Normandale instructor Stephanie Zarse receives Minnesota State’s Educator of the Year Award

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Normandale Community College dental hygiene instructor Stephanie Zarse was one of seven recipients of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees Educators of the Year awards.

Zarse was one of only seven instructors in the entire Minnesota State system to receive the award, which acknowledges and rewards exceptional professional accomplishment in teaching. Selection criteria for the award includes teaching strategies and materials, content expertise and professional growth, assessment of student learning and performance; and service to students, the profession, the institution, and the system.

Zarse purposefully thinks about how she creates and develops the environment and culture of her classroom in the Dental Hygiene program. She provides students opportunities to work with underserved communities to incorporate elements of civic engagement. Her courses also focus on providing equitable care and the nature of personal space with an emphasis on how this can very across cultures. Playdough, PeerYouTube teaching videos, concept mapping, flipped-hybrid classroom and case based scenarios are a few additional examples of Zarse's innovative teach practices.

She also uses various approaches to assess students, which has roots in several teaching and equity by design theoretical frameworks. Zarse is intentional in her continuous professional growth and has an emphasis on conference presentations focused on teaching.

The award review committee highlighted Zarse for her innovative practice of asking students to identify structural racism in their field in order to disrupt systemic racism (access to healthcare and disparate outcomes).

"I want to congratulate Professor Zarse on this great achievement," said Normandale Community College President Joyce Ester. "She is a leader on campus when it comes to innovative teaching strategies that engage, stimulate, and increase collaboration among her students. From flipped-hybrid classrooms, to active learning strategies, she fosters critical thinking and helps students become self-directed learners. Her expertise on assessment, also includes maintaining a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to ensure that all her students have the opportunity to demonstrate their master of the learning objectives through a wide variety of methods."

For more information go to the Minnesota State Award Information page