Michigan State University is honoring Professor Punya Mishra with the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award. He is among 10 MSU faculty members receiving the award this year for outstanding contributions to research and education.
Mishra is a professor of educational technology and has served as director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program since 2008. He is a long-standing member of the faculty, joining after graduating from the University of Illinois with a Ph.D. in educational psychology in 1998.
“The moment I interviewed at MSU, that’s where I knew I wanted to be,” Mishra said. In the years since, “MSU has been incredibly supportive. The quality of colleagues and students push you to be better. Many of the people I have collaborated with in the college have pushed me in directions I hadn’t expected.”
He speaks of how his research has shifted over time. His interests include—but are not limited to—technology integration in teaching, online learning, visual literacy and creativity. Mishra’s personal creative work around mathematics and typography was on display at the MSU Museum for much of 2015.
He was nominated for the honor by Richard Prawat, chairperson of the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education; Matthew Koehler, professor of educational psychology and educational technology; Sonya Gunnings-Moton, assistant dean of student support services and recruitment; Leigh Graves Wolf, a former faculty member of the college who is now assistant director of MSU’s Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology; Danah Henriksen, a former faculty member of the college now at Arizona State University; and Joanna Doyle, a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and who is also a student of Mishra’s through the MSU Urban STEM/Wipro Fellowship program.
“Mishra is the rarest type of scholar—one that simultaneously leads his peers in research, teaching, service, outreach and creative input,” Koehler wrote in the nomination letter. “He is one of the most motivated, enthusiastic, creative and skilled teachers I have ever interacted with.”
Mishra, along with Koehler, created the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework in 2006. The framework helps consider how technology should be integrated with pedagogy and content for successful teaching. According to Koehler, TPACK has “changed how teacher educator programs develop tomorrow’s teachers, and how teachers think about effective uses of technology in the classroom.”
Among other accomplishments in his career, Mishra has successfully directed 13 dissertations, been honored with multiple awards for his research and has helped build relationships with international partners, such as the Azim Premji Foundation and Wipro, Ltd. In 2014, Azim Premji received an honorary doctorate from the college and also spoke at the commencement ceremony for the university.
“I am lucky people appreciate and value [my work],” Mishra said. “I have a lot of fun with the work I do. Looking at the people who have won before and to be included in that company is special. That to me means a lot.”
Mishra joins the ranks of more than 500 other faculty, including 24 from the College of Education, who have received the award since it was established in 1952.
The William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award was previously known as the Distinguished Faculty Award. Recipients will be honored on Feb. 9 at the All-University Awards, celebrating the achievements of many faculty and scholars across the university.