Teaching excellence leads to recognition for Lindsey Payne

Lindsey Payne, director of service learning and assistant professor of practice in EEE was one of two recipients of Purdue's inaugural Teaching Catalyst Award. She was also recently voted a College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Mentor by EEE's graduate students.

Dr. Payne received the Teaching Catalyst award along with Kim Illingworth, assistant dean for learning and assessment and professor of pharmacy practice, for their work on the Framework for Teaching Excellence and the associated Guide for Developing and Documenting Teaching Excellence – part of the Purdue Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education.

Left to right: Dr. Lindsey Payne, Provost Jay Akridge, and Dr. Kim Illingworth receive the inaugural Teaching Catalyst Award at the Celebration of Teaching Excellence. 

“Because great teaching is foundational to each element of the Road Map, we first wanted to establish how Purdue defines teaching excellence,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity.

Akridge continues, “Lindsey and Kim worked tirelessly through a deliberative multi-year process that included guidance from the Teaching Academy, input from the campus community, and a deep look at the research on high-impact teaching. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we have a framework to help us define, advance, document, and promote teaching excellence at Purdue.”

The Teaching Catalyst award is a special recognition from the Office of the Provost for extraordinary and prolonged efforts to improve education at Purdue. The award is new for 2022 and going forward will recognize Purdue instructors and staff who surpass their role as educators, inspire others towards institutional change and take steps above and beyond their discipline, department, and college to ensure that all Boilermaker students benefit from excellent teaching. The authors hope that the common language of the Framework transcends disciplines and that instructors/faculty actively use the Guide in the development of their teaching practices. 

Dr. Payne's commitment to teaching excellence has been extensively recognized by both her peers and students. She was recently named a 2023 College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Member, an award given annually to a faculty member from each academic unit in the College of Engineering based on the recommendation of graduate students. She received the SEEE Instructional Excellence Award in 2022 and 2019 for outstanding teaching achievement based on the votes of EEE undergraduate students. In Fall 2022, she was recognized as an Outstanding Engineering Teacher for her high course evaluation scores by the College of Engineering. Dr. Payne was also named a Teaching Academy Fellow (2021) and honored for Exceptional Teaching and Instructional Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020).

Payne explains, "As an instructor, I am constantly drawn toward getting my students to be more active in building sustainable communities in the most holistic sense—not just applying technical expertise, but activating their sense of civic agency as well. This means moving out of traditional classroom settings to engage in the messy, 'people' spaces. I've always been deeply engaged in the local community and consider myself a connector and boundary spanner, well suited for this pedagogical approach." 

What is one of her proudest teaching moments? 

"EEE 472 holds my proudest moments as an educator. I'm not only proud of the curriculum and community-engaged experience I created for my students, but the growth I get to see in them. This is often their first opportunity to 'own' a real-world engineering problem and thoughtfully collaborate with communities to address it. I have worked hard to learn from my failures in this course, which led me to create a more reciprocal and equitable experience for our community partners." 

Lindsey Payne received her M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2015) in Ecological Sciences and Engineering at Purdue University. She currently volunteers for the Greater Lafayette Climate Action Plan Joint Leadership Team, GrowLocal Lafayette Urban Gardens NetworkWest Lafayette Go Greener Board of Commissioners, and Wabash River Enhancement Corporation Education Committee.

Thank you, Dr. Payne, for promoting teaching excellence at Purdue and demonstrating it daily in your EEE courses!