The Duncan Fellowship recognizes innovative and successful teaching in Appalachian’s General Education program, a unit within University College. The award was established in honor of Duncan, vice chairman of the Appalachian State University Foundation Board of Directors and a past chairman of Appalachian’s Board of Trustees.
Greenwald is a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences. She joined the faculty at Appalachian in 1998.
Greenwald teaches math to first year students in a course that is interdisciplinary, thematically linked and examines local-to-global connections. “Many of the students leave the course with a true appreciation of what mathematics is, what it has to offer, why it is useful, and the diverse ways that people can be successful at mathematics,” she said of the course. “Some students tell me that for the first time in their lives, in my classroom, they feel good about their abilities and enjoy mathematics.”
Her First Year Seminar course examines the process of discovery as well as the implications of recent breakthroughs and developments in science and mathematics. She also serves on the faculty coordinating committee that approves First Year Seminar proposals and develops policy regarding courses. Greenwald also is a Writing in the Discipline consultant for math within Appalachian’s Writing Across the Curriculum program.
“I enjoy fostering a classroom environment where my students feel comfortable engaging in active learning, asking questions and participating in classroom discussions,” she says of her approach to teaching. “My strengths include my creativity, and my use of technology, reflections and group work. I enjoy creating interdisciplinary materials to help students learn, and evaluating, refining and sharing my teaching innovations.”
Greenwald’s colleagues praise her ability to link math to themes that resonate with students.
“Part of the reason for Sarah’s effectiveness in reaching students in a general education math class is her expertise in the connections between math and popular culture,” a fellow faculty member wrote. “She has a national reputation as a speaker on representations of math in popular culture and of women and minorities in math. Through all of these activities, Sarah’s main passion has been her desire to help more students see the relevance of mathematics in their lives and to teach them math in different ways.”
Greenwald has a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree from Union College.
University College consists of the university’s integrated general education curriculum, academic support services, residential learning communities, interdisciplinary degree programs and co-curricular programming – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom.