Kutztown University and the Kutztown University Alumni Association honored associate professor of mathematics, Randy Schaeffer ’72, with The Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. KU president Dr. F. Javier Cevallos and Alumni Engagement director, Alex Ogeka, presented Schaeffer with the award during the Opening Day Gathering on August 23.
The award, which includes a prize of $2,000 and a plaque, is granted annually to a faculty member who demonstrates distinguished achievement in teaching, academic excellence, research, publication and curriculum development.
Schaeffer, who teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in mathematics and mathematics education, supervises student teachers in mathematics. Over the course of his teaching career, he has worked with more than 400 student teachers, some of whom still keep in touch with him.
“I have lifelong friends,” said Schaeffer. “Students I taught decades ago still keep in touch and send emails thanking me for all of my help. Working with the math student teachers, we develop a very close relationship; I give advice, help them develop their craft and help them get jobs. I’ve been to dozens of weddings, christenings and even funerals. In my position, I have the privilege of forging valuable partnerships with students - not everyone gets the opportunity to do so.”
In addition to his teaching, Schaefer avidly pursues opportunities for service; he is chair of the University Curriculum Committee, chair of the General Education Committee, the advisor for mathematics honor society Kappa Mu Epsilon and president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics (EPCTM). In recent years, Schaeffer has helped revise the general education curriculum for the university and oversee the implementation of the new general education requirements. As president of the EPCTM, he arranges the organization’s biannual conference, which brings together math teachers from around the region.
“Winning this award is a big honor,” said Schaeffer. “The nomination alone is an honor – I appreciate that my colleagues and students felt strongly enough to go the extra effort to nominate me. It’s a recognition of my teaching, which is the most important thing in my life. It’s my passion. This means a lot to me because I am an alumnus of KU – some of the former recipients of this award were my professors!”
In addition to his teaching and service to the university, Schaeffer, along with KU Professor Emeritus Bill Bateman, owns the largest privately held collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia in the world. They also collect KU memorabilia and have artifacts from when KU was the Keystone Normal School. Among the collection are pennants, created to commemorate specific events, from the 1900s; china pieces; pin trays; vases with images of Old Main; early 1900s jewelry pieces, including pins with the year on them; and old catalogues.
Schaeffer has been teaching for 40 years, with 25 of them at KU.
For more information about The Arthur and Isabel Wiesenberger Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, please visit http://www.give2ku.org/.