Dr. Jeffery Helgeson named 2021 Teaching Award of Honor recipient by Alumni Association
The Texas State Alumni Association has selected Dr. Jeffrey Helgeson, associate professor in the Department of History, as the 2021 Teaching Award of Honor recipient. This award is presented annually to a Texas State professor, lecturer, associate professor, assistant professor, or instructor. Recipients are nominated by their peers and are selected based on excellence in instructional delivery and design, subject matter competency, and impact on student success.
In letters of support, Helgeson’s former students praised his subject matter mastery and encouraging teaching style. “He provides just the right amount of structure to guide students to the answer without giving it to them,” says Micah Krejcha (B.A. ’17), a graduate student who has known Helgeson since he was the faculty-in-residence in his Residential College living-learning community.
Lindsey Waldenberg (M.A. ‘17), remembers the support Helgeson gave her as her master’s thesis advisor. She appreciated the time he committed to helping her through the process, and hopes to emulate his mentorship with her own students one day. “I can firmly say that I would not have succeeded without his support and generosity of spirit,” says Waldenberg.
Helgeson’s student-centric style is exemplified, says Department of History associate professor Dr. Jessica Pliley, by his implementation of discussion sections for HIST 1310 and HIST 1320 classes. “This course structure allows for the professors to create the kinds of assignments that follow best practices in the field by prompting undergraduate students to learn history by doing history,” explains Pliley. The model has been beneficial both to undergraduate students, who have seen a 15% increase in course “A” grades on average, and graduate students who receive competitive fellowships to lead the discussion sessions.
In addition to this latest honor, Helgeson has received several recognitions for his dedication to teaching and learning. He has been honored by the College of Liberal Arts with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012 and the Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014. He also received student recognition in 2012 with the Favorite Professor Award from the Alfred H. Nolle Chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.
As Pliley puts it, “Dr. Helgeson’s teaching record is a testament to Texas States’ commitment to innovative teaching, developing student success, and the synchronistic relationship between rigorous research and world-class teaching.”
The Teaching Award of Honor is formally presented during Faculty Convocation in the Fall.