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Professor wins Mensa award for exceptional influence on students

Winning the Mensa Education and Research Foundation’s Distinguished Teacher Award is a high honor for anyone molding the young minds of society.

For the University’s Patrick Pauken, the dream of winning such an award has become a reality. Pauken, an associate professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies, was the only professor in the country to win this prestigious award from the Mensa Foundation of America, a community-oriented organization that prides itself on the intelligence of its more than 50,000 members.

The award recognizes one teacher, professor or instructor at any educational level, whether it be high school or college, who has had an especially positive influence on the education or life of a Mensa member.

Senior Angela Miller, who is currently enrolled in Pauken’s Law, Ethics and Negotiations class, won over the Mensa award judges with her nominating essay.

“Over the course of the semester, Dr. Pauken challenged me more than any other educator and helped fuel my passion for knowledge, reinvigorate my interest in law, and strengthen my intellectual confidence,” Miller said.

Pauken tries to get his students to give their maximum effort, she said.

“His expectations were unparalleled,” Miller said. “I gave what I thought was my best, but still he demanded more, and it eventually led to me producing a quality of work I did not realize I possessed.”

Pauken serves as the graduate program coordinator of the doctoral program in leadership studies. His courses cover school law, special education law, and moral and ethical leadership.

He is the latest in a long line of award winners that extends back more than 30 years.

The winning teacher receives a cash donation from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, and the school receives a commemorative plaque, said Hilary Moore, marketing coordinator for the foundation.

“At the end of the semester, it’s only the beginning of his tremendous influence,” Miller said.

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