WATCH: Saint Vincent College Announces Faculty Awards at Honors Convocation
LATROBE, PA – Aaron Sams, an instructor in the Saint Vincent College Education Department, has been named the recipient of the College’s Quentin Schaut Faculty Award.
Named in honor of Rev. Quentin Schaut, O.S.B., an English professor and the seventh president of Saint Vincent College, the award recognizes the contributions, leadership and achievement of a junior faculty member to the curriculum and life of the College. The award was announced by Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, during a special Honors Convocation video produced by the College in lieu of the traditional annual ceremony that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sams has been a member of the Saint Vincent College faculty since 2014 and teaches a variety of courses in the Education Department at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His undergrad courses include Physical and Cultural Geography, Science and the Environment for Early and Special Learners and Teaching of Science for Grades 7-12. He also helps oversee Saint Vincent College’s pre-student teaching and student teaching programs. At the graduate level, Sams presides over courses that include Current Issues and Trends in Education, Assessment Systems for Online Education, Integrated STEM Education and Technological Application for Differentiated instruction.
“Though I’m sad we can’t be together in the Basilica donned in regalia,” said Sams, “I am thankful that the entire Saint Vincent community has banded together during this time of isolation. I’d like to thank the college deans and administrators who selected me to receive this honor, and, though none of us become educators with the goal of receiving awards and honors for our work, it is nonetheless very encouraging to be recognized.”
Sams holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s in classroom instruction, both from Biola University, while he is currently completing his doctoral work in curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in STEM education, at Texas Tech University.
Prior to joining the faculty at Saint Vincent College, Sams taught chemistry in the Woodland Park School District in Colorado and has previously served as co-chair of the Colorado State Science Standards Revision Committee. In 2009, he was honored for his work when he was named a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to recognize excellence in STEM teaching.
The co-author of seven books on the flipped classroom concept and an adviser to Ted-Ed, Sams has delivered keynote addresses at numerous educational conferences, both nationally and internationally.
“Thousands around the world have benefited from his training and insights on how to teach face-to-face, online and by using hybrid models,” said Dr. John Smetanka, Saint Vincent College vice president for academic affairs and academic dean. “Saint Vincent is particularly blessed to have Professor Sams on faculty. This semester, more than any other, Saint Vincent faculty have benefited from his generous spirit and dedication to our educational mission. As we moved online, he offered his expertise in workshops, one-on-one consultation and in countless responses to email conversations. This pandemic has had lasting negative impacts, but it has also provided examples of dedication to community and our collective endeavor.”
“I consider it a great privilege to be part of the faculty at Saint Vincent College,” Sams stated, “and to have been so welcomed into the Bearcat family. I am truly humbled to receive this award for simply doing the work that I love. I can honestly say that I enjoy each day teaching my students, working with my colleagues and serving my department.”
Sams and his wife, Kelsey, are the proud parents of three children, Zeke, Dorothy and Lucy. They reside in Pittsburgh.
Sams' award was announced on a special Honors Convocation video produced by the College in lieu of the traditional annual ceremony, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.