Monday, August 8, 2022

James Madison students present professor with award

April 13, 2001

When James Madison College Professor Michael Schechter attended the Honors College Awards Convocation last spring, he said it struck a chord in him.

“I saw how impressive and wonderful it was for the person who was getting the award,” Schechter said. “A student got up and read their thoughts on why this person deserves this award and it was really special.”

But he never imagined he would be back for the awards this year.

Schechter was told Wednesday he will be receiving the Honors College Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students on May 3 at the University Undergraduate Scholarship Dinner.

“It’s particularly rewarding to know that there is an award from the students recognizing my achievements,” he said. “It’s an exciting award because it is something the students initiate and nominate professors for.”

Honors College Director Ronald Fisher said the award was created three years ago to recognize faculty and staff who do exceptional work.

The selection committee for the award is two-thirds students and alumni, he said.

“We really try to focus on student perspectives,” he said. “They can take the time to nominate the professors and thank them for their efforts.”

And some students say Schechter is more than just a teacher.

“His door is always open to all students,” international relations senior Leslie Holoweiko said. “He knows you by name and remembers things you tell him about yourself and your goals in life.

“He is always there for people.”

Holoweiko, along with other Honors College students, nominated Schechter for the award. After having him in four classes, she said Schechter is one of MSU’s finest.

“His level of engagement is better than many other professors,” she said. “He provides interesting materials, asks engaging questions and encourages independent thought.

“Some other instructors don’t encourage as much thought outside of what they are teaching. ”

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