The John Carroll University College of Arts & Sciences announced Dr. Tracy Masterson, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, the winner of the 2019 Lucrezia Culicchia Award for Teaching Excellence.
Dr. Masterson is a John Carroll alumna who received her Ph.D. from Kent State University. In 2008 she came back to John Carroll as a tenure track assistant professor teaching courses in Psychology of Autism, Adolescent Psychology, and Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. Her areas of specialization are the examination of adherence with infection control (IC) guidelines in individuals with cystic fibrosis, autism spectrum disorders, and adolescent development, culture, and perspectives.
Students and colleagues commended Dr. Masterson for her passion for her field, her innovative teaching strategies, and her devotion to student success. A student commenting on the service-learning requirement in many of Dr. Masterson’s classes explains “This, I think, is one of the best teaching techniques there is: what we learn in class we begin to apply to the real world, assisting others, and then writing about our experience.” With regard to Dr. Masterson’s dynamic teaching style, a student explains "Her energy transfers to the students when she is teaching. She engages all students at the same time with games, music, readings, assignments, and videos that all contribute to learning.” And, “As a well-known and successful professor in her field of study, she is able to bring in amazing guest speakers and professionals to her classroom for us to further learn what we are discussing in class.” Another student cited an example, “She utilizes hands-on learning through her Iraqi pen pals program. The pen pals program connected us with students in Iraq and allowed us to write letters discussing topics of adolescence, lifestyle development, and differing cultural aspects.” Students also commented on her generous dedication to advising. “She is always willing to sacrifice her very limited free time to meet with students. Oftentimes, there is a line outside of her office with students waiting to receive her quality advice.” And, “the care and generosity that Dr. Masterson shows for every single one of her students, advisees, and clients is beyond anything I have ever experienced before in a student-teacher relationship.”Her passion, energy, skill at producing deep learning, and her genuine connections with her students were cited over and over in students and faculty letters recommending Dr. Masterson.
The Culicchia award is presented to faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences who have made a distinct difference in the teaching climate of the College in such areas as model classroom teaching, campus leadership on teaching issues, pioneering teaching methodology, and creative course development. The Sears-Roebuck Foundation initially began a program to recognize excellence in teaching and funded the award for the first two years. When they discontinued the program, we were able to carry on the award through the generosity of an alumnus, Anthony N. Culicchia ('64), who named the award after his mother who was a former teacher.