Houghton College awarded the 2014–2015 Excellence in Teaching Award to Dr. Douglas Gaerte at the Excellence in Teaching Chapel on Monday, March 23. Gaerte is a professor of communications, chair of the department of communication and has taught at Houghton College for the past 27 years on both Houghton and Buffalo campuses.

The Excellence in Teaching Award is a distinctive honor, publicly acknowledging and rewarding faculty for outstanding teaching. This award is open to any faculty member with at least five years of service and at least 50 percent of their current contract in the classroom setting.

In addition to Gaerte, this year’s other nominees were Cameron Airhart, David Kinman, and Stephen Woolsey

“The Excellence in Teaching Award is a reminder that for all the other important responsibilities that faculty members have, what we do in the classroom and in interacting with our students here at Houghton is at the core of our role as professors,” commented Gaerte. “I am humbled to be this year’s recipient and grateful to be a part of a faculty with so many dedicated and talented colleagues.”

The awardee is determined by the Faculty Development Committee who receives nominations from all areas of the college—faculty, staff and students—and selects the recipient from a pool of highly regarded educators.

Gaerte began his teaching career at Houghton College in 1988 after earning a bachelor of science in speech communication and psychology from Grace College in Indiana. He completed a master of arts in speech communication at Indiana University where he also studied law and held a graduate fellowship, ultimately earning a doctorate from the same in 1995. He was promoted to associate professor at Houghton College in 1996 and to full professor in 2003, earning tenure at the same time.

Throughout his career, he has taught more than a dozen different courses and advised hundreds of students at Houghton. While he enjoys all areas of communication, he is most interested in helping his students learn to use rhetoric in civic life to become a positive force for social change.

“Douglas Gaerte is simply one of Houghton’s finest—not only in the classroom but in all of his life,” said Linda Mills Woolsey, dean of the college. “He shows a remarkable commitment to his students and colleagues in ways that flow out far beyond the classroom to every facet of life at Houghton.”