Education professor receives Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award
Tonya Moore-Huss, a lecturer in elementary education at Northwestern College, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award. She was honored during the college’s commencement ceremony on July 18.
The award is administered by a selection committee made up of Student Government Association members, Honors Program students and a representative of the Faculty Development Committee. The committee chose Vonda Post, business and economics, and Dr. John Vonder Bruegge, biblical and theological studies, as finalists along with Moore-Huss. Thirty-four Northwestern faculty were nominated for the award, with a total of 112 nominations received from students.
The major factor used in selected the award winner is evidence of strong teaching ability. The committee looks at faculty vitae, service reports and course evaluations in addition to the comments of nominators.
Moore-Huss has taught in Northwestern’s education department and the Northwestern NEXT program since 2015, focusing on elementary and special education. She previously taught elementary and middle school students in Indianola and Chariton, Iowa, for more than 20 years.
Northwestern students note that Moore-Huss challenges and inspires them to learn, to do work outside of textbook assignments, and to make connections with real-life scenarios. “She really knows how to make her class fun yet informative,” wrote one student who nominated her for the award.
Other students said Moore-Huss stands out for the way she cares, treating them like her own children. “She is one of the people who have really made Northwestern feel like home,” wrote a student. “She is always there to lend a hand or give an ear to listen. She helped make my transition to NWC very smooth.”
Students commended Moore-Huss for being kind, compassionate, trustworthy and a great listener. “She always knows what to say and gives the best advice,” said a student. Another wrote, “She demonstrates her faith in a sincere and welcoming way and always provides encouragement.”
Moore-Huss earned a master’s degree in collaborative learning and teaching from Graceland University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education at the University of Northern Iowa.
Moore-Huss will be joining the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District this fall, teaching special education at Orange City Elementary. She plans to continue to teach online courses in Northwestern’s Master of Education program.