School of Education’s Román, Shaffer win Distinguished Teaching Awards

The School of Education’s Diego Román and David Shaffer are among 12 UW–Madison faculty members who were chosen to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, an honor given out since 1953 to recognize some of the university’s finest educators.

Román is an assistant professor with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and received the Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Award.

Shaffer is the Sears Bascom Professor of Learning Analytics with the Department of Educational Psychology, and received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Shaffer also holds the title of Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Sciences.

UW–Madison’s article about the award winners explains both Román and Shaffer’s influence on their students, as well as why they were honored with awards.

diego roman

“Román engages students in deep and robust learning, even as he ensures that all of his students feel they belong in his classroom. He’s popular among students — whenever he walks by, there’s a chorus of ‘Diego!’ as they greet him. His courses hold students accountable for recognizing and unpacking the deep inequities in language that affect our school systems. Román has partnered with Wisconsin rural school districts such as Algoma and Arcadia, where Latinx students and families have become a demographic reality. Based on that research, he’s offered professional development workshops and held a summer institute to help educators serve Latinx students better. Internationally, Román has forged a public-private partnership that gives professional development opportunities for teachers and school principals in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.”


“For Shaffer, teaching is grounded in storytelling. For two decades, he has created online courses, lectures, and classroom discussions that lead students through a narrative arc, compelling them to dig deeper and stretch further. Consistently lauded as a ‘best of the best’ instructor in course evaluations, he melds compassion and respect for his students with the highest expectations and meticulous planning. Shaffer’s courses are described as engaging, exciting, and challenging experiences that are transformative and enduring. Even at the height of COVID, students said Shaffer’s courses (moved online) promoted engagement and a sense of belonging. He is also a trusted mentor to faculty and staff, who say: ‘He lifts us up to his standards. He is exacting, meticulous and supportive.’ One colleague writes, ‘The quality and nature of David’s teaching is unparalleled.’”

Read more about all of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award honorees.

Pin It on Pinterest