Each year, Principia College recognizes professorial talent with two awards—Teacher of the Year and the Horace Edwin Harper Jr. and Evelyn Wright Harper Award for Teaching Excellence. Brian Kamusinga, assistant professor of chemistry, earned the 2022 Teacher of the Year Award and the Harper Teaching Excellence Award winner is religious studies Professor Heather Martin.
Kamusinga, who teaches Fundamentals of Chemistry and Introduction to Cyber Security, was voted Teacher of the Year by the student body in recognition of his outstanding skill as an educator and his ability to relate to students. Kamusinga is also the faculty leader for the Principia solar-car team.
“Professor Kamusinga teaches with a love for the subject. The topic is difficult, and he works so hard to try in whatever way he can to help you understand,” said one of his students. “He makes his classes fun and will go out of his way to help you learn anything you are interested in. He even bakes for everyone, especially when we have quizzes.”
Dr. Martin is lauded for her academic innovation, empathetic and caring relationship with students, and her support for Principia’s mission. Along with teaching general education courses to half of all Principia students, Dr. Martin contributed recently to a full review of the religious studies program and led the creation of the new Christian Contexts of Christian Science course. She is a strong advocate for including a service component for all Principia students, especially for those in the religious studies program.
Students appreciate Dr. Martin’s enriching course content and authentic interest in their lives. One student in a review of Dr. Martin’s class said, “Probably one of the best professors—extremely qualified, intelligent, empathetic, wise, clear, organized, and efficient … I feel like I could go to her for anything.” Dr. Martin has mastered engaging students in the course material while also supporting their growth in and out of the classroom.
This year’s teaching awards celebrate Professor Kamusinga’s and Dr. Martin’s dedication to student learning and their continued significant contributions to their respective departments at Principia College.