Two UNI Alumni receive the Yager Exemplary Teaching Recognition Award


John Fritch, associate dean, College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences, 319-273-2725,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Yager Exemplary Teaching Recognition Award, established by the Robert and Phyllis Yager Education Fund for Excellence, recently recognized two Iowa teachers with awards.

This year's recipients are: Jodi Osthus, middle school mathematics teacher from Meredith Middle School in Des Moines, and Allysen Lovstuen, high school mathematics teacher from Decorah High School.

The intent of the awards from the Yager Education Fund for Excellence Award is to recognize exemplary K through 12 teaching by University of Northern Iowa graduates. It serves a key role in supporting UNI's leadership in preparing teachers.

Nominees are selected by UNI faculty members and are UNI graduates in at least their fifth year of teaching in a K through 12 classroom. Awardees are selected on the basis of teaching materials and student performance.

Osthus was nominated by Edward Rathmell, professor of mathematics. Rathmell noted that Osthus was a bright and dedicated student, and described her teaching as ahead of its time, as she was instrumental in developing methods of teaching problem-solving that were eventually incorporated into the curricula in schools throughout Iowa.

"Dr. Edward Rathmell, along with other University of Northern Iowa mathematics minor professors and middle school mathematics graduate program professors, shaped my career," said Osthus. "They taught me the importance of having students problem solve, reason, make connections and communicate mathematically. Their knowledge and guidance continue to shape my daily lessons."

Lovstuen was nominated by Jihwa Noh, associate professor of mathematics. Noh noted Lovstuen's dedication to her algebra and calculus students, and identified her as a teacher who asks questions of her students in an effective manner.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, likewise it takes a community to raise a high quality teacher," said Lovstuen. "The influences of family, professors, administrators, colleagues, communities and students all play a part. The Yager Exemplary Teaching award recognizes this interconnectivity in the field of teaching by honoring a professor and a teacher together."

Robert E. Yager, professor emeritus of science education in the College of Education at the University of Iowa where he taught for 50 years, received his B.A. degree in biology from UNI in 1950. Yager went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant physiology from the University of Iowa. His research interests have focused on student motivation and attitudes toward science.