Angela Smith, an MDEC officer and Gina Mezzano-Ostien

Angela Smith (left), associate department chair (Lansing) and an MDEC officer; Gina Mezzano-Ostien, associate department chair (Lettinga) and winner of the Outstanding Educator of the Year award from the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium; and Charmayne Mulligan, chair of the Department of English and Communications.

Gina Mezzano-Ostien, Associate Department Chair for English and Communications at the W.A. Lettinga Campus, has been named Outstanding Educator of the Year for 2017 by the Michigan Developmental Education Consortium. The award was presented at MDEC’s annual conference in Bay City on Friday, Oct. 13.

The consortium presents the award “to an outstanding individual for significant contribution to the field of developmental education.” MDEC officials said Mezzano-Ostien was honored because of the extra time and attention she gives her students and noted that students respond favorably to her teaching style and her passion for the subject matter.

“My students’ success is the best reward,” Mezzano-Ostien said. “To be recognized for doing something I love is amazing.”

Mezzano-Ostien recently developed a workshop for all faculty teaching in the Accelerated Learning program to ensure quality and consistency in these courses. This supported the curriculum guide she developed for the ALP program, which allows students who qualify to bypass the non-credit ENGL021 class by attending a concurrent lab session (ENGL109L) with ENGL109. This design allows for extra instructor attention toward students in the lab session, helping them better develop fundamental research and writing skills.

“I love being able to talk with lab students one-on-one about their writing, explore their questions and concerns, and observe the change in their work over the course of 15 weeks,” she said. “When they find success in the little things like using semicolons and in big things like writing a research paper, it’s just incredible, and they leave the developmental classroom feeling more prepared to face what’s ahead of them at DU.”

Mezzano-Ostien developed an online study guide for students who wish to prepare for course placement tests. She recently completed an IRB-approved study on perceptions of peer evaluation in the first-semester writing class and has been a co-director in the university’s summer writing camp, “Write Your World.” She has also directed workshops for all DU faculty through the Office of Performance Excellence.

Mezzano-Ostien currently serves on the DU Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council and is a member of the Faculty Senate. She previously served on the planning committee for the university’s annual Teaching and Learning Institute.