By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

A School of Information Studies faculty member who regards himself as a lifelong learner and who looks at teaching as learning facilitation is receiving a prestigious Syracuse University award recognizing excellence in teaching.

Associate Professor of Practice David Dischiave, director of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) Global Enterprise Technology (GET) and Systems and Information Science (SIS) programs, has been named one of the 2013 faculty members selected for the Teaching Recognition Award sponsored by the Meredith Professorship at Syracuse University.

The award recognizes excellence in teaching and strives to encourage a culture of collegial mentoring among faculty members. Recipients are chosen by a committee of the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professors for Teaching Excellence. Each year, the Meredith program presents up to five non-tenured tenure-track faculty members and up to two non-tenure track, adjunct, or part-time faculty members awards of $3,000, to be used for expenses related to personal professional development.  

“Being selected for a Teaching Recognition Award is an especially significant honor, given the exceptional teachers who were nominated this year,” stated the University’s award letter. “We share your colleagues’ and students’ admiration for the contributions you have made to teaching and learning, and we encourage your continued pursuit of excellent in all aspects of your teaching at Syracuse University,” it noted.

Speaking about the honor, an animated “Dave D,” as he is known, said being recognized for teaching excellence has a huge significance.

“I’m thrilled. I can’t tell you how it makes me feel. You put so much of yourself in your courses, it’s a huge investment. When I teach a class, I leave everything out on the table; when I’m done, I’m completely drained. And to have someone else recognize that is a big deal. To have an external body of the Meredith professors – the ‘best of the best’­­­­– ­say that you did a really good job – that’s like having Michael Jordan say you’re a damned good basketball player! I’m thankful for the award, and the fact that I was chosen over a lot of really good educators, I’m very appreciative of that.”

Learning Facilitator

Dischiave’s approach is to regard his teaching role as a facilitating student learning. “Even in the corporate world, one of my roles was to educate junior-level executives in order to bring them along to the senior level. So no matter what job I did, I was always teaching to bring people along,” he said. “Because I teach what I do, I can make the course material very relevant. And I think that relevance makes this material come alive. That’s what I do that makes it easy to learn,” he added.

His plans for the award are to find some courses where he can delve further into data analytics and data streaming, subjects he described as “my passion;” and to learn more about building MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

Beauty of Teaching

“This is a special job,” the professor enthused. “I wake up every day and rarely really reflect on how lucky I am. But something like this causes you to go back and rethink those things,” he said. “What I do is fun; teaching is really enjoyable. The award is an awakening. What it said to me is, ‘how can I do this teaching thing even better?’ So, now I’m thinking and planning already for next semester about how I’m going to make improvements. The beauty of teaching is that you can always get better.”

Teaching goes back to 1974 for Dave D., when he began adjunct instructing courses in Computer Science in the University of Connecticut system. He also taught in the MBA program at SUNY Oswego and in the Computer Information Studies department at Onondaga Community College.  Dischiave joined the faculty of the iSchool in 2001. He has taught 18 different iSchool courses, half of which he developed from scratch. 

The University’s presentation of the Teaching Recognition Awards is scheduled for April 22.