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We may or may not remember their names, but we remember their faces, what they said, what they didn't say, how they could make class enjoyable and learning invigorating. The special ones separated themselves from the others by going the extra mile, creating an engaging classroom experience, challenging us to grow in ways we didn't think were possible, and believing in us—when maybe we didn't. Not everyone has this type of experience with a faculty member in college, but when we do, it is special.
The professor has power, not only to assign and submit grades, but also to impact a student in a profound and personal manner: to stir a passion for a particular subject, research topic, or learning experience. To inspire a young person to select a major and ultimately impact a career path and her future. This is the power of influence. During my undergraduate years, I experienced two such professors, but they never knew the true impact they had on me.
I wish we had a formal way to say thank you to those professors back then, the faculty members everyone had heard of, recommended, or who impacted their story so powerfully. We would've recommended them for an honor had there been one. We would have collectively let them know how they made a difference in our lives. I wish I could do that today; with hindsight and wisdom that comes through the years, I would like them to know they made a difference to me.
The power of the professor is strong...in so many ways. I hope you'll spend a few moments reflecting on your college experience and about which faculty members had an impact in your life. If you are still able to, I hope you will extend them a thank you. Each year, Kappa Alpha Theta chapters have the opportunity to do this very thing: to recognize faculty members who have influenced students and made a difference on campus. Our Outstanding Faculty Award is a wonderful way to highlight those who go the extra mile, light a spark of interest, or challenge growth. Chapter members recommend a professor based on the four points of the Theta kite: intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, commitment to service, and personal excellence.
It is a treat to read the nominations, to learn how gifted teachers truly inspire and change our members. Join me in congratulating the faculty selected for this year's honor. Not only are they making a difference in the lives of our members, they are a now a special part of these chapter's stories.
If you are an alumna, then you probably have fond memories of your favorite professor. This professor probably didn't give an "easy A," but that wasn't why you took the class. He/she probably challenged you to accomplish more than you thought was possible while demonstrating a passion for knowledge and a commitment to students. Faculty members on campuses across the United States and Canada continue to instill knowledge while inspiring, engaging, and mentoring today's Theta collegians.
Commitment to higher education and scholarship as demonstrated by these faculty members is also a cornerstone of Kappa Alpha Theta, and is a priority through the Plan of Aspirations. This shared commitment was the impetus to establish the Kappa Alpha Theta Outstanding Faculty Award.
In 2015, the fourth year of this hallmark program, I have the privilege of serving on the award selection committee. Last year, we received more than 100 nominations submitted by each Theta college chapter, and were tasked with selecting ten recipients. The five men and five women who comprise the 2014 Outstanding Faculty list each make significant and unique contributions to their students' lives by inspiring them inside the classroom as well as helping them reach their goals outside of the classroom.
Each college chapter is strongly encouraged to submit its nominated faculty member via the Officer Portal; the deadline for applications is Friday, April 10. Special thanks to Jill Andersen, Zeta Theta/Cal Polytechnic State, and Erin Howle, Delta Kappa/Louisiana State, for serving on the Outstanding Faculty Award selection committee.
Who is making a difference in your life? Which faculty member do you remember the most from your college days? Which faculty member(s) inspired you to reach your aspirations?
I am pleased that this issue also includes a number of notable "friends of Theta," including Michael Piraino, CEO of National CASA, and ten outstanding faculty members as nominated by our college chapters across the continent. This is the third year that the Fraternity has honored exceptional faculty on campuses with Theta chapters. The honorees for the 2013-14 academic year teach in fields ranging from STEM to literature to business. In addition, the institutions in which they teach range from public to private, from research-based to liberal arts-based. They were chosen from more than 110 nominations by Theta chapters who believe their professors personify Theta's aspirations inside and outside of the classroom.
We hope you'll be inspired by the women (and men!) in the latest issue of the Theta magazine.
Throughout our lives, more specifically our academic careers, we have all more than likely met those who relay information with the expectation that it be held in the "bank" that is our brain and left to sit. However, sometimes we are fortunate to encounter those who encourage intellectual curiosity, leadership development, a commitment to service, and personal excellence in order to fully comprehend and utilize the information presented to us. These people have a profound influence on the development of the whole student. These catalysts for our members' growth are outstanding faculty members.
For the second year, Theta honors ten outstanding faculty members for contributions during the 2012-2013 academic year. The faculty members were chosen from more than 110 nominations by Theta chapters that believed their professor exuded Theta's aspirations inside and outside of the classroom.
