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UW’s Turpen Receives Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award

May 2, 2016
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Jennifer Turpen, an associate lecturer in the UW Department of Music, is one of three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. (UW Photo)

Whether she’s performing with the Globe Saxophone Quartet around the United States or educating undergraduates in music theory, University of Wyoming Associate Lecturer Jennifer Turpen is praised by colleagues and students. 

“She is the epitome of a superior teacher, and there is no more deserving candidate,” says Theresa Bogard, chair of the UW Department of Music. “We are extremely lucky to have her skill and teaching expertise in the Department of Music and the entire university. Not only does she teach the courses no one wants to teach, she does it while maintaining a calm demeanor and a pleasant disposition.”

Turpen is among three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. Other Ellbogen winners are Caskey Russell, an associate professor in the Department of English and head of the American Indian Studies Program; and Terry Burant, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies.

“I always felt that she cared not only about my education, success and progress, but also about my well-being,” says Emily Peterson, former UW student and general music specialist at Afflerbach Elementary School in Cheyenne. “College can be stressful and overwhelming, but Dr. Turpen always provided me support and encouragement to become the best educator and musician possible.”

Turpen, the undergraduate advising coordinator for the Department of Music, teaches undergraduate written theory and saxophone.

“Her easy-going, but firm manner and thorough attention to course content give our freshman music majors the perfect college career start that undoubtedly paves the way for successful degree completion,” says Steve Barnhart, assistant chair of the UW Department of Music.

As an undergraduate adviser, Turpen works one on one with many of the students in the music department. She provides students with guidance to achieve musical, academic and career goals.

“Going beyond her duty of excellent teaching, Dr. Turpen is an individual of the utmost moral character and makes a great effort to invest in her students on a personal level,” says Stephen Wadsack, a senior in the UW Department of Music.

Another student agrees.

“I have improved light-years in my ability to play the saxophone in a more expressive manner, as she has opened my mind to thinking creatively through logic and concept,” says UW student Zane Romanek. “She brings rich enthusiasm and reassurance to every lesson, and is especially encouraging on days that I am not at my best.”

Turpen has taught at UW since 2002. She received the UW College of Arts and Sciences’ Extraordinary Merit in Advising Award in 2010 and 2012. She also was awarded the Beatrice Gallatin Beuf Golden Apple of the Hesperides Award for outstanding freshman-level teaching in 2010 and the Thumbs-Up Award from the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council in 2007-08.

“Dr. Turpen is clearly one of the star teachers in our department, and her teaching excellence has been recognized numerous times on campus,” Bogard says.

Turpen received her doctorate of musical arts in saxophone performance (2000) and her master’s in music (1998), both from the University of Georgia, and her bachelor’s degree in music education (1996) from State University of New York, Crane School of Music.

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