Psychology lecturer Shelly Schreier was speaking in front of an auditorium crowded with students in her social development course when a parade of dancing students interrupted her.
Dancing to the Blues Brothers’ “Can’t Turn You Loose,” they made their way to the lectern carrying flowers and balloons. These students were there to honor Schreier with the Golden Apple, an award for outstanding faculty teaching.
The Golden Apple is awarded to a student-nominated teacher each year who is paricularly inspiring and engaging.
Schreier, in tears as she received the award in front of her family and members of Students Honoring Outstanding University Teaching, said she was incredibly thankful for the award.
Recipients are invited to give their ideal “last lecture,” a lecture they would give if they had only one left. Schreier will present hers April 4 at 7 p.m. in Rackham Auditorium.
“One of the best predictors of happiness is work satisfaction,” Schreier said. “I (have) said to students that I would hope for them that they had the opportunity to be able to find something with work that they loved to do as much as I love to do this, so thank you for acknowledging and recognizing that.”
Public Policy senior Gabriel Pachter serves on the executive board of SHOUT, the student organization that gives the award. He said Schreier was chosen because of the quantity and quality of student nominations submitted.
This year there were close to twice as many nominations than previous years, the most in the 23-year history of the award.
Business junior Jake Levey, another member of SHOUT, said putting together the award has involved fundraising the $1,000 cash prize for the recipient, selecting the winner and is now shifting to marketing Schreier’s last lecture through social media, booths in Mason Hall and flyers.
Levey said he is proud to be a part of an award that is considered to be a prestigious prize by the University faculty.
“It was really important for us this year,” Levey said. “We realized that there hasn’t been a woman who has won the award for 11 years and that is not a representative (statistic) of the University of Michigan and the professors here.”
Schreier is scored an average score of 4.7 out of five —out of 166 ratings — on RateMyProfessor.com, a user-generated review site.
Students on the site commented on their appreciation for her passionate, energetic and humorous lectures.
LSA freshman Ariel Shoag took Schreier’s introductory psychology class in fall 2012. Shoag said when she needed assistance on a paper for the class, Schreier was more than willing to help despite her numerous other obligations.
“She didn’t make you feel like you were one of 300 students,” Shoag said. “You’d go to her office hours once and she would recognize you for the rest of the semester.”
LSA freshman Erica Mindel, who also took Schreier’s class last fall, said she is a very talented lecturer.
“It seemed that she cared about all of her students and wanted you to do the best that you could,” Mindel said. “She was the most engaging (lecturer) … I was never really bored at all.”