Skip Navigation

Excellence in Teaching Award

Our faculty awards recognize outstanding experienced and new faculty at the graduate and undergraduate levels who demonstrate teaching excellence, as well as leadership and scholarship in their discipline.

  • Demonstrates teaching excellence in the classroom
  • Values innovation in teaching and learning
  • Shows support of student success toward retention, persistence, and completion
  • Demonstrates leadership in the classroom
  • Completed nomination form
  • A copy of the nominee's current CV, to include scholarly publications
  • Evidence of:
    • Nominee's interaction with a student (examples: assignments, feedback, discussion responses)
    • Nominee's classroom innovation, including a before/after analysis of the change 
    • How the nominee has helped a student be successful in a course or has helped retain a student
    • Nominee's support of the university mission (examples: helping others make connections, supports course development, shows compassion, flexibility or professional support)
    • A narrative or video of the nominee’s teaching philosophy. Should be no more than 250 words or two minutes in length
    • Statement of support from the nominee's Department Chair, Associate Dean, or Dean
  • Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and those familiar with the nominee’s work
    • Nominees will be notified and asked to provide a narrative or video of their teaching philosophy. Should be no more than 250 words or two minutes in length
  • Top candidates in each academic school are presented to the Academic Awards Committee for review
  • The University Provost grants final approval
  • The award may, but will not necessarily, be awarded annually to one undergraduate and graduate faculty member per academic school 
  • Open to part-time and full-time faculty members
  • Award recipients will be honored during Commencement weekend, and should we have an in-person celebration, one night accommodations and individual travel expenses to attend Commencement will be paid for by the University
  • Award recipients receive a crystal trophy
  • Award recipients are not required to attend Commencement to accept the award

Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Dr. Karolina Kopczynski

School of Arts, Humanities, and Education 

Dr. Karolina Kopczynski is a native of Poland and moved to the U.S.A. as a high school student. Her passion is learning foreign languages, traveling, and communicating with others to broaden and deepen her perspectives as a global learner. She earned her B. A. in Spanish from UMASS, Amherst, where she also studied French, German, Italian, and Russian. She completed her study abroad program in Oviedo, Spain. Dr. Kopczynski obtained her M.A.T. in Spanish and ESOL from the School for International Training, VT, in 2000. She also taught herself Greek and lived in Greece.

Additionally, she lived in Mexico and Russia. In 2010, Dr. Kopczynski completed her Ed.D. from the University of Phoenix in Curriculum and Instruction. Her dissertation topic was "Student Proficiency in Spanish Taught by Native and Non-native Spanish instructors." In 2015, she completed two additional master's degrees from the University of Jaén in Spain and the University Iberoamericana in Puerto Rico in Applied Linguistics in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and Formation of Professors of Spanish as a Foreign Language. Dr. Kopczynski has experience instructing Spanish at all levels and designing online Spanish courses. Recently, Dr. Kopczynski presented a few times at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA) on "Reading & Listening Comprehension and Writing & Speaking Proficiency" and "Online Applications for Spanish Classroom"; at Canvas Network international webinar on the "Use of Technology in a Foreign Language Classroom," at the Wyoming Innovations in Learning Conference on "Boost Engagement and Empower Struggling Learners via Digital Tools." and at APUS at Teaching Excellence Summit on "Implementation of Technology into Spanish online classes at APUS to increase participation."


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Mr. Willie Davis

School of Business

Willie Davis has been a faculty member at American Public University System since 2011.   Willie serves as a management analyst for a federal agency when he's not facilitating management courses for the APUS Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business.  As a Management Analyst, Willie has taught 15 Lean Six Sigma (L.S.S.) courses for agencies within the Intelligence Community, the Atlanta Federal Executive Board, and National Guard units in California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Connecticut, Mississippi, and Michigan.  He has also had the opportunity to lead and coach over 30 L.S.S. projects chartered to enhance operations at several federal agencies.  Willie is passionate about helping individuals and organizations achieve their educational and strategic goals.

Before serving as a Management Analyst, Willie served as a Logistics Readiness Officer in the United States Air Force.  His most memorable assignments are deploying to Southwest Asia 46 days after 9/11 and partnering with stakeholders from Canada, Korea, Belgium, Germany, Macedonia, and Kyrgyzstan in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.  After eight years, Willie separated with 2 Meritorious Service, 4 Commendation, and 2 Joint-Service Achievement Medals.

Willie earned his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University and an M.S. degree in Human Resource Management from Troy State University.  Additionally, Willie is a Baldrige Examiner, an American Society for Quality-Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and a Project Management Professional.


