Dr. James Skouge is the recipient of the 2013 Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching award. The award has been presented since 1986 to faculty members for their significant contributions to teaching and student learning. An awards ceremony will be held on April 30, 2013 in Orvis Auditorium.
Skouge has been with the College of Education (COE) since 1992. He began in the Center on Disability Studies as an assistant professor, serving the Hawaiian islands and American Sāmoa. Today, he is a tenured associate professor with the Department of Special Education where he teaches Technologies for Children with Disabilities, a required course in the early childhood and special education dual preparation program.
Having taught across the curriculum for 40 years, Skouge says he values teaching more than ever. For nearly half of his career, he has worked in Polynesia and Micronesia, introducing and offering educational supports with assistive technologies and multimedia. He has had consulting and teaching responsibilities for special education services in American Sāmoa.
In one homework assignment from Skouge’s class, graduate students learned about a family from American Sāmoa. The videos and stories about a mother and her two blind children span 20 years and depict their struggles and triumphs along with Skouge’s instrumental role in bringing assistive technologies to their village. The students’ reflections on this assignment are filled with emotion and declarations of the profound impact the family’s story had on them, but it is Skouge who says he is inspired by his students’ comments and energy.
Skouge is the team leader for the Pacific Voices Project, an informal association of Pacific Islander students dedicated to ethical applications of technology to honor village wisdom, create career opportunities for island youth, and celebrate the beauty of the Pacific through digital storytelling. Members of the Pacific Voices team, as well as other students and colleagues from Hawaiʻi, American Sāmoa, and Micronesia, were among those who offered their overwhelming support and letters of recommendation to the chancellor on behalf of Skouge.
“For the past many years, Dr. Skouge continues to do the things he loves, touching hearts and changing lives of students and colleagues,” wrote LJ Rayphand, an educational technology doctoral student in the COE. “He does many of these out of his own time and his will. I truly believe that it is time to shed the light on many of his accomplishments and achievements.”
Skouge says this award is a college award. “I want our college to be respected or honored for teaching. We have a lot of great professors in the COE, and I don’t believe I outshine anybody. Students are the ones who matter, and I am going to try to make this award a constructive tool to see how I can better my teaching for them. The award is appreciated, particularly at the sunset of my career. It has been a great ride, and I will go out on a refreshed note.”