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UW Faculty Honored for Excellent Teaching

April 25, 2011
Woman and man
University of Wyoming English Professor Susan Frye reviews a reading assignment with Harry Whitlock, a student in Frye's Shakespeare Seminar. Frye, along with Margaret Flanigan, associate lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Physiology, and Rachel Watson, an instructor in the Department of Molecular Biology, received UW's top award for teaching, the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. (UW Photo)

John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Awards are being presented to three University of Wyoming faculty members.

They are Margaret Flanigan, associate lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Physiology; Susan Frye, professor in the Department of English; and Rachel Watson, an instructor in the Department of Molecular Biology.

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

Since coming to UW in 2003, Flanigan has built a reputation as one of the strongest educators and lecturers on campus while becoming a role model for colleagues and students alike.

"Meg deserves this award not only because she is an extraordinary teacher. She deserves it also because she has changed how many of us teach and because she has touched the minds and hearts of innumerable students," says Carlos Martinez del Rio, one of Flanigan's counterparts in the Department of Zoology and Physiology. "She is a role model for all of us to aspire to help make this university better than it already is as a teaching and research institution."

Adds Edward Waggy, an M.S. candidate in the Division of Kinesiology and Health, "After spending eight years at the University of Wyoming, I have come across no finer an educator than Dr. Flanigan."

With an accumulating list of awards, accomplishments and publications, Frye is considered by students to be an excellent teacher because she shares her deep passion for literature while helping them develop and prepare for their lives to come.

"I found myself mesmerized by her teaching, by the way that even as she asked so much of her students she instinctively knew how to reach us all, to make us feel intimately connected to Shakespeare's writings and early modern English history," said Jennifer Monroe, one of Frye's former students who is now a professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

"As difficult as the material was, Dr. Frye was always willing to work with me and other students in the class to help us understand and comprehend the theorists we were learning," said Courtney Carlisle, another former student.

Watson teaches primarily lower-division microbiology lecture and laboratory courses and on-line, upper division biochemistry courses in the summer.

"Her biochemistry class has proven so popular we have been forced to limit enrollment beginning next summer," says Mark Stayton, associate professor and chair of the department. "Rachel inoculates them with an honest enthusiasm for science, and she demonstrates a true interest in the welfare of students."

She brings innovation to the classroom, noted one student.

"She uses contemporary technology combined with a flexible teaching style for a dynamic environment that is unlike any I have ever seen," said James Caitlin Caines, a microbiology undergraduate student.

Added Jim Wangberg, associate dean and director of the Office of Academic and Student Programs in the college, "She is arguably the college's best classroom teacher and educator and among the university's elite educators.

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