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Dr. Carol Hoban

School of Health Sciences

Dr. Hoban earned her Ph.D. in cellular molecular biology and physiology from Georgia State University in 2008. She earned her M.P.H. degree in 1997 from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Dr. Hoban has worked in maternal and child health and vaccine-preventable diseases. She was the project director for the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) in Georgia for over six years. She was also the project director for the Georgia Immunization Study for over seven years. Dr. Hoban has numerous published articles based on her work in both vaccine-preventable diseases and maternal and child health. She is also currently a peer reviewer for the Maternal and Child Health Journal.


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Ms. Linda Ashar

School of Business

Linda C. Ashar came to the University in 2012. She is a full-time Associate Professor in the Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in business, law, and ethics. She obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Akron School of Law. Her law practice spans more than 30 years and includes business, employment law, nonprofit organizations, animal law, and litigation. She is active in pro bono legal work, animal rescue, and equine breed preservation. She assists in program development and new curriculum design for the Business Administration Program in the W.E.B. School of Business. Linda has written many publications and hosts a podcast for the University called "Politics in the Workplace."

In addition to law, Linda has a Master of Arts in Special Education. She brings a lifelong love of teaching and dedication to her work. She explains her philosophy of teaching embraces "communicating knowledge and enlightenment to students by engaging their own self-discovery through the materials and the benefit of my own relevant experience and that of others in the field. The methodology needs to be diverse via visual, audio, and tactile (for online – digitally interactive) presentation. Inherent throughout the process is creativity, empathy, flexibility, and respect." Her approach is reflected in consistent high marks from her students in course evaluations. When not teaching, writing, researching, reading, or pursuing a law question, Linda enjoys many activities on her family's horse farm in Ohio with her husband, Mike, a retired Army officer and attorney.


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Dr. Daniel Graetzer

School of Health Sciences

Daniel Graetzer is passionate about teaching at APUS because our students never cease to inspire him. Being around inspirational people within a university that sincerely desires to help active military, veterans, sports, and health science professionals overcome obstacles and then use these skills to help others achieve their personal and professional goals makes the most rewarding career. Daniel was a reserve tight end for Colorado State University Rams football and has since played competitive handball and run several 10K and marathon races. Daniel and his wonderful wife (Shonah) of over 24 years raised our two children (Hannah, Noah) on the Seattle eastside in Kirkland, Washington. While instructing teenagers apprehensive about their futures to adult learners desiring blue-collar to white-collar advancement, Daniel finds it profitable to relate the following:

"What lies in front of us and what lies behind us are much smaller things that what lies within us" ~Ralph W. Emerson

"Only through a comprehensive study of the amazingly complex anatomical structure and related physiological functioning within the human body can a person ever really find out what lies within them" ~Daniel G. Graetzer


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Dr. Eduardo Martinez

School of Security and Global Studies

Dr. Eduardo V. Martinez began his tenure with the University as a part-time instructor in 2015. Dr. Martinez's background consists of education and experiences related to crisis management, emergency management, transportation security, and teaching others in fields related to the legal aspects of homeland security. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Government from the University of Texas, Master Degrees in Legal Studies from Antioch University and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law. His knowledge is derived from his time at the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Navy, where he retired as a Captain after 30 years of honorable service. He is also a former Special Assistant Attorney General for Mississippi. Dr. Martinez served several roles at the U.S. State Department, where he served as a crisis manager working with humanitarian issues such as Hurricane Allen. He was also assigned to the Cuban-Haitian Task Force, where he was responsible for implementing operations at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Later, Captain Martinez served at several national incidents that included Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and Gustav. During these disasters, Captain Martinez was the Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer coordinating assets. In 2010, he was the Navy Liaison Officer for Fleet Forces Command at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Louisiana. His philosophy is to teach the students to work on the solution and not the problem. When not working as an attorney, he serves on the Department of Homeland Security Science Advisory Guide for Emergencies.


Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient

Dr. James Marion

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math 

Dr. Marion spent 22+ years managing operations and projects within the global wireless telecommunications industry with companies such as N.E.C., Glenayre Electronics, and Panasonic. He shifted into academia full time beginning in 2007, and began teaching with American Public University System in 2010.

Dr. Marion has a Doctor of Philosophy in Organization and Management with an Information Technology Management Specialization from Capella University. He holds an M.S. in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and an MSc. and an M.B.A. in Strategic Planning from the Edinburgh Business School of Heriot-Watt University (U.K.). He is a certified project management professional (P.M.P.) and a PMI-certified Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP).


The submission deadline is now closed. Please stay tuned in Fall 2022 for additional information and contact the University Awards Committee if you have questions.