Montana University System faculty are named 2020 MUS Teaching Scholars

Scholars will develop strategies to narrow student opportunity and achievement gaps


The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is pleased to announce it has selected 14 faculty members and instructors for the Montana University System’s Teaching Scholars program.

Now in its second year, the program recognizes faculty members who have made exemplary contributions to teaching and learning at their institutions. The Teaching Scholars will be challenged throughout the coming year to develop and share strategies to enhance student learning and success.

Each year, the MUS Teaching Scholars program focuses on a selected theme that speaks to innovative approaches to teaching and that aligns with MUS teaching and learning priorities. As the nation grapples with social and racial injustices and the MUS seeks to continue to address the ways that these injustices show up in the classroom, this year’s program is focused on “Equity-Minded Pedagogies.”

Teaching Scholars were chosen for their commitment to narrowing these gaps and to serving the Montana University System’s larger vision of making Montana public higher education accessible, valuable and equitable for all students.

At the heart of the MUS Teaching Scholars program is the way it builds cumulative impact through faculty learning communities. During the spring semester, each Teaching Scholar will lead faculty on their home campus in developing innovative and effective teaching strategies. 

“This year’s theme aligns with the Montana University System’s strategic goals around college access and success for all,” said Dr. Brock Tessman, OCHE Deputy Commissioner of Academic, Research, & Student Affairs. “We want to recognize the work being done in these areas and support the scholars as they lead their colleagues in building a community of excellence around equitable teaching practices.”

Scholars will receive a $1,500 award as well as a $500 stipend to design and facilitate a faculty learning community at their institution. This year’s cohort of Scholars is funded through support from the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and the Lumina Foundation.

“We’re bringing together innovators from across the university system to share, learn and grow together,” said Tessman. “While the program celebrates and supports outstanding faculty, the true beneficiaries are our students, who will benefit from innovative teaching strategies that make learning more exciting and meaningful.”

Selected MUS Teaching Scholars are from all types of institutions within the Montana University System – doctoral flagship, regional four-year, two-year and community college. Scholars were chosen from a competitive pool of faculty from across the system and all faculty tracks and ranks.

2020-2021 Montana University System MUS Teaching Scholars

Additional information about the program can be found at

2020-2021 MUS Teaching Scholars

  • Austin Grant Bennett, Writing Instructor in General Education, City College at Montana State University Billings
  • Kate Brayko, Associate Professor in Teaching & Learning, University of Montana
  • Kimberly Feig, Sociology Faculty Instructor in General Education, Helena College
  • Paul Gannon, Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University
  • Salena Beaumont Hill, Adjunct Professor in Native American Studies, University of Montana
  • Andrew King-Reis, Professor at Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana
  • Wan-Yuan Kuo, Assistant Professor in Health and Human Development, Montana State University
  • Molly Ann Magestro, Faculty in General Education, Miles Community College
  • Monte Mills, Associate Professor & Director Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, University of Montana
  • Meta Newhouse, Professor in Graphic Design, Montana State University
  • Nanci L. Red Bird, Assistant Professor in Division of Education/Early Childhood, UM Western
  • Hilary Smith Risser, Professor in Mathematical Sciences, Montana Technological University
  • Glen T. Southergill, Associate Professor in Writing Program, Montana Technological University
  • Heather Thompson-Bahm, Instructor in Business, Construction, and Energy Technology Programs, City College at Montana State University Billings

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