UNCG Campus Weekly

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Lucas receives BOG Teaching Excellence Award

051811Feature_LucusAs both a designer and a historian, Dr. Patrick Lee Lucas embraces creativity, intellectual rigor, cross-disciplinary collaboration, synthetic thinking and community outreach.

Guided by these values, his teaching inspires students to find innovative ways to understand and engage the visual world and has earned him a 2011 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Lucas, an associate professor of interior architecture, received the award during commencement at the Greensboro Coliseum. Established by the Board of Governors in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching, the Teaching Excellence Awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member at each campus in the UNC system.

Lucas’ signature project to date has been his work with the Lowenstein Legacy, an ongoing, collaborative learning experience centered on the work of Greensboro architectural modernist Edward Lowenstein. He has supervised students as they designed and installed exhibits about the architect and has engaged them in higher-level thinking about their work and its meaning for mid-century modernism in the United States.

“Stewardship and empowerment through design lie at the heart of each of Dr. Lucas’ courses,” student Mira Eng-Goetz said. “In his course ‘Community by Design,’ I was challenged to address the local public transportation system, taking into account elements such as Southern history, the Civil Rights Movement, community needs, poverty, disparity and segregation.

“This project led me out of the studio and into the community, where Dr. Lucas has taught me to seek insight and diverse perspectives. By the end of the course, I had acquired the skill to collaborate across social boundaries to design for social change.”

During his eight years at UNCG, Lucas’ teaching has reached learners at many stages of their studies, from undergraduate lectures in history and theory of design to graduate seminars in material culture or research methods, from first-year seminars in Lloyd International Honors College to an Emeritus Society course in the Division of Continual Learning.

Faculty colleagues, too, laud his teaching.

“The ultimate indicator of a teacher’s effectiveness is the quality of his or her students’ work. In Dr. Lucas’ case, the work is superlative,” said K. Porter Aichele, an art professor and herself an award-winning teacher. “Conceptually well developed, technically competent, and visually and verbally well communicated, his students’ work is a testament to his teaching excellence.”

Lucas earned his bachelor’s in architecture at the University of Cincinnati, a master’s in interior design at the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in American studies at Michigan State University. He is working on a book about Lowenstein’s work.

By Dan Nonte