McKendree University Associate Professor of Biology Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Angie LaMora(LEBANON, Ill.) - Dr. Angie LaMora, an associate professor of biology at McKendree University, is this year’s recipient of the 2023 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for her outstanding contribution to the teaching profession and to her students. She was chosen by the university’s top administrators and received an engraved crystal apple, along with additional Emerson recognition. The award also includes an opportunity to apply for an Emerson grant to support supplemental classroom services or materials at an award recipient’s school.

A native of Osage Beach, Mo., Dr. LaMora has served McKendree since 2014 and has been the chairperson of the Division of Science and Mathematics since 2020. She regularly teaches anatomy and physiology, principles of cellular and molecular biology, biology of development, and neurobiology classes. Dr. LaMora has been acclaimed as an efficient and tactful leader and liaison between faculty and administrators as they navigate the path toward a renewal of the university’s Voigt Science Hall.

Dr. LaMora’s passion lies in teaching. Her courses are filled with effective teaching strategies, and she prepares extensive videos of course content and uses class time to practice with – and push – students. She asks that students hone in on core ideas before they come to class and then uses class time to refine, expand and cement those ideas. Her instructional approach has led to a collaboration with a publishing company in which she is building a bank of critical thinking worksheets for anatomy and physiology faculty across the United States.

Dr. LaMora’s classes are full of energy yet informal. Many of her students comment on how she easily explains complex content, regularly employs a variety of learning options and promotes lively conversation regarding all things biology. She is known by all for her leadership, outstanding classroom instruction and commitment to professional development.

“Learning is easy when you’re curious. By playing with questions and riddles in the classroom, I aim to help students find their curiosity, so they are ready to receive and apply new information,” Dr. LaMora said.

Dr. LaMora is also working with Cognella Publishing to publish a student workbook with a comprehensive instructor guide titled “Thinking Your Way through Anatomy and Physiology.” The student workbook consists of a series of questions that move sequentially through topics in anatomy and physiology. The comprehensive instructor guide illustrates a step-by-step approach to solve these problems with a classroom of students. The goal of the book is to help students learn by manipulating and applying information, and to help instructors teach by leading students through the bits of information that must be understood to answer the questions. She plans on completing the book next fall.