Morningside presents 2021 Dr. William C. Yockey Assessment Awards

Dec 15, 2021 • Faculty, Biology, Humanities, Psychology, Faculty & Staff News, Biopsychology
A Morningside student using a microscope.
Brandon Boesch, Jessica LaPaglia, and the biology program received the 2021 Dr. William C. Yockey Assessment Awards.

Two Morningside University faculty members, Brandon Boesch and Jessica LaPaglia, and one academic program, the biology program, received the 2021 Dr. William C. Yockey Assessment Awards. The awards annually recognize outstanding efforts to improve student learning at Morningside.

Brandon BoeschBrandon BoeschBrandon Boesch, assistant professor of philosophy, was recognized for his improvements to the Intro to Ethics course. The external evaluator for the awards found that Boesch’s assessment was an excellent example of noting deficits in student engagement and making creative pedagogical changes to address it. Boesch teaches a variety of philosophy courses, and his research focuses on issues related to representation in science as well as issues in ethics and action theory. He received a B.A. in philosophy, biology, and Spanish from Benedictine College and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of South Carolina.

Jessica LaPagliaJessica LaPagliaJessica LaPaglia, associate professor of psychology, was recognized for her improvements to the Research Methods in Psychology course. The external evaluator for the Yockey Awards noted LaPaglia’s successful use of assessment to address a weakness in student learning and provide targeted changes to improve student performance. LaPaglia teaches courses in learning and memory, research methods, and biopsychology. She earned her B.A. in psychology at Augsburg College and M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology at Iowa State University.

The biology program was selected as the William C. Yockey Programmatic Assessment Award. Morningside students can earn a B.S. or B.A. in biology, and the program offers extensive research opportunities with faculty. It was noted that the department excelled in doing direct assessment of student performance on signature assignments, analyzing assessment data, and providing specific suggestions for curricular improvement based on the data, resulting in improvements in both student learning and the assessment process itself.

A $2,500 cash prize is included with each award. The family of the late Dr. William C. Yockey, a 1949 Morningside graduate and chemistry professor at Morningside for over 30 years, established the awards in his name.