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Leslie Rush Honored for Teaching Excellence


May 8, 2008 — Leslie Rush's work as a teacher has garnered her admiration and respect from many of her students. This respect has earned her the University of Wyoming's John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award.

The other recipients are Teresa Bogard, professor in the Department of Music; Jacquelyn Bridgeman, associate professor in the College of Law; Katta J Reddy, professor in the Department of Renewable Resources; and Lou Anne Wright, professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

The awards are made possible by a fund established by Ellbogen to "foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW." Winners are selected from a list nominated by students, and the awards are based entirely on classroom performance and helpfulness to students.

A native of Worland, Ellbogen established an endowment for teaching awards in appreciation for his family and state's encouragement of education.

Rush, assistant professor of English education, captivates her students in an inspiring atmosphere where she subtly guides their exploration of material with dynamic lectures and innovative technology, says Linda Hutchison, department head and associate professor of secondary education.

Annie Gorenstein, a former student of Rush's, commended the professor on her attention to classroom dynamics.

"She is able to create a community within her classroom. By doing this, she creates an environment in which every student feels as though his or her opinion is valued and heard.

"She is open-minded when it comes to the opinions and ideas of her students, even when it comes to her own teaching methods," Forenstien says. "Her devotion and effort to further the education of her students as well as her own education make her an outstanding teacher."

Another former student, Jessi Long, described Rush as "relatable and approachable."

"Dr. Rush brings personal experiences and enthusiasm to the classroom. She has been a teacher of many hats, and her various experiences easily translate to her classroom teaching.

"Of all of the courses I have taken at the University of Wyoming, those taught by Dr. Leslie Rush have not only taught me the most, but will be the ones I will remember for a lifetime," she says. "Her praiseworthy teaching will stay with me as I go on to be a teacher."
A quality frequently noted by her colleagues and students is her work with emerging technology and integration of technology into her teaching style and classroom materials.

"Leslie is one of our most knowledgeable faculty members in the area of technology," says Barbara Chatton, a professor in elementary and early childhood education. "Every time I have observed her teaching, I find myself coming away with wonderful ideas to implement in my own teaching."

Chatton also admires Rush's desire to continue her own education. "She is constantly updating this knowledge, and her knowledge about teaching," she says.

Lydia Dambekalns, an associate professor of secondary education, also speaks highly of her colleague. "Dr. Rush is superlative in every respect. I have seen her interact with students in a variety of situations over the years and they respect her immensely," she says. "There is no one in the department I'd consider as more expert in teaching than Leslie Rush! I look forward to learning from her example and advice."

Rush received her B.S.(1984) in history and English from East Texas State University, an M.Ed. in reading education from Texas A&M University (1996), and a Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Georgia (2002). She has also published numerous books, book chapters and articles in refereed journals during her professional tenure.

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