press release


Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship awarded to Dr. Mark Girod

for release: May 20 , 2010

MONMOUTH – When Dr. Mark Girod says he grew up on the Western Oregon University campus, he isn’t kidding. Girod’s father, Dr. Jerry Girod was a professor and later dean on campus from 1969 to 1994, so he was around the university quite a bit. He also attended kindergarten on campus (as did his wife) and eventually earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WOU. Initially he didn’t plan on staying in Monmouth, but he found that while living elsewhere, visiting Monmouth was like coming home.

“Monmouth is always home. To be at Western in a job that I love, teaching stuff that I love, doing research around things that I love, living in a community that I really believe is my own – I’m not going anywhere. It doesn’t get better than this,” said Girod.

Girod, an associate professor of teacher education and the recipient of the 2010 Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship, has flourished at WOU since he joined the university as a faculty member in 2001 after earning his doctorate in educational psychology at Michigan State University. He has produced nearly 30 publications, with at least one per year.

According to Camilla Gabaldon, collection development librarian at Hamersly Library, Girod’s works are among the top search results retrieved in major education research databases and have been widely cited. “The impact of Mark’s work is much more than a ‘line on his vita.’ He is creating a strong legacy within the field of teacher education,” she said.
Girod takes his scholarship and service seriously. He serves on the Faculty Senate, co-advises the student chapter of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and is currently the chair of the Division of Teacher Education. He is also serving as the executive director of the Forgotten People Foundation, an international philanthropic organization created by retired WOU health professor Dr. Jerry Braza, supporting the health and education needs of rural orphans and disabled individuals in northern Vietnam.

One thing that Girod loves about his job is that teaching and research go hand in hand. Girod explains his research interest, “School isn’t about the real world; it’s about some stripped down, simplified version of the world that disconnects schooling from all the cool, exciting pieces of the world. In schools we’re obligated to teach certain things, we have to give kids certain knowledge and skills to do well in a democratic society, but we shouldn’t do that at the exclusion of also being moved in powerful and important ways. That’s ultimately what it’s all about. How do I facilitate students learning in that regard? And how do I teach other teachers how to do that?”

His students have been inspired by what he teaches them. Wendy Bryant, a student of Girod’s, is one of many who felt the impact of his wisdom in the classroom. “The first week of winter term was the same as any other, until I entered my honors course with Mark Girod. From the very beginning things were different, it was clear we were being held to a different standard. Not one of traditional pass or fail success, but rather one of experiences and scholarship. For ten weeks we were challenged to read, write and live powerfully – to examine what it means to truly experience life, and how that can be translated into education.”

he Mario and Alma Pastega Faculty Honors Award for Scholarship honors a full-time faculty member who demonstrates outstanding creative or scholarly accomplishments. Once nominees are received, the Honors Committee votes by secret ballot on whether there will be a recipient that year, and if so, who the recipient will be.

mark girod

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