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CSM Recognizes Professor Shaneeza Kazim With 2024 Faculty Excellence Award

May 9, 2024
Shaneeza Kazim

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) honored Early Childhood Professor Shaneeza Kazim with the college’s Faculty Excellence Award during CSM’s Academic Excellence Award Recognition ceremony May 8, 2024. The award honors faculty for outstanding achievement in classroom teaching, contributions both to their department and the college, professional development and community commitment. 

“Being chosen for this award is an incredible honor and privilege, as I am being recognized by my colleagues for doing the work that I love so much,” said Kazim. “I know that many of my peers are deserving of this recognition, and I am humbled that I was selected as being recognized for my teaching and focus on student success.”

Kazim began her career at CSM in 2008 teaching continuing education courses. In 2014, she became a full-time faculty member and program coordinator for the Early Childhood Development Program.

Kazim has distinguished herself for using her classroom to expand her students’ worldviews, challenging their assumptions to build them into compassionate, inclusive, educators capable of thinking critically about their field. She shared that early childhood development is a compilation of social sciences, biology, history, and education; and that cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, and developmental theories guide her instruction. In addition, the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are always at the forefront of her mind as she seeks to set the example for her students as they begin their own teaching careers.

Kazim said she also sees communication and rapport as the key to developing relationships that will help her to inspire and empower students to reach success.

“I recognize that students do not arrive in my classroom as blank slates and do carry with them biases about children, education, and those around them,” she said. “Challenging students to enhance their awareness of culture, diversity, language, gender roles, sexual orientation, and other identities is an ongoing experience that occurs in several courses within my program. I always consider my role in orienting students to my discipline while emphasizing what it means to be an educated person in early childhood.”

That approach is one that resonates with students, who consistently give her glowing evaluations. “Professor Kazim was the most information-filled, diligent, concerned, and helpful instructor I have ever had throughout my years of being in college." one student wrote as a review. According to another student, “[she] connects what we are learning in the class to what’s happening in the world. She is not afraid to challenge [us] to think deeper.”

Kazim is also a member of the college’s DEIB leadership team, having co-chaired the diversity in education committee and the college success for single mother’s project.

She co-chaired the first-year experience course and was the coordinator for this course for more than seven years.  She co-chaired the gateway courses community of practice committee, was a member of the college preparedness committee and admissions review board, made videos for the Hawk Set initiative, and has attended the Achieving the Dream conferences annually since 2020.  

“What makes Shaneeza stand out as a Faculty Excellence award winner is the variety of contributions she has made to CSM, the quality of her work, and the amount of commitment she has to this institution,” said CSM Faculty Excellence Committee Chair and Professor Dr. Melanie Osterhouse.  “If Shaneeza is on the project, you can be assured it will be a job well-done.

More recently, Professor Kazim has used her understanding of data-informed decision making to help with the Middle States Accreditation Standard 3 Workgroup, which was responsible for demonstrating the college’s 'rigor, coherence, and appropriate assessment of student achievement.'  

She belongs to the Academic Learning Assessment Committee where she helps review college programs, trains instructors on assessment, and helps the college develop the process of reviewing programs’ effectiveness.

Kazim said that she is excited to continue this work alongside CSM colleagues who are ‘simply the best!’

“It is imperative to have an open mind and all realize our own privileges,” she shared. “Promoting equity and advocating for students can benefit us all. When it comes to matters as important as student success, equity, and equitable policies, we must all have a passion and a desire to embrace a cause greater than our own.”

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