Raquel Castro Salas Honored With November Cordes Chair Award by Teaching and Faculty Center

Raquel Castro Salas, teaching assistant professor, sits in the rocking chair that symbolizes how Wally Cordes interacted with his students. Cordes, a founder of the Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center and a professor emeritus in chemistry, was known for having each student in his 500-seat sections come visit him in his office for five minutes and rock in the chair to tell about themselves. The Cordes Chair award serves as a remembrance of Cordes and recognizes student-centered academics on the U of A campus.
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Raquel Castro Salas, teaching assistant professor, sits in the rocking chair that symbolizes how Wally Cordes interacted with his students. Cordes, a founder of the Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center and a professor emeritus in chemistry, was known for having each student in his 500-seat sections come visit him in his office for five minutes and rock in the chair to tell about themselves. The Cordes Chair award serves as a remembrance of Cordes and recognizes student-centered academics on the U of A campus.

Raquel Castro Salas, teaching assistant professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, was honored by the Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center as the November 2023 Wally Cordes Chair. She was chosen because of her commitment to advancing service learning in her Spanish classes. Castro has taught eight different courses in the field of Spanish during her career at the U of A.

The Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center invites six outstanding teaching faculty each academic year to serve as Wally Cordes Chairs. Faculty are selected as Cordes Chairs because they embody the student-centered teaching excellence that late University Professor Emeritus Wally Cordes exhibited throughout his 40-plus-year U of A career. Cordes was one of three founders of the TFSC and served as a co-director for two terms. At these events, faculty share a more in-depth view of their teaching in interactive presentations.

"Dr. Castro has a huge commitment to student success," commented Carole Shook, co-director of the TFSC. "Her passion for student learning is what most people notice first. In addition, she is known for her creative approach to connecting students to the real world allowing experiential learning that will remain with students throughout their lives."

Recipients of this honor give a talk on a teaching subject of their choosing. Castro used the opportunity to speak about connection at different levels such as through personal reflections, with the course material, with other students and with the professor during class.  Outside of class students connect with the real world through service within the community. She believes that these connections make the material more relevant and bring a purpose to their studies. 

Castro has been awarded the 2023 Service Learning Award for the U of A and is a past recipient of the Golden Tusk award. Her teaching interests and experience include Spanish for heritage speakers, Spanish for the professions, translation and interpretation studies, and second language acquisition. Castro is working in community engagement by having service-learning students collaborate with community partners through learning opportunities that address social needs. 

 

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