SUNY Human Development Prof Earns Innovation Award

Mamta Saxena of SUNY Oswego’s human development faculty has earned an award from the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) for an outstanding combination of teaching, advising and scholarship.

The NCFR recognized Saxena with the Cognella Innovation in Teaching Award for Family Science in late 2022. NCFR noted Saxena’s innovative use of a care-based pedagogy (the method and practice of teaching) that connected instruction, scholarship, advising and community partnerships.

“I felt honored to receive this award on such an important national and international platform with professionals I revered as a graduate student,” Saxena said, also giving credit to the chair of SUNY Oswego’s human development department: “Since the award acknowledged my attempts to support my students’ needs and pedagogical changes, I am thankful for the leadership of Dr. Dorothy J. Shedlock, who supported and encouraged my ideas and teaching strategies.”

The award connects with work Saxena did with two human development research methods classes. The courses came at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic challenged regular teaching methods, but built on this by studying how the pandemic impacted family life, mental wellness and related issues.

NCFR judges praised Saxena’s teaching and use of four-step instructional model “integrating subject mastery, a gamified approach, authentic assessment, and content accessibility in synchronous and asynchronous courses,” they wrote in the award announcement. “Utilizing this method, Dr. Saxena’s students collected data on approximately 400 individuals to study the impact of COVID-19 on family routines, coping and stress, which yielded valuable data and also taught students best practices in survey design and data collection.”