Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award

The Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award recognizes the outstanding teaching of undergraduates. Department heads, deans, alumni, and students nominate faculty, and a committee of retired faculty selects the recipients.

2021 Winners


Jonathan Seifried
Instructor, School of Communication and Journalism, College of Liberal Arts

Seifried has spent more than 15 years in the classroom at Auburn. The public speaking program at Auburn has very rigorous instructor guidelines to guarantee consistency across sections, and Seifried has worked to abide by those guidelines while infusing his personality into his classrooms. A testament to Seifried’s teaching excellence is the result of his mentoring and coaching of the Spring 2021 Public Speaking Competition winner. In addition, Seifried has completed the Biggio Center’s EASL, or Engaged Active Student Learning Academy, to learn about pedagogy and available technology and innovative ways to integrate it into classroom activities and lectures. He also has thought about teaching from the lens of assessment and recently participated in the Office of Academic Insight’s Meta-Assessment Institute.

Keven Yost
Synovus Fellow and Associate Professor, Department of Finance, Harbert College of Business

Yost has been out in front, leading by being among the finest examples of ingenuity in academic practicum and technology integration. While at Auburn, Yost has developed and implemented several new courses, including a Chartered Financial Analyst course that prepares students for the CFA Level I exam and a Mergers and Acquisitions course that provides a strategic analysis of corporate restructuring decisions. He also has succeeded in obtaining the CFA Institute’s University Recognition Designation, which elevates the reputation of Auburn’s finance program and Harbert College of Business as a whole. Yost’s unparalleled drive and leadership have not gone unnoticed by his peers, practitioners that recruit at Auburn, nor by his students. From his recognition as the Finance Department Outstanding Teacher in 2013 to the Harbert College MBA Programs Outstanding Faculty award in 2018, Yost has rarely gone a year without acknowledgment of his unrelenting pursuit of excellence.

2020 winners

Dr. James Birdsong, Lecturer and Program Coordinator, Auburn Aviation Program, Department of Aviation

Dr. James Birdsong joined the Auburn Aviation program in 2014 as a lecturer and now serves as the Aviation Program Coordinator, where he is responsible for all facets of the university’s aviation program, including teaching, research, and outreach. Birdsong has taught multiple junior and senior-level aviation industry, economics, and weather courses and manages student internships.

His innovative teaching methods and delivery include meaningful classroom discussions, student-focused presentations, stimulating assignments, and the use of a wide range of technology. Should a student enter his classroom questioning or discouraged about their ability to succeed, that student will exit with renewed hope, confidence, and determination to complete the task ahead.

He is a rare combination of talents, background, and personality traits which contribute to his effectiveness as an educator. James is an exceptional teacher and scholar, with a profound intelligence that facilitates both the recognition of the needs of students and the development of techniques that nurture learning in the individual.

He has been a leading force in the area of developing, updating, and revising courses (core and electives) to reach the learners with current aviation philosophy and practice. Through his leadership, the Aviation Program curricula development and course restructuring ensures that the most updated and current literature and resources are available to the students. His reputation among his students and advisees is remarkable in that he continuously serves as a conduit to help others reach their potential or advance their careers.

Birdsong serves as Auburn’s principal investigator for the FAA’s Technical Training and Human Performance Center of Excellence (TTHP COE) which has resulted in over $900,000 of inter-disciplinary aviation research grants awarded to Auburn University, including the FAA’s “Effective Training and Checking Methods for the Emerging Pilot Workforce” grant . He is also a member of the TTHP COE executive leadership committee. In 2015, James started the Auburn Aviation resident summer camp programs – one of Auburn’s most popular summer youth programs.

Dr. Kerry Inger, Associate Professor, School of Accountancy, Harbert College of Business

Dr. Inger has numerous instructional accomplishments. She has frequently been recognized as one of Harbert College’s and the School of Accountancy’s most exceptional teachers. She is currently ranked #17 in the world for accounting education research over the last 6 years, contributing to Auburn’s overall #1 ranking. Inger’s research focuses on the intersection of financial accounting and corporate taxation. Her work has been published at The Journal of the American Taxation Association, The Journal of Management Accounting Research, Issues in Accounting Education, Tax Notes and Strategic Management and cited by the popular press including the Wall Street Journal, CFO Magazine, Bloomberg, and Politico.  Inger teaches Tax Research and Income Taxation 1 at Auburn. In addition to Dr. Inger’s research, she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses that are widely considered some of the most rigorous in our highly ranked programs. Despite the rigor, student evaluations of her course and teaching are consistently among the highest, if not the highest, in the school.

Dr. Jennifer W. Stone, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Science and Mathematics

Dr. Stone is responsible for all aspects of undergraduate math teaching at Auburn. She is widely recognized as a supremely talented communicator of mathematics. Her infectious enthusiasm for the subject as well as her genuine care for student learning makes her a very effective instructor. Dr. Stone has created highly innovative programs to promote student success in our lower-level math courses often blamed for lowering four- and six-year graduation rates. She is the creator of the very popular “Plainsmen’s Prep” program that provides pre-freshman summer preparation and placement for incoming students. The program, which is one of the flagship programs of the Provost’s Academic Support Office, provides learning activities to help students gain mastery of content, make peer connections, and develop skills for academic success. She recently initiated another summer bridge program “Get Set for Calculus” in the College of Sciences and Mathematics that is receiving great reviews. Dr. Stone is also the main math contact person (and teacher) for the Auburn First program which supports dual-enrollment of high-school students in AU courses. Dr. Stone’s energy and enthusiasm are legendary. Watching her juggle all her responsibilities efficiently is awe inspiring.