2015 Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching: Marla Israel, EdD
This annual award seeks to recognize, encourage, and reward outstanding teaching within the School of Education of Loyola University Chicago. The Faculty Awards committee is pleased to award the 2015 School of Education Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching to Dr. Marla Israel, faculty member in the Administration & Supervision Program.
Dr. Israel is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. Dr. Israel has taught in the Administration and Supervision program since 2003 and is an exemplary teacher and mentor. She has a deep commitment to students and their development and believes that all students, regardless of age and setting, can learn. She sees her duty as a teacher to respect the multiple experiences that students bring to the classroom and to use these multiple experiences to reveal, recognize, and identify the course content in all of her courses. To authentically use these varied experiences, her preparation is guided by the best practices of backwards design. The lesson planning process is started with the course standards and objectives in mind, and working backwards from there, create meaningful assessments, syllabi and daily lessons for each particular group of students. This respect for the students’ experiences and contexts results in multiple and varied iterations of syllabi and lessons for the same course.
Dr. Israel’s believes that her teaching must directly result in the student being able to demonstrate - through reading, researching, speaking, writing, and authentic performance assessment - improved professional practice as an educational leader within his/her school. This philosophy permeates her work in the classroom, in curricular redesign, in student research teams, with doctoral candidates, and with administrators and teachers in professional development presentations.
Dr. Israel brings real-world sensibility to her university teaching - five years as a K-8 teacher, fifteen years as an educational administrator/consultant, and twelve years as a professor – helped create that perspective. Her students feel free to share their stories within the classroom because she, too, shares her stories, both the high-points and the failures, openly with them. It is through this dialogue that together the students and her can apply theory to preferred professional practice within multiple educational settings.
Within her scholarship, Dr. Israel, continually searches for new knowledge as it applies to educational leadership and then integrates it into the courses she teaches. This provides her with the opportunity to share and shape her work with her students and hopefully positively impact the lives of children in our public and private institutions. By being an active scholar, writer, and presenter, she models for her students the life of a teacher- scholar committed to applying theory to practice in a manner that strengthens our schools and our profession.
In addition to formal classroom teaching, Dr. Israel is a mentor to her students. During her time at Loyola, she has directed 36 dissertations to completion with another 24 in progress. She has also served as a committee member on another 45 dissertations. Over the past three years, Dr. Israel has led the redesign and approval of four programs, including the M.Ed. Teacher Leader program with ELL endorsement, the M.Ed. and EdD. Principal Preparation programs for the Chicago Public Schools, the M. Ed. Principal Preparation program for the Office of Catholic Schools.
Dr. Marla Israel clearly demonstrates the characteristics of a true teacher in the spirit of the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago. In her own words: “I am called to this work. I must teach in order for my work to have purpose.” For these reasons and more, Dr. Marla Israel was the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.