Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette presented the 2018 McAllister Excellence in Teaching Awards to two faculty members at the college’s annual commencement ceremony held May 6. Dr. Andrew Irrgang, assistant professor of math and physics, was named the full-time faculty winner. Dr. Kenneth Moder, adjunct professor of chemistry, was named the part-time faculty winner.
Each year, the McAllister award is presented to one full-time and one adjunct (part-time) faculty member. Students nominate faculty and a peer committee chooses the award winners. The award symbolizes demonstrated competency, hard work, and determination. Adjunct faculty winners receive a commemorative plaque. Both adjunct and full-time faculty winners receive a $1,000 monetary award presented by the McAllister Foundation.
Dr. Moder also received the 2018 Gerald I. Lamkin Award for Excellence in Instruction. The award recognizes one adjunct (part-time) faculty member from among 19 adjunct faculty members from the Ivy Tech statewide system who best typifies excellence in instruction and epitomizes the mission of Ivy Tech. Moder received a commemorative medallion, a cash award, and a professional development grant at a special ceremony held in Indianapolis on April 16.
Dr. Andrew Irrgang, full-time faculty award winner
Dr. Irrgang has been an assistant professor of math and physics at Ivy Tech Community College since the fall 2013 semester. While at Ivy Tech, he has developed new physics and math courses in support of the introduction of the engineering program at the college. He has also directed undergraduate research projects and an advanced topics independent study class.
He received his bachelor of science in physics (honors degree) and mathematics, and his master of science degree in physics from Purdue University. He also received his Ph.D. in physics from Purdue, where he is currently a visiting scholar. While a graduate student at Purdue, he was named AAPT Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant. He has published research articles in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
Dr. Irrgang strives to create an environment where learning is student driven and not instructor dominated. The goal is to create opportunity for students to interactively work with ideas instead of passively scribing notes. His students note his clearly understood explanations of course concepts, readiness to answer questions, and fostering class discussion.
His community service includes serving as a judge for the annual Science Olympiad, a national STEM competition for K-12 students, held on the Ivy Tech campus. He has also served as Indiana Space Grant Consortium Student Success Coordinator, supporting students who apply for grants and internships.
Dr. Kenneth Moder, adjunct faculty award winner
Dr. Moder has been an adjunct professor of chemistry at Ivy Tech Community College since September 2011. He also serves the college as a chemistry tutor for students with disabilities. He was a senior organic chemist, research scientist, and senior research chemist for Eli Lilly and Company from 1981 until his retirement in 2008.
Dr. Moder earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry (Outstanding Senior) from Depaul University and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois. He has published several research articles in organic chemistry journals and holds several U.S. patents.
His students describe Dr. Moder’s teaching style as fun, interactive and relatable. He connects chemistry concepts to real-world applications, for example, relating different units of pressure to television weather reports of barometric pressure. Humor is an important component of his teaching style as he strives to reduce his students’ anxiety over learning chemistry and to dismiss the stereotype of “an old stuffy professor.”
His community service activities include food collection, recycling programs, and fund raising that have supported Food Finders of Lafayette, Knights of Pythias, the Ronald McDonald House, Miller Elementary School, Cystic Fibrosis, and Kids First.
Congratulations to both winners!