GGC’s Budryte wins prestigious USG Teaching Award

Dovile Budryte receiving award.

Dr. Stas Preczewski, GGC president; Dr. Dovile Budryte, professor of political science and Dr. Lois C. Richardson, interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost 

Georgia Gwinnett College announced today that Dr. Dovile Budryte, professor of political science, has been awarded the 2014 University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award. The Atlanta resident joined the college in 2007.
“Dr. Budryte is a dynamic instructor who is uniquely committed to providing her students with an outstanding educational experience,” said Dr. Lois C. Richardson, interim senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and provost. “We are very proud of her accomplishments. It also speaks highly of the quality of our faculty that she is the fourth to earn this award out of the last six years.”
Since 1996, the Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award has recognized extraordinary educators who demonstrate a record of superlative teaching and a strong commitment to impacting student learning and academic success. GGC submits a faculty member to the award program based on student nominations.
“Dr. Budryte was an exceptional advisor and mentor, directing me to valuable and novel fields of research in international relations,” said Stephen Christian, a former student currently pursuing a doctorate in political science at the University of Utah. “From her advice on a successful seed grant proposal to GGC, to her support for the many papers I presented at academic conferences, she consistently supported me and ultimately helped me get accepted into graduate programs at the London School of Economics, the University of Utah, Old Dominion University and American University.”
The main tenet of Budryte’s teaching philosophy is that she is interdependent with her students. She expects a great deal of reciprocity and responsibility to help them learn to contribute to global solutions beyond the classroom. In addition to group discussions, she deploys innovative teaching techniques such as online sessions, guest lectures, group work, imaginary interviews with prominent figures and a variety of visual aids and field trips.
“Dr. Budryte gives her students everything they need to succeed in her rigorous classes, and she inspires their best work,” said Ann Malkoc, a recent GGC political science graduate. “She helped me focus my research interests and introduced many opportunities to bolster my experience and continue my education.”
“She is always available to her students, no matter the hour or the circumstance,” said Chehrazad Mounaji, a senior political science major. “Through her dynamic, innovative approach to teaching, she has given me a deeper insight into how international affairs operate and how they affect the decisions made on the international stage.”
Budryte’s award letter cited her “philosophy of teaching with the students; going beyond classroom teaching to serve as a mentor to faculty peers and students; and her efforts to internationalize the curriculum along with her work in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, a growing body of literature that emphasizes student engagement and long lasting, meaningful learning.” 
“Creating a portfolio to apply for the award helped me realize that there are intersections between my philosophy about teaching and my interest in global issues that transcend national borders, said Budryte, who was born in Lithuania. “I see myself as a human being committed to equality and human rights first and foremost, and teaching helps me inform my students about these issues and transnational values.”
Budryte began her career in 1990 as a reporter for the first private Lithuanian newspaper, laying the foundation to teach by developing skills such as the ability to communicate information well, relate to an audience, and care about society and the global community. 
In addition to studying journalism at Vilnius University in Lithuania and earning her BA in communication from Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, she earned an MA and Ph.D. from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
She speaks Lithuanian, English and Russian, and lived for extended periods in Germany and Denmark, which she credits with preparing her to live and teach in the multi-cultural environment fostered at GGC.
“I try to communicate the importance of becoming a global citizen, learning to think critically and creatively, and developing excellent communication and intercultural competence skills,” Budryte said. “Above all, students need to see the big picture, become global citizens, and work with the GGC community for higher goals, not merely for a grade.”
In addition to Budryte’s professional interests in international studies, she also has a strong personal interest in cultural affairs, as her family lives in three different countries. Her grandparents’ fate was similar to that of the Lithuanian immigrants described in Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel, “The Jungle.”  
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