April 20, 2017
East Carolina University faculty and administrators gathered Thursday, April 20 for the University Teaching Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of their colleagues nominated for excellence in teaching.
Provost Ron Mitchelson welcomed everyone to the event and applauded the efforts of faculty for their commitment to maximizing student success.
"ECU makes good on the promise of opportunity for our students. The people represented here today make that possible," said Mitchelson. "Our students are successful because of your efforts. Tonight we will shine a bright light on great teaching."
The awards recognized faculty for their engagement with students in research, excellence in distance education and exceptional teaching abilities.
The highest honor of the night, the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, was awarded to Patricia "Patch" Clark, a professor in the School of Theatre and Dance in the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
Clark has been at ECU for 23 years and is the founder and director of ECU Storybook Theatre, a program that provides young learners throughout eastern North Carolina the opportunity to experience live theater. She also coordinates the bachelor of fine arts in theater education and theater for youth.
After accepting the award Clark shared photos and examples of how she and her students have taken theater and storytelling to local schools, hospitals, non-profits and military installations.
"I am grateful for public educators who day in and day out show up at school to work with children to help them grow and learn and become leaders of tomorrow," said Clark.
In addition to her work in eastern North Carolina, Clark is a strong advocate for reaching beyond the walls of her classroom to the global community and received the Global Partners in Education International Award for Collaboration in 2016 for her efforts.
Clark said technology regularly allows her students to participate in discussions and performances with other students around the world including universities in Egypt and Japan. Clark has traveled with her students to countries, including Japan and Iraq, where they have worked with young children in schools.
"I am thankful for the global classroom - to be able to link around the world and to encourage my students to form a new vision with a global insight as to what's happening in the world at different universities," said Clark.
After listening to Clark's remarks, Mitchelson shared his admiration for her work.
"We're inspired by you. It seems to come easy to you, but we know better," he said.
Clark was selected from a group of eight nominees and will receive a one-time award of $12,500.
During the evening several additional awards were presented including the ECU Alumni Association's Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching which was given to Dr. Mario Rey of the School of Music. The Alumni Association also presented its award for Outstanding Teaching to Tommi Overcash Galaska in the School of Theatre and Dance and Patrick Rider from the Department of Kinesiology.
The Max Ray Joyner Award for Outstanding Teaching in Distance Education was presented to Dr. Maureen Ellis in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Ellis was selected from a group of 10 nominees who have shown a commitment and enthusiasm in teaching and mentoring off-campus students and have demonstrated excellence in the delivery of courses.
The Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award was presented to six ECU faculty members. Each received a $1,000 award from the UNC system.
"At ECU, faculty are nominated for these awards by their colleagues in the academic divisions," said Henry Hinton, an ECU alumnus and member of the UNC Board of Governors. "The award is designed to recognize and support excellent teaching."
Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award recipients are as follows: