UM College of Humanities and Sciences to Honor 2016 Teaching Award Recipients

April 13, 2016

MISSOULA – The University of Montana College of Humanities and Sciences will honor four recipients of its 2016 Teaching Awards, which recognize excellence in educators in the college during the 2015-16 academic year.

The 2016 teaching awards will be presented to the recipients during the annual H&S Dialogue event at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Interdisciplinary Sciences Building Room 110. The event is free and open to the public.

“This year’s recipients engage their students in courses from Human Geography to Physical Anthropology, from Discrete Math to Game and Mobile Applications,” said Jenny McNulty, acting dean of UM’s College of Humanities and Sciences. “I am amazed by the talented and dedicated educators we have in H&S.”

This year, the Helen and Winston Cox Educational Excellence Award goes to mathematical sciences Associate Professor Cory Palmer and anthropology Assistant Professor Meradeth Snow. The award recognizes junior faculty members for their excellence and dedication.

Before landing at UM, Palmer taught and researched at the University of Illinois and the Alfred Renyi Institute of Mathematics in Budapest, Hungary. He now teaches upper-level mathematics at UM. Students and colleagues say Palmer is highly respected for the thoughtful and caring approach he brings to his courses.

Snow has brought an energetic and rigorous approach to her teaching since taking her position in the Department of Anthropology. Not only is she known for her amazing lectures and hands-on coursework, she also has doubled the department’s skull collection and is working to develop two new DNA labs in the Social Science Building.

The two other faculty members receiving awards this spring are geography Professor David Shively and Department of Computer Sciences Lecturer Michael Cassens.

Shively is the recipient of the William Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Across the Curriculum. Since arriving at UM in 2004, Shively has taught courses that engage students at all levels, frequently meeting with students to provide feedback and offer guidance on course projects, and simultaneously serving as adviser to a considerable number of graduate students.

“His office door is almost always open,” said one student in Shively’s nomination. “Dr. Shively is a genuine and welcoming person, a fantastic professor and a deserving candidate for [this award].”

Founded by the H&S External Advisory Board, the William Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching Across the Curriculum is named in honor of Reynolds, an alumnus of H&S, advisory board member and longtime friend of UM. The award recognizes a faculty member for his or her excellence in teaching at all levels of curriculum.

Cassens is the recipient of the David B. Friend Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Introductory Level. A graduate of UM, he is best known for being a patient and enthusiastic instructor with a passion for technology, which becomes infectious among the students taking his introductory computer science courses. Cassens also is highly engaged in the community, and his research in mobile application development and his interest in designing educational games has resulted in after-school programs for primary schoolchildren and summer camps for middle schoolchildren. The David B. Friend Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Introductory Level recognizes excellence in teaching by nontenure-track faculty members. 

For more information regarding these awards or the Dialogue event, call Ian Withrow, UM College of Humanities and Sciences media and information coordinator, at 406-243-2683 or email


Contact: Ian Withrow, media and information coordinator, UM College of Humanities and Sciences, 406-243-2683,