Two Professors to Receive Quality in Teaching Awards

Two Professors from the College of Arts & Letters are recipients of the 2019 Mid-Michigan Spartans Quality in Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in classroom instruction through the incorporation of research and innovative learning opportunities.

Christopher Frilingos, Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, and Jonathan Choti, Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian & African Languages, will each receive their Quality in Teaching Awards at the 2019 Grand Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 25, at the Jackson Lounge in the Wharton Center. 

Christopher Frilingos

man wearing a blue button up and a black jacket who's sitting in a dark room with stained glass windows in the background
Dr. Christopher Frilingos


Frilingos has been a core faculty member in MSU’s Department of Religious Studies for 16 years. His research focuses on Christian history and literature, including the Christian New Testament. His most recent book, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: Family Trouble in the Infancy Gospels, explores stories about the childhood of Jesus. 

Frilingos brings his research into his courses like Introduction to Biblical Literature (REL 150), Christianity (REL 320), and Apocalypse Then and Now (REL 425) by assigning students unfamiliar, ancient Christian writings and mentoring them in research projects of early Christianity. 

It is of course gratifying for me personally to receive recognition... I’m constantly learning from excellent teachers and researchers in my department.

Dr. Christopher Frilingos

“It is of course gratifying for me personally to receive recognition. I’m humbled and thrilled,” Frilingos said. “I hope that the award will also call attention to the wonderful work of my colleagues in Religious Studies. If I’m a good teacher, it’s because I’m constantly learning from excellent teachers and researchers in my department.”  

Frilingos received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Learn more about Frilingos and his work on his website at www.chrisfrilingos.com

Jonathan Choti

man who's wearing a black shirt and a brown jacket who's smiling in a hallway with wooden walls
Dr. Jonathan Choti


Choti has been an Assistant Professor at MSU for the last four years. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics from Michigan State University in 2015.

“I am extremely delighted to be a 2019 recipient of this award,” he said. “I am grateful to the Mid-Michigan Spartans for sponsoring the award. I dedicate this award to my students, whose eagerness and commitment to learn more about my cultures, and their compliments about my teaching, have been a constant motivation for me to improve my teaching.”

Choti’s research focuses on Bantu Linguistics, the relationship between language and society, and second language pedagogy, especially in less commonly taught languages like Swahili.

I dedicate this award to my students, whose eagerness and commitment to learn more about my cultures, and their compliments about my teaching, have been a constant motivation for me to improve my teaching.

Dr. Jonathan Choti

He incorporates his research into his teaching as much as possible through the courses he teaches in Swahili language, a course in the Integrated Studies in the Arts and Humanities (IAH) Program, and a six-week study abroad program he led to Tanzania on sustainable community development.

“My ultimate goal as a professor is to stimulate my students to think, reflect, connect ideas, explore knowledge, and become excited about learning,” Choti said. “I try as much as possible to make my instruction a student-centered activity. I achieve this through a variety of ways, e.g. in-class and outside-of-class group tasks, group and individual presentations, and class projects.”

Learn more about Choti on the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian & African Languages’s website