MSU College of Social Science announces Dr. Laurie Bulock recipient of the 2024 Faculty Teaching Innovation Award

Bulock

The MSU College of Social Science selected Laurie Bulock, CFLE, Ph.D., for the 2024 Faculty Teaching Innovation Award. Dr. Bulock is an assistant professor in the MSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The award is given to someone who innovatively approaches teaching to help students achieve desired learning outcomes.

The award specifically recognizes faculty who teach undergraduates in the college, and Dr. Bulock teaches five[BL1]  undergraduate courses a year that range in size from 40-250 students. Her work with students focuses on orienting them to the HDFS major and supporting their professional development through learning and networking opportunities.

“Dr. Bulock’s teaching goes beyond the transmission of knowledge; it is a transformative journey that equips students with the confidence, skills and inspiration to navigate their academic and professional futures,” said Yijie Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor and co-nominator. “Her innovative and student-centric approach has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the education experience of those fortunate enough to be under her guidance. Dr. Bulock’s dedication to her students and her commitment to excellence make her a truly deserving recipient of this award.”

This year, Dr. Bulock began a podcast, The HDFS Career Podcast, for students to hear from alumni and other professionals about careers they could pursue with a degree in HDFS. Another innovative teaching method is her final exam group project where students choose a topic and target population they are passionate about and design a family science program that could be implemented in the community.

“Students enjoy her classes because of the intellectual stimulation of the content,” said Adrian Blow, Ph.D., chair of MSU HDFS and co-nominator for the award. “However, beyond this, they report again and again how much they like Dr. Bulock as a human, an instructor who engages with them with kindness, care, and compassion. In her courses, students provide extensive positive feedback.”

Her nomination materials were filled with quotes from students raving about her including a student who submitted a nomination letter on her behalf.

“Dr. Bulock is a charismatic, eager-to-help, and supportive professor,” said Zhaniya Robinson, HDFS junior who took Dr. Bulock’s HDFS 270 course. “Her dedication to helping her students both inside and outside of the course is admirable.”

“I feel incredibly honored to receive this award and recognition,” Dr. Bulock said. “My colleagues in HDFS have always been incredibly supportive of my efforts. This award feels even more like a confirmation that I am on the right track as an educator, and that creative innovations in my courses are valued and appreciated at the college level too.”

Dr. Bulock loves getting to know her students and forming a personal connection.

“Hopefully it helps them feel supported in their educational journeys, which I believe helps them succeed. Sometimes simply asking them how they are doing and giving them space to respond helps them feel seen and heard, which is huge for them,” she said.

She also loves to be creative with assignments and class activities to enhance student connections with course concepts and with the major. As she looks back on her teaching career, there are many moments that stand out to her.

“One of the moments was when I was giving a lecture on human development and a student tells me they felt like I was specifically talking to them,” she reflected. “Some of the most meaningful moments have been in HDFS 270, when many students first come into our major. Past round table events, and now the Podcast, seem to help students connect their passions with potential career options. They have a better understanding of what they can do to prepare for the next steps in their journey, and they really appreciate learning about the career paths of the people I have interviewed.”

By Katie Frey

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