- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2014)
For many college students, mathematics courses are dry and to be endured. But Jon Becker, lecturer in mathematics and actuarial science at IU Northwest, has higher aspirations for the students he teaches. Becker loves to share his passion for the intricacies of math with the students in his classes, often using pop culture references to illustrate the everyday role that mathematics plays in our lives.
Becker earned both B.S. and M.S. degrees in secondary education from IU Northwest in 1988 and 1996, respectively. The veteran lecturer has won many teaching awards through the years on the Northwest campus, according to Itzok Hozo, chair of the mathematics and actuarial sciences department, and is consistently praised by his students, who have called him energetic, a great teacher, and “the first math teacher I’ve had that I actually learned something from.”
Becker notes that his teaching style has grown deeper and richer through his involvement with Indiana University’s acclaimed Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) program. Inducted into FACET in 2002, Becker learned that reflective analysis of his teaching was a critical component in both his growth as a teacher and the eventual success of his students. Students who have been taught by Becker appreciate the personal connections he tries to build with them, and his natural enthusiasm for mathematics has encouraged even those who don't like the subject to learn how much math and its underlying principles are interwoven into their everyday experiences.
Becker's fellow faculty members at IU Northwest are impressed with his contributions to higher education on the campus and throughout the IU system, particularly in service to his fellow lecturers. He has played a major role in the growth of FALCON (FACET Adjunct Lecturers Conference), and event that recognizes the key role that lecturers play in higher education. Becker has won multiple teaching awards from the IU Board of Trustees, and was honored in 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2012. In 2013 he won the highly regarded FACET Eileen Bender Fellowship.