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Green Teacher of the Year Award

At the end of every academic year, one Certified Green AU faculty member who is considered going beyond the regular certification requirements in innovative ways is selected to become the Green Teacher of the Year.

Award Winners and Motivation

Green Teacher of the Year Winner: 

Katie DeCicco-Skinner (CAS – Biology)

Katie DeCicco-Skinner has been a Certified Green Teacher for the past 12 years. She is given this year’s Green Teacher of the Year Award for switching the biology department from plastic gloves to 100% biodegradable gloves, thus removing an estimated 20,000 plastic gloves per year from landfills. The impact is likely even larger, after she also encouraged the Chemistry and Environmental Science departments to do the same.

Green Teacher of the Year Winner: 

J. Alberto Espinosa (KSB – Information Technology)

J. Alberto Espinosa is being recognized for his consistency of committing to being a Certified Green Teacher for the past 13 years; for continuously committing to a large number of sustainability measures; and for helping to improve the program by repeatedly providing constructive feedback on its design.

Green Teacher of the Year Winner: 

Abdelrahim Salih (CAS – World Languages & Cultures)

Abdelrahim Salih teaches as an adjunct at AU where he has been a Certified Green Teacher for 11 years. He is given the 2019-2020 Green Teacher of the Year Award for successfully launching a Green Teaching Certificate Program inspired by ours at Howard Community College, where he also teaches and works full-time. Spreading the idea of Green Teaching beyond AU can exponentially increase our impact.

Green Teacher of the Year Winner: 


Green Teacher of the Year Winner: 

Academic Year 2018

Jesse Meiller (CAS – Environmental Science)

Jesse receives this award both in recognition of her long-term commitment to sustainable teaching, manifested through her eight years of certification, six of which at the highest, gold, level, and in recognition of her dedication to continuously making incremental changes that contribute to a more sustainable university, while inspiring her students to do so as well. The Green Teaching Certificate has grown out of the innovative ideas of its participating faculty, and despite always scoring high, Jesse continuously challenged herself to find additional ways to be green, thus also contributing with new innovative green teaching measures for other faculty to adopt. One of Jesse’s key traits, which many of her students have highlighted in survey responses about the Green Teaching Program, is her absolute dedication to walking the talk, by not only teaching sustainability, but showing her students how to live sustainably, and how every little action counts, making a very big difference when added up.

Academic Year 2017

Larry Engel (School of Communication)

Professor Larry Engel receives this award both in recognition of his long-term commitment to sustainable teaching, manifested through his nine years of certification at the highest, gold, level – since the inception of the program, and in recognition of his dedication to teaching his film students about the environmental footprint of their work. In addition to being the co-author of the book The Best Practices of Environmental Filmmaking, Larry actively encourages his students to track their “carbon footprint” throughout their final and large film productions. Through his work, this effort carries over into his students’ future careers as filmmakers, and thus has a great impact well beyond American University.

Academic Year 2016

Eve Bratman (School of International Service)

Professor Bratman receives this award both in recognition of her long-term commitment to sustainable teaching, manifested through her seven years of earning the highest, gold level of the Green Teaching Certificate, and in recognition of her championing several campus wide sustainability initiatives. One such initiative that has received wide recognition – and a lot of buzz! – across and outside of campus is the AU Beekeeping Society, which Eve founded in 2011, and which has brought much needed awareness to the environmental issues that affect bees, while also enabling students to be involved in promoting this cause. Other initiatives include proposing a Sustainability Designation for courses taught at AU, and writing about AU’s fossil fuel divestment initiative in collaboration with students and colleagues.

Academic year 2015

Rachel Louise Snyder (Department of Literature, CAS) 

Professor Snyder receives this award in recognition of her creativity in implementing innovative sustainability measures-in particular to reduce the use of paper-in a field that traditionally relies heavily on the use of paper, thus becoming a role model in showing that it is possible to make a difference with small adjustments in your teaching. Professor Snyder has been a certified green professor since she started teaching at American University in 2009, and has yet to accept a student assignment turned in on paper. She has also gone beyond her own classes to make AU greener, among other things by turning the Creative Writing Program’s two paper newsletters into an online magazine.

Academic year 2014

Robin Broad (School of International Service)

Professor Broad receives this award because of her long-time commitment to teaching sustainable – she was a “green teacher” before the Green Teaching Certification program existed, and has consistently lived up to her reputation by earning top scores every year since the program’s inception in 2008. In addition, professor Broad is recognized for her commitment to not only making her courses greener, but for helping her students become “green students” as well as “green citizens,” by teaching them how to turn ideas into action, and how their actions are connected to a broader movement that extends well beyond the classroom.

academic year 2013

Kiho Kim (CAS, Environmental Science)

Professor Kim receives this award because in addition to participating in developing and testing the program in 2008, he has consistently not only re-certified, but increased his efforts to teach sustainably every year. Most significantly, he has pushed his students to examine the idea of sustainability on a real and personal level, by developing class projects that connect the ideals of sustainability to actions, thus greening not only his classrooms but, more importantly, his students. To give you a concrete example of the impact that one individual faculty member’s commitment to Green Teaching can have: In the last five years, Professor Kim has taught a total of 575 students. By committing to not printing the class syllabus for any of his classes, he saved an estimated ten reams of paper from this measure alone. Multiply that by 300 faculty, and by the numerous other ways in which paper can be saved, and we are saving forests at American University alone.

academic year 2012

Alex Hodges (School of Education, Teaching & Health / University Library)

Professor Hodges receives this award because in addition to achieving a top score on the Green Teaching Certification Survey, he demonstrates a strong commitment not only to making his own classes more sustainable, but to encouraging his teacher candidate students to model green teaching initiatives in their future classrooms.

academic year 2011

Loanna Sakellion (CAS, Graphic Design)

Professor Sakellion receives this award because in addition to achieving a top score on the Green Teaching Certificate Survey, she demonstrates that it is possible to integrate sustainability into the curriculum in a field where it is not common – graphic design and fine arts – thus showing that teaching courses on traditionally environmental topics is not a prerequisite for teaching about sustainability.

academic year 2010

Victoria Kiechel (School of International Service)

Professor Kiechel receives this award in recognition of her efforts to take a relatively conventional course topic of building design and approach it from the point of view of sustainability, integrating green principles as well as practical applications of sustainable building right here on the AU campus. For example, students conducted assessments of workspaces to evaluate whether building occupants have access to views and natural light from their desks.


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