Award Winners

Winners and Citations - the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching

USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching
Presented at the 34th Annual Academic Honors Convocation
April 15, 2015

Oliver Mayer & Melora Sundt

Oliver Mayer
Professor of Dramatic Writing
USC School of Dramatic Arts

Oliver Mayer is a nationally recognized playwright whose work spans a wide range of thematic and cultural territory, from Machiavelli and the Italian Renaissance to the mystery of our own contemporary and hybridized America. His plays give passionate voice to the voiceless, and whether bringing live performances of his opera “America Tropical” to campus, or his translations of Cervantes’ Interludes to the back lawn at Parkside, Professor Mayer’s ultimate aim is to join art with life. His play “Fortune is a Woman,” written for USC’s third-year MFA students, was the centerpiece of the school’s repertoire in 2012. More recently, Professor Mayer’s “Blood Match,” inspired by Frederico García Lorca’s “Bodas de sangre,” was part of this year’s USC MFA Acting repertory.

Professor Mayer has deftly connected his artistic life and academic profile by developing a singular academic idiom. He teaches his undergraduate and graduate students to both write and understand plays, and he actively exposes them to drama not only on the page, but also on stages around the city.

As the faculty master at Parkside International Residential College, Professor Mayer provides his students with an immersive experience through event programming and workshops that draw on informal techniques and stress compassion and engagement. He believes that theater is the ultimate platform to build communities, and his goal at Parkside and at the School of Dramatic Arts is to create a discerning, compassionate, active, and curious community at USC.

For his commitment to enriching the educational experiences of his students, his unique and practice-based approach to learning, and his blending of teaching and community-building, the University of Southern California is pleased to honor Oliver Mayer with the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Melora Sundt
Professor of Clinical Education & Executive Vice Dean
Rossier School of Education

Melora Sundt is a prolific, highly regarded, and effective educator, possessed of a stellar career replete with numerous achievements. Since becoming a faculty member in the Rossier School of Education in 1994, Professor Sundt has made exceptional and enduring contributions to academic excellence in and out of the classroom. She is known for her incomparable work in traditional and online educational settings, and as one of Rossier’s most sought-after faculty members for directing dissertations. Professor Sundt has chaired dozens of Ed.D. and Ph.D. committees, and routinely advises anywhere from eight to 12 doctoral candidates each year.

In addition, her superb administrative leadership has resulted in the successful launch of two innovative graduate programs: the MAT@USC, for which Professor Sundt oversaw the curricular design, and the Global Executive Ed.D., which prepares international leaders to improve education through strategic policy and assessment. This program also integrates face-to-face sessions with online learning in an effort to promote student participation and a comprehensive approach to learning.

A generous and knowledgeable colleague, Professor Sundt is always willing to orient and guide new members of the faculty, and mentor them in course design and the use of technologies to facilitate student learning. She constantly strives to provide her students with superlative teaching and doctoral advising, and she willingly assists other faculty members in attaining these same goals.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of education, her staunch devotion to her students, and the invaluable guidance she has offered to her colleagues, the University of Southern California is pleased to honor Melora Sundt with the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.