Mac honors professor with two excellence in teaching awards

May 15, 2018 | 3:12 PM

MacMurray College is proud to announce that Dr. Shahyad Ghoncheh, assistant professor of psychology, received both the United Methodist Board of Higher Education Award for Teaching Excellence and the Dewey Wilkins Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2017-18 academic year.

These two awards are presented annually to full-time members of the faculty, but this is the first time that both awards went to the same faculty member.

"For the first time in known history one faculty member is the recipient of these two awards given annually in recognition of teaching excellence," Beverly Rodgers, provost and vice president of academic affairs and student life, said. "Congratulations and many thanks to Dr. Ghoncheh for his contribution to student success at MacMurray College."

This was Ghoncheh's fourth year at MacMurray and his 15th year overall teaching in higher education, and after winning these two awards, he said he feels "appreciated" and "accomplished." 

"To find out that you're the first professor at MacMurray College who has ever won two different excellence in teaching awards at the same time, and therefore will be part of College history, that is a type of honor that can't be described," Ghoncheh said. "It's beyond words."
Ghoncheh considers himself as an educator rather than an instructor and in his classes, in addition to teaching the subject matter, he tries to educate students about life. 

"To me, this means my teaching style is well-received and they appreciate it," Ghoncheh said. "Also, it means that I have been successful in what I have tried to do, which is educate them. That would mean that I have accomplished what I wanted to do. "

Ghoncheh added that he feels like a father who sees that his children have grown up and can live on their own. "Erick Erikson, one of the famous psychologists, would refer to this as a sense of generativity, or contributing to the next generation. Well, I feel that I have contributed to the next generation."


About Shahyad Ghoncheh, Ed.D.: Ghoncheh was born in Iran and lived there until he moved to Sweden when he was 14, where he attended junior high and high school. After graduating from high school, Ghoncheh moved to Chicago, where he lived for nearly 28 years. He moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, when he started teaching at MacMurray College in August 2014. 

Ghoncheh has a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy, and a master's degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He earned his doctorate degree in counseling psychology from Argosy University in Chicago, as well. In addition to English, which he learned at age 19, he can speak Farsi and Swedish.

About the Dewey Wilkins Teaching Award: This award is given to a full-time member of the faculty who has shown excellence in teaching. The Dewey Wilkins Teaching Award is presented each year to a member of the faculty who has shown extensive knowledge and mastery of his or her subject matter, who is innovative in course and curriculum design, who has the ability to inspire, guide and mentor students, and who has helped enrich the scholarship of teaching and learning.

About United Methodist Board of Higher Education Award for Teaching Excellence: This award is presented to a full-time member of faculty who best fulfills the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of excellence in teaching; 
  • Civility and concern for students and colleagues; 
  • Commitment to value-centered education;
  • Service to students beyond the classroom; 
  • Service to the institution; 
  • Service to the community beyond the campus; 
  • And service to a local church



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