated and supported by students and colleagues, they are selected by a committee of their peers for their outstanding teaching.
This year’s full-time faculty recipients are Kristen DiFate, assistant professor of Digital Advertising in the Communications and Journalism Department of the School of Communications, and Julie Palmer, assistant professor of Management in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology. Part-time faculty recipients are Jack Delman and Leon Hutton, both adjunct faculty at Webster’s Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling location.
Kristen DiFate: Pushing Students to Succeed
DiFate, program coordinator for Advertising and Marketing Communications, was recognized for her commitment to preparing her students for the undefined future that awaits them in the fast-changing field of communications. Her nominators described her as creative, energetic and influential, an instructor who gets students to tap into potential they didn’t realize they had.
Kristen challenges her students to challenge the future. Several nominated her for pushing and testing their talents. “She pushed me to create more and more,” one said. “Even after her class ended, I was still pushing.”
Or as one faculty nominator put it, “She gains a rapport with students that comes from a mix of real world experience, a collaborative approach to teaching, and a freshness that, for lack of a better explanation, feels ‘right.’”
Julie Palmer: Inside and Outside the Classroom
Palmer, the advisor of the Students in Free Enterprise organization on campus, was recognized for expanding students’ view of learning outside the classroom, and for being the push and the support many students need to achieve their full potential.
Nominators praised her work and accessibility with students inside and outside the classroom.
A student nominator said, “She played a significant role in challenging me to not only be a successful student, but be an achieving individual.”
Another said Palmer “sacrifices and goes beyond her level of responsibility to deliver quality teaching to her students … She radiates knowledge that is thought-provoking, fresh and relatable.”
Jack Delman: Dedicated, Passionate
Delman, an administrative law judge for the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, was recognized for “challenging his students to transcend in their learning experiences from mere receivers to seekers of knowledge.” Jack”s nominators described him as “engaged, knowledgeable, respectful and, most of all, patient.”
“Jack is the very model of the modern adjunct faculty,” one said. “Highly professionally qualified, dedicated to student success and achievement, and a leader in our community.”
Said one student of Judge Delman, as many call him: “I’ve been in the field for over eight years and I learned more in his one class than I have in other job-related training I’ve taken throughout the years.”
“Professor Delman is a humble scholar of the law and has a deep passion, love and understanding of it,” said another.
Leon Hutton: Guidance that Inspires
Hutton, area mentor for the MBA program, was recognized for guiding, communicating and creating successful student learning across the program and getting students to produce great results in the capstone program.
One nominator says when he was planning a local scholarship drive, he was “poised to tackle the multitude of business and management challenges of today and the future” because of his teaching.
Students appreciate his “ability to teach complicated subjects like advanced corporate finance in a way that is enjoyable, comprehensible and applicable.”
One military student called professor Hutton “an inspiration and an integral component” of the Webster experience. Another said “his guidance and constructive feedback continues to serve me well as I interact with high-ranking military officers during my daily duties.”
Each year Kemper Award recipients are honored at the annual commencement dinner and faculty/staff breakfast in St. Louis, as well as other events throughout the year that celebrate and share insights from their teaching approach.
Congratulations to this year’s winners!