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ECU recognizes excellence in teaching

Chancellor Steve Ballard congratulates Derek Alderman, left, winner of the 2009 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.
GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Apr. 28, 2009)   —   An East Carolina University geographer received the highest teaching award given at the university during the Teaching Awards ceremony held April 28 in the Mendenhall Student Center.

Derek Alderman, associate professor in the Department of Geography, has been selected as the ECU recipient of the annual UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The award was one of several presented during the ceremony. Thirty-seven faculty members from a variety of disciplines were nominated or presented with awards. Several faculty members were recognized in more than one category.  

Chancellor Steve Ballard said, while the university provides many important services, teaching is “at the heart and soul of the institution.”

“I think what you all are doing makes all the difference in the world for our students and our future,” he told the nominees.
Alderman began his career at ECU in 2000 and, in 2005, became a tenured associate professor. He holds an undergraduate degree in history from Georgia Southern College and master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from the University of Georgia. He has received the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award, the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Scholar-Teacher Award, in addition to other honors.

Alderman has authored a book, 12 chapters in edited books and more than 40 journal articles. He has become a nationally known expert on the politics of naming streets and other public places after Martin Luther King Jr., and has been quoted in more than 90 interviews with the media.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized among all of my great colleagues,” Alderman said. “One of the reasons I enjoy this institution so much is its commitment to research, teaching and service.”

Alderman credited a mentor from his undergraduate days with his successful teaching model, which includes an open door policy, constant communication with students, the involvement of students in research, and the cultivation of a challenging and engaging classroom atmosphere.

“The university is more than just a transfer of information,” Alderman said. “Our job as university professors is to create opportunities and environments in which we can put students in places where they can help construct their own knowledge.”

A member of the Board of Governors will present Alderman with a commemorative bronze medal and a $7,500 cash prize during commencement.

Other ECU nominees for the 2009 Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching were Kermit Buckner (Educational Leadership), Robert Carroll (Physiology), Ken MacLeod (Marketing and Supply Chain Management), Janice Neil (Undergraduate Nursing Science), Fred Schadler (Finance) and Douglas Schneider (Accounting).

Several additional awards were presented during the ECU ceremony.

Six faculty members were selected for the 2009 Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Awards. Recipients were Michael Harris (Management), Jeannie Golden (Psychology), Mark Richardson (Music), John Howard (Communication), Sue Steinweg (Curriculum & Instruction) and Linda Mooney (Sociology). Each recipient received $1,000 from the UNC system.

The Max Ray Joyner Award for Faculty Service through Continuing Education was presented to Shanan Gwaltney Gibson of the College of Business Department of Management. Gibson received a $1,750 cash prize and a plaque.

Eighteen faculty members were nominated for the 2009 East Carolina Alumni Association Awards for Outstanding Teaching. Three winners were selected for the association’s Robert L. Jones Award. Winners were Shanan Gwaltney Gibson (Management), Lisa Clough (Biology) and Todd Fraley (Communication).

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Contact: Christine Neff | 252-328-1159