The UCF Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) rewards teaching productivity and excellence. The college was allocated 16 TIP awards to give this year, and out of 57 applicants, three winners were from the Nicholson School.

To prepare, faculty collect documentation and put together robust portfolios for submission.

“The committee noted that many applicants submitted truly excellent applications,” said Zachary Knauer, the coordinator of faculty affairs and assessment for the College of Sciences (COS). “TIP is a highly competitive award with approximately 200 eligible faculty in the college and relatively few awards available.”

In the Nicholson School of Communication and Media, Zachary Beckler, Christine Hanlon, Ph.D., and Jennifer Sandoval, Ph.D., were chosen as TIP award winners.

Lecturer Beckler is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in narrative genre cinema as well as digital post-production and sound design. His short films have screened at festivals around the world.

Beckler holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production and a Master of Fine Arts in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema from the University of Central Florida, where he teaches courses in production and cinema studies. He was also a panelist for the UCF College of Arts and Humanities Creative Speaker Series on Digital Horror.

“I like to teach post-production in film, because I believe it is the most important part of the storytelling process,” said Beckler. “This includes editing, sound design, visual effects and color grading. Students are very responsive to post-production because, like screenwriting, you can make creative work with minimal resources. The more you learn about post-production, the better filmmaker you become.”

Senior Lecturer Hanlon has been with UCF since 1998 and has been teaching communication courses for the past two decades. The class she is teaching over the summer, Advertising and Society (ADV 6209), is one of her favorite courses to teach.

Hanlon talked about her philosophy when it comes to teaching and said that philosophies should change and grow every year. Her philosophy this year?

“I believe in the use of technology when it makes sense,” Hanlon said. “I believe in providing students with opportunities outside of the classroom, whenever possible. I value applied work and experiential learning. The other thing that is different with my teaching philosophy because of COVID, is that I’m more concerned about students’ mental health and faculty mental health. I was concerned with people’s mental health before, but not like now. I think we need to show some grace and concern, and every time somebody reaches out to us, we need to take it very seriously. And we shouldn’t require students to disclose as much.”

Hanlon served as President of the Florida Communication Association twice and was a previous recipient of the TIP awards in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

Her success in attaining TIP Awards is due in large part to the focus she provides on showing evidence of learning within submissions and documenting effectively throughout the year.

Hanlon also is generous with her time and works to share her success. She often hosts workshops to help others prepare their portfolios, such as Danny Inghram, who just received his second TIP award this year.

Her emotions over winning are bittersweet since there are so many deserving faculty members vying within this one highly competitive program.

Sandoval is an associate professor and the assistant director of inclusive excellence for the Nicholson School. She has a doctorate in Communication and Culture from the University of New Mexico and a master’s of Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine School of Law.

Sandoval recently has been teaching the graduate intercultural communication seminar, which covers a range of topics, such as how identity impacts communication.

She is highly interested in the communication of marginalized identities in various contexts. Her research concentrates on the communicative elements involved in the intersection of identity, the body and health.

“My teaching and learning philosophy focuses on the development of the whole person rather than just transmission of information from me to students,” said Sandoval. “In order to effectively teach across differences, we must co-construct humane and inclusive learning environments.”

Additionally, she examines the rhetoric of choice and Assistive Reproductive Technology, as well as looks at reproductive health access for the LGBTQ+ community. Sandoval partakes in community-based participatory research projects focusing on health intervention in underserved and underrepresented populations.

Sandoval also contributes to Nicholson News monthly, where she adds articles entitled, “Conscious Conversations About Inclusive Culture,” such as this previous one on the history of Cinco de Mayo.

Award recipients obtain a one-time award of $5,000 as soon as practicable and a $5,000 increase to their base salary effective at the beginning of the succeeding academic year.

The TIP award recognizes faculty’s contributions to UCF’s key goals of offering the best undergraduate education available in Florida and achieving international prominence in key programs of graduate study.


Published June 1, 2021. Written by Iulia Popescu.

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