Challenger Award

Director of the Challenger Learning Center Tasmyn Front (left), Orthwein Professor for Lifelong Learning in the Sciences Keith Miller and Emerson Electric Company Endowed Professor in Technology and Learning Carl Hoagland (right) each manage a variety of programs bringing innovative STEM learning to students at all levels. (Photo courtesy of Carl Hoagland)

For Carl Hoagland, his efforts in creating and directing the Technology and Learning Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis are more about the human element than touch screens and circuit boards.

“The technology center isn’t just about the latest gadgets,” said Hoagland, Emerson Electric Endowed Professor at UMSL. “Its purpose is to create a culture of learning for students. Everybody has a cellphone to play with, but I’d like to see technology work in schools where it’s most needed.”

On Jan. 28 Challenger Learning Center St. Louis honored Hoagland with the Challenger Inspiring Teacher Award for his commitment to STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, social justice, accessible technology and student success.

With decades of curriculum development under his belt, Hoagland has turned his attention to empowering the next generation of teachers by serving as a steward in the STEM doctoral cohort program.

“First and foremost, new teachers need a strong desire to share knowledge, and then they have to figure out how they’re going to connect with their students,” said Hoagland. “You can’t just walk in and do activities without considering your students’ mindsets. Once you have students interested, they can take on anything. I’ve had some great moments where kids really got some ‘ahas,’ and they weren’t always quite the ‘ahas’ I thought they were going to get.”

Teaching and Learning Center graduate assistant Sarah Rambo has gained considerable insight from working with Hoagland and experiencing his infectious enthusiasm.

“One thing that strikes me about Dr. Hoagland is his dedication to students. You can see it in how he runs the TLC,” she said. “He’s helped me develop a savvy about higher education so I can excel in my profession. Down the road, I hope to be as happy and effective in my job as he is.”

Including Hoagland and UMSL alumnae Holly Camacaro and Diane O’Leary, seven local educators were honored during the award ceremony.

The UMSL Experience

Ron Austin

Ron Austin