Metzger and Wright Earn Horace T. Morse Award

Authored By: wells438 02/20/2023

Two University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) faculty, Associate Professor Dr. Kelsey J. Metzger, M.S., D.A. and Student Based Faculty (Senior Lecturer) Jake Wright, Ph.D., have earned the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. The prestigious award honors excellence in undergraduate education across the University of Minnesota. 

This year a total of ten faculty members received this high honor across the system. We are thrilled that two of the ten recipients are UMR faculty, representing both tenured and student based faculty.

“Drs. Kelsey Metzger and Jake Wright embody the best of the educational innovation at UMR. Dr. Metzger combines enthusiasm, positivity and evidenced-based practices to create classrooms that ensure students’ deep engagement and learning. Dr. Wright’s holistic perspective reveals deep care for students and a willingness to engage in new teaching strategies that enhance students’ experiences,” writes Acting Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Molly Dingel. “I’m extremely proud to have them as colleagues.”  

About Metzger

Portrait of Dr. Kelsey MetzgerMetzger earned a D.A. in Biology/Biology Education from Idaho State University and an M.S. in Biology from the University of North Dakota. Her view of curriculum design and teaching as infinitely perfectible endeavors worthy of thoughtful and continual revision has led to a positive impact on student learning within the Active Learning Classrooms at UMR. She relies on newly emerging insights from published literature and evidence of student learning and/or development resulting from course-level and curriculum-level assessment. Her research has reflected her interests in how classroom environments and the design of learning activities impact students, both with respect to the pursuit of equitable student achievement outcomes, student perceptions of their learning and facilitating students’ sense of belonging to an academic community.

Dr. Metzger is an exceptional teacher and a nationally recognized leader in learning research and evidence-based curriculum design. Using equity-focused inclusive teaching techniques firmly rooted in her own research, Dr. Metzger is a maestro of active learning environments and structures learning experiences to support significant learning and growth for all students. Since UMR’s first students arrived, she has been central to developing, assessing and revising innovative curricula at this new campus.

About Wright

Portrait of Dr. Jake WrightWright earned a B.A. in philosophy from Knox College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. His research expertise involves examining how and why we engage in particular classroom activities ethically and effectively, especially at the introductory level. This has led to a diverse research portfolio, including strategies for increasing student understanding of disparate course and disciplinary goals, educational responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, how to incorporate mindfulness practices in class discussion and how to effectively teach Philosophy as a Way of Life. Wright’s teaching is grounded in the critical role students’ sense of belonging plays in academic success and the recognition that all members of the classroom community are whole persons interdependent on one another for that success.

Dr. Wright frames his teaching in the feminist ethic of care and the Jesuit educational philosophy Cura Personalis to center both care and community building as the foundation of academic success, especially for students in their first year. His pedagogical research and commitment to advising as a curricular initiative are informed by Philosophy as a Way of Life, which connects material to students’ lives via lived and practical experiences. He plays an active role in student development throughout the first year at UMR through the development of UMR’s academic first-year seminar, Summer Bridge leadership and teaching several first-year courses.

About The Morse Alumni Award

Each year since 1965, the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education (Morse-Alumni Award) has been given to a select group of teachers who reflect the University's emphasis on the importance of high quality undergraduate education. Other UMR Morse-Alumni award winners include Jessie Barnett, Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain and Robb Dunbar.