Faculty members recognized by The College for teaching excellence

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University offers courses that nearly every ASU student takes at some point in their college journey.

These courses explore a wide variety of topics in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities and are led by outstanding faculty who strive to go above and beyond for their students. 

Annually, one faculty member from each division of The College is selected as a recipient of the Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest recognition of teaching excellence in The College.

In addition, for the 2020–21 cycle, one instructor was recognized with the Outstanding Instructor Award.

“Our faculty members are at the heart of what makes The College truly special,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College.

“I am grateful to have these phenomenal faculty members on our team. Their dedication to the success of our students, as well as their success in their respective fields brings us great pride.”

Meet this year’s awardees:

Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award

Steven Flanagan 

Steven Flanagan

Flanagan is an instructor of Spanish in the School of International Letters and Cultures who has studied and worked at ASU since 2013. He began teaching full time in 2016 after earning two master’s degrees in teaching English as a foreign language and Spanish applied linguistics (Second Language Acquisition). He is currently working toward earning his doctorate in education with a focus in higher education systems change at ASU. 

He has spent time in Mexico as well as several years living and working abroad in Spain where he attended the University of Alicante. His research interests include second language acquisition, postsecondary teacher education and online learning. He was awarded the 2019–20 SILC Team Collaboration Award for his role in the Spanish Program Coordination, and the 2020–21 SILC Team Collaboration Award for his role in instructional support in learning support services.

He approaches teaching as a way of pushing students in healthy ways to make mistakes and move through the challenging but rewarding process of language acquisition, while finding what connects with each student in an effort to maximize their experience. He said he most enjoys connecting with the students and trying to find ways for them to realize their own potential.

“For me language learning is beautiful, and with each new language we learn, we open doors to places, peoples and cultures that would have forever been inaccessible. Those experiences enrich our lives and change our world views and sharing those experiences with the students is amazing. Doing it at a place like ASU where we have access to so many resources, opportunities and a diverse student population makes it the reason I love teaching Spanish and I love teaching at ASU,” Flanagan said. 

Emily Balli