HAYS, KS -- Dr. Robert Rook, assistant professor of history, has been named by a faculty recognition committee as the recipient of the Mediated Classroom Teacher Award for his performance in Fort Hays State University's College of Arts and Sciences.
The faculty recognition program rewards outstanding teacher innovators and outstanding mediated classroom teachers from each of the four colleges of the university. Two other special awards -- Teacher/Scholar/Innovator of the Year and Faculty Advisor of the Year -- are also part of the program. Recipients are selected by a committee chaired or appointed by the respective college deans.
One award is given each month over the period August through May. Rook is the recipient of the Mediated Classroom Teacher Award for April. He received a check for $300 and a university lapel pin that signifies teaching excellence. The university provides two-thirds of the financial award and the other third comes from Commerce Bank of Hays, which established a fund with the university to help recognize outstanding faculty teaching.
Linda Ganstrom, associate professor of art and a member of the recognition committee, commended Rook for effective use of technology in his teaching, with a web-based component in almost every class. "He has videotaped lectures that he makes available to students as an integral aspect of his courses, making the classes more flexible and student-centered," she said. "He embraces technology and uses it to meet student needs, encourage self-motivation and individualize instruction."
Rook, who has been a member of the FHSU faculty since 1996, said he has been steadily developing material for an on-campus modern civilization course that allows students to spend 60 to 70 percent of their time in class and the rest using mediated materials. "I believe that the definitions and practices of 'traditional on-campus teaching' and 'distance education' are arbitrary, artificial and misleading constructs," he said. "Over the past 36 months, there has been a growing movement toward what has substantially been labeled 'proximity education.' At its core, 'proximity education' blends the best qualities of traditional on-campus instruction with the many benefits of technologies more generally associated with distance education."
Rook earned a bachelor's degree in European history from Furman University in 1980, a master's in American history from Bowling Green State University in 1983 and a doctorate in American history from Kansas State University in 1996.