Jamie Simpson Steele, a professor in the College of Education School of Teacher Education (STE), was awarded a 2023 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Presidential Citation for Meritorious Teaching. Each year, this award recognizes faculty members who have made significant contributions to teaching and student learning.
“Jamie is an exceptional instructor who employs engaging and creative instructional strategies that our teacher candidates enjoy very much,” STE Elementary Director Kuʻulei Serna said. “She consistently innovates and perfects her praxis to ensure that our students understand and apply what is learned to become inspiring and effective teachers. Most of all, Jamie cares about her students and provides a safe and nurturing learning environment.”
With the college since 2001, Simpson Steele has taken on multiple roles. In addition to teaching performing arts methods courses, she is currently the graduate chair for the PhD in Education and is assisting the Dean’s Office with Assessment, Accreditation, and Accountability. Previously, she was a 2020–21 COE Hubert V. Everly Endowed Scholar in Education and 2018 Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recipient.
“It’s wonderful to receive acknowledgement because teaching is hard work!” Simpson Steele said. “I also co-teach with many amazing partners, and I share this acknowledgement with them. The practices and the culture of STE support excellence across our faculty. I am in a place where I am constantly learning from the best.”
Simpson Steele was selected for the Presidential Citation through a rigourous selection process upon nomination, which included a dossier of her teaching philosophy, evaluations, letters of support, and a committee screening and qualitative peer review.
“Ma ka hana ka ʻike suggests we learn through work,” Simpson Steele said. “I challenge, empower, and activate my teacher candidates to model the meaning of engagement. Learners deserve to discover and express themselves with passion. They should be involved with course content in ways that temper the anxiety of new experiences and with the security of a scaffold – to find natural engagement with personally meaningful tasks. The arts are my vehicle for engaging learners in the work of learning across ages and disciplines.”