Wilkes Honors Professor Recipient of Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching Award


Wednesday, Apr 15, 2020

Kevin Lanning, Ph.D., received FAU’s Award for Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching during the 51st annual Honors Convocation Awards. Dr. Lanning was among the founding faculty members of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, making this a particularly fitting award during the 20th anniversary year of the college.

As a professor of Psychology and Data Science, Professor Lanning teaches a broad range of courses and advises an array of undergraduate students in the social and behavioral sciences and in data science. Dr. Lanning notes, “with respect to innovations in teaching, I believe that a liberal arts education must remain relevant in a time of technological change. In order to foster data literacy for all of our students, proficiency for many, fluency for some, and leadership, perhaps, for a few, I have worked hard to establish a curriculum in data science for our students.”

Dr. Lanning’s colleagues and students have high praise for his methods and innovations in the classroom. “It should be pointed out that Lanning’s approach to teaching is a direct offshoot of his scholarship on such topics as crowd- sourcing, data science, and academic collaboration. He strongly believes that the future of academia will involve collaborative scholarship in a world in which big data will be a more and more important basis of understanding as well as increasingly accessible to scholars,” said Christopher Ely, Ph.D., who co-taught a course with Dr. Lanning.

 One of Dr. Lanning’s students added, “I can attest to Dr.Lanning’s nuanced pedagogical methodology, as well as his genuine care for his students. The atmosphere of a “Lanning class” is dynamic and oriented towards student participation. Discussion naturally blooms from Dr.Lanning’s approach to lecturing; he connects real world events, personal stories, and humor to the material to keep students engaged. Beyond this, he actively engages with all of the students – if a student has a confused expression, or otherwise non-verbally reacts to an idea, he asks them their thoughts. This promotes an inclusive, intellectually rich environment where both vocal and quieter students are involved. If a student is struggling, everyone knows that Dr. Lanning’s office door is always open.”

Another of Dr. Lanning’s students noted, “What I respect the most about Dr. Lanning is his dedication to and investment in his students success. He is a role model for all of us. By giving his time, guidance, and encouragement to every student for the past 20 years, Dr. Lanning has instrumentally shaped the Honors College for the better.”