This year's honorees' areas of study range from the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to history and education. In addition, the type of institution in which they teach range from public to private, research based to liberal arts based.
Read the list of this year's recipients.
Read the list of list of nominated professors.
For biographies and photos of honorees, please visit the Kappa Alpha Theta website in December 2013 and/or view in the upcoming Winter edition of the Theta Magazine.
Read the list of 2011-2012 recipients.
If you think your professor should be nominated as an outstanding faculty member for the 2013-2014 academic year, you will be able to do so in Spring 2014. Please look for correspondence from Assistant Director of Education & Leadership Victoria Stankus.
If you have questions regarding the Outstanding Faculty Member program, please email me.
Having had the opportunity to focus on the scholarship programming, I am inspired regularly by our members. Below are some selected comments from our college chapters expressing their views on scholarship:
- "Our college women are passionate and determined, and they are all achieving great feats in the academic world!" Alpha Gamma/Ohio State
- "As a chapter, scholarship is of the utmost importance. Mu Chapter holds the record at Allegheny College for the highest sorority GPA for the majority of semesters recorded. Together, we strive to push each other to reach our highest potential, and help each other achieve academic goals." Mu/Allegheny
- "In and out of the classroom, our women seek out learning opportunities. In order to maintain an atmosphere that values education, we have established certain standards and programs to help our chapter succeed." Gamma Zeta/Connecticut
- "The Alpha Eta chapter takes pride in its outstanding academic achievements. We consistently look for ways to recognize and reward the scholastic achievements of our members." Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt
- "Kappa Alpha Theta at Emory University promotes academic excellence through sisterhood support." Delta Zeta/Emory
- "We continue to strive for academic excellence daily." Zeta Lambda/College of Charleston
- "Consistently being one of the highest ranking chapters on campus, it is clear that through all the fun and memories made, academics always come first." Zeta Rho/ UC San Diego
- "Eta Eta's sisters encourage one another to do well academically, and the chapter's structure supports this endeavor." Eta Eta/College of Idaho
- "As the Beta Iota chapter, we pride ourselves on our extraordinary scholastic performance and the ability to develop well-rounded successful women who achieve both inside and outside the classroom." Beta Iota/Colorado
- "The members of our chapter have truly exemplified all aspects of Theta's scholarly expectations. Intellectual potential is demonstrated through our chapter's achievement of the highest all-sorority average." Alpha Psi/Lawrence
It is tremendous to see the chapter grade reports turned in and marvel at the achievements of our chapters and individual members. I am inspired and in awe on a frequent basis.
As was frequently cited during recent Founders Day celebrations, Bettie Locke once said, "The Fraternity was always second in my mind to coeducation. It was organized to help the girls win out in their fight to stay in college on a man's campus. We had to make a place for women in a man's world, and the Fraternity was one means to that bigger end." I can only imagine the Founders would feel delighted at the academic achievements of our collegians and alumnae.
As a reminder, all members (collegians and alumnae) have access to the scholarships that are allocated yearly by the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation. The Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation is proud to have one of the most robust scholarship endowment programs in the Greek world, including all men's and women's groups. Last year, Theta Foundation awarded $557,925 to outstanding undergraduate and graduate Thetas.
As a college professor, I have the great privilege of seeing amazing things happen on campus all the time. And I see many dedicated faculty members (men and women, Greek and non-Greek) facilitate those wondrous happenings through mentorship, through challenging homework assignments, and through engaging classroom discussions. It wasn't hard for me to realize that helping to shape the way college students view themselves and the world is an honorable contribution to "something bigger than ourselves" whether one is a Theta or not.
This program is an opportunity for our international organization to recognize and honor those professors who demonstrate excellence in advancing the experiences of our college women. Thetas from all of our chapters had the privilege of generating conversations and discussions among their own members to define and identify excellence on their campuses. These thoughtful discussions led to the consensus of a single nominee from each chapter, who those members agree embody the spirit of Theta's goals and aspirations. With nearly 130 college chapters, we knew it would be hard to choose just a single winner from such a large group, and so we decided to launch the program as the ten most outstanding faculty members.
We are incredibly proud of these professors for their dedication to, and passion for, inspiring our college students. As a group, they represent an assortment of academic disciplines, geographical areas, and varied perspectives on teaching and learning. I am proud of our fraternity for looking beyond the black and gold and making a positive contribution to the broad field of higher education, not just the Greek landscape. This (inter)national recognition has the potential to become a hallmark program for the Fraternity and is another example of Theta's commitment to her legacy of generating something "bigger than ourselves."
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