Jane Lang, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2004

Earth Sciences, Non-regular award category

Jane Lang has been the instructor of the earth sciences introductory geology laboratories (Earth 121 and 122) since her arrival in the late 1970s. Her students say she is “extremely well organized and knowledgeable,” and is “always well prepared and finds creative and unique ways to present the material she is teaching.” Because so much of earth sciences is observational and experience-based, the interactions with students in these laboratories is key to their understanding the course material. Instead of just explaining how different types of rock layers are affected by faulting, Ms. Lang baked a layer cake with different types of cake representing rock layers and cut them so students could see what would happen in different faulting scenarios. To ensure everyone could see clearly as she cut the cake, she set up a video camera to feed into the televisions in the laboratory. Jane's demonstrations, videos and diagrams are extremely helpful in understanding concepts that can sometimes be difficult to visualize. Students report that these aids make the lab “more fun and very unique” ! As a result of Jane's enthusiasm for geology, one student commented “I now know I'm in the right program!”