Our 2020-2021 Excellence in Teaching Award for the doctoral level is Tony Mangino. He is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology.
Dr. Jerrell Cassady nominated Tony and has this to say, “It is deeply gratifying to see a doctoral student in educational psychology (where we study learning, motivation, and assessment from a framework of psychology) put all these theories into practice. The aspects of Mr. Mangino’s teaching that stood out reliably and repeatedly that prompted his nomination spring mostly from his deep dedication to actively engaging his students.
This has taken a particularly powerful form this year – despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic. This year, Tony has implemented a new teaching approach called “Critical Case Studies,” where he provides a realistic educational condition and his students work collaboratively to apply the theories and principles of our discipline to critically analyze and provide solutions to support optimal outcomes. In this way, he is helping the future teachers in his classes realize the knowledge they are accumulating during their time at Ball State has critical value to their careers and will help them thrive. Tony engages students in careful critical analysis of content as well as ensuring they examine learners and educational settings through a multisystem lens. With that approach, he demonstrates that while there are few “simple” questions they will face as professionals, they will have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in meeting those complex challenges. Finally, Tony has an infectious intensity toward learning. Students are drawn in by the implicit messages he offers that communicate that what he’s about to explore with his students is both fundamentally essential to their future, but also extremely interesting. With that enthusiasm and authenticity, he captures their attention – with his skills as a teacher, he maintains it.”
Here is a Q & A with Tony.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I fundamentally believe that teaching should be a collaborative effort on the part of all involved. To accomplish this, I make every effort to narrate my decision-making process in an effort to impart this co-constructed understanding of why I’ve made the pedagogical decisions I’ve made. This is my way of attempting to bring my students into my planning process, giving them the inside view of what a teacher may be thinking when making decisions that affect their students.
The beautiful thing about teaching is that no two years, semesters, or even days are the same. Teachers are the ultimate improvisers: each day we are met with new challenges, new insights that spark our creativity, and new opportunities to teach and learn in different ways. It’s really quite exciting.
Similarly, I believe that my students always have something to teach me. This is particularly evident with my secondary education majors—they all have a knowledge base greater than mine in their own domains, and I revel in any opportunity I can provide to allow sharing of their experiences and knowledge. I never know when I’ll learn a new representation of a mathematical equation or a new artistic style I’ve never seen before.
What courses have you taught here at Ball State?
I have taught EDPS 390—learning & assessment for secondary education—as instructor of record, but I have also served as a teaching assistant for EDPS 393, 345, 641, 642, and 741.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I get the opportunity to discuss, in-depth, some very interesting topics with individuals who are going to be, very soon, making use of those concepts in their own classrooms. Knowing that I am helping prepare future teachers for the profession, I thoroughly enjoy not only discussing theory and practice with my students, but learning from their unique domains and philosophies. It’s really quite invigorating to know how many varied perspectives can walk into my classroom each day and substantively contribute to the rich discourse in which we engage. I love seeing these perspectives come to life in our discussions and in assignments.
What brought you to Ball State University?
To be perfectly honest, it was a complete fluke that I first found the master’s program in Educational Psychology (thanks, Internet)! But after only a single semester in that program, I knew I wanted to pursue my doctoral education here. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I am continually reminded that I made the right decision. The mentorship has been second-to-none, and the sheer volume of opportunities I’ve had for research, mentoring, teaching, and service has been staggering.
Anything else you would like us to know?
Teaching should not be an isolating profession, and I am not without my mentors, folks who deserve credit for influencing not only what I teach, but how I teach it. Thank you to Drs. Jocelyn Bolin, Jerrell Cassady, Matt Stuve, Holmes Finch, Gerardo Ramirez, Serena Shim, Kathryn Fletcher, Robert Johnson (University of Northern Colorado), and Amy Eppolito (University of Southern Maine)!
What are your future goals/career goals?
Broadly, I’d love to continue in my research area of advanced statistical modeling techniques for both numeric and text data as well as teaching or mentoring, in some capacity. Ultimately, I’d love to put together my own consistent research team (in whatever context) such that we could collaborate and learn from one another in both our own research direction and assist others in developing theirs.
What is next for you after you graduate from Ball State?
There will always be the thought of and desire to pursue the coveted tenured faculty position, so I am likely to work toward that goal. My specialization is in research methods and statistics, which allows me quite a bit of variety in the work I can do. I’ve been rather enjoying working for the Research Design Studio as a graduate assistant consultant, so I may seek a similar avenue on a larger scale. Just like my love of the variety in teaching, so too do I enjoy it in research design and support.