Each year, UNH recognizes faculty who motivate, challenge and inspire students to succeed both in and out of the classroom. This year's Excellence in Teaching award recognizes Donald Plante, lecturer of mathematics. Sonic Woytonic, adjunct professor of history, will receive the Adjunct Excellence in Teaching award. Plante and Woytonik will be presented the awards at UNH Manchester's commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19.
Excellence in Teaching
In his four years at UNH Manchester, Donald Plante has transformed the way students perceive mathematics.
As lecturer of mathematics, Plante brings experience and enthusiasm to the classroom, igniting interest in a subject that many struggle with. His students echo that it is his passion for math that inspires them to succeed.
Plante uses hands-on exercises and mathematical models to motivate students to understand the deeper meaning of their studies. He has also started using a flipped classroom approach in many of his courses, assigning brief video lectures as homework so classroom time can be dedicated to one-on-one student interactions.
As one student describes, “The structure really allowed students to raise and explore a variety of interesting, real-world applications and questions.”
In addition to teaching, Donald is an active researcher in the area of fractal geometry and visualizing mathematics through technology. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Tufts University.
Recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the previous five years include Jack Hoza, professor and director of ASL/English Interpreting; John Cerullo, professor of history; Melinda Negron-Gonzales, assistant professor of politics and society; Kelly M. Kilcrease, assistant professor of business; and Thomas D. Birch, professor of economics.
Adjunct Excellence in Teaching
Since joining UNH Manchester as adjunct faculty in 2012, Sonic Woytonik has instilled a passion for history in each of her students.
Woytonik's spirited approach to teaching inspires students from all disciplines. She designs her courses not only to appeal to students’ interests, but also to develop skills and knowledge that apply to the real world.
As one student wrote, “I am so enthused that I was able to take a history course that actually pertains to my personal interests and future career plans.”
Woytonik loves teaching, and it shows. She’s consistently lauded by students as an “amazing” professor, and has earned praise from faculty for the energy and creativity she brings to the history program.