HFA Honors Two Faculty Members for Teaching Excellence with College Outstanding Teacher Award | News and Media Relations Office
The College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA) has announced its 2021 College Outstanding Teaching Award winners, Milan Dragicevich and Pari Riahi. Dragicevich, Professor in the Department of Theater, and Riahi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture, are recognized for their exceptional teaching, mentoring, program development efforts and impact on the lives of students.
Dragicevich, actor and director, has educated and inspired UMass Amherst students in many aspects of stage performance since 2004. His success comes from years of experience, from a researcher’s willingness to find out what works. and the dedication of an educator to sharing knowledge and encouraging students. development. Colleagues note that students appreciate the defined techniques and the clear path his courses provide to success. These methods are more widely available in his textbook, âThe Persuasive Actor: Rhetorical Power on the Contemporary Stageâ. Drawing inspiration and substance from classic and contemporary materials, Dragicevich observes: “When students are rooted in the fundamental tools of performance, they acquire wings to fly over any type of theatrical terrain.” Student feedback reflects this principle and highlights the impact it has on their lives and the role it plays in advancing their career aspirations. A graduate and currently master’s candidate of the theater department expressed gratitude for the way “[Professor Dragicevich] helped me amplify my voice and see the importance of my voice and my words. Another student notes how he “nurtures his students with such a deep passion and motivation not only for acting, but also for the love of the art and the love of seeing his students grow and succeed.”
Riahi’s educational inspiration began with one of her own college mentors who, she says, expressed “genuine empathy for every student.” Using this approach in her architectural design studio and theory classes, she has garnered praise from many students who cite her “enthusiasm for the subject”, “her insight into architecture and the work we do”, ” his passion and wealth of knowledge â, and the abilityâ to meet every student wherever they are â. As a practicing architect, Riahi purposefully enhances âthe learning entered by students by keeping the topic relevant and groundedâ and by engaging students in authentic projects and tasks. This is facilitated by its practice of âdifferentiated instruction,â where progress is based on the student’s position along the design continuum rather than a set point. Riahi says she is sustained and propelled forward by “the brilliance and hope of her own students, by their persistence and courage.” A student’s comment poignantly captures the impact of her teaching: âPari’s mentorship opened doors to unknown and exciting possibilities for me, which both contradict and complement my preconceptions about architecture and where. my career can take me.
In recognition of their commitment to the art of teaching, their passion for their subjects, and their genuine concern and interest in student success, the 2021 HFA College Outstanding Teaching Awards are presented to Professors Dragicevich and Riahi.