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In his 10 years at the University of Wyoming, Allen Trent has inspired his students to emulate his passionate teaching style.
That level of enthusiasm by both his colleagues in the College of Education and students has earned Trent, an Educational Studies associate professor, recognition as an exceptional classroom instructor who brings plenty of enthusiasm to all his courses.
Trent, Eric Nye, associate professor and Victorian scholar in the Department of English, and Kent Becker, associate professor and head of the Department of Professional Studies in the College of Education, were all selected to receive this year's John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, established in 1977 by businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen, to "foster, encourage, and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW."
"This was the best, most meaningful class I have ever taken at UW. It really sparked the fire in my heart of how I am in charge of my classroom and art is the true definition of me," says one current student. "Therefore, I hope to take Allen's passion, love and enthusiasm for art and use it as inspiration of who I want to be as a teacher as well and transmit that desire onto my own students."
That high praise doesn't come only from UW students, but from others as well. They note Trent is able to connect with students, challenging them in all the right ways, gaining enormous respect from colleagues throughout the college.
"I have known Dr. Trent to be a first-rate teacher, a person whose identity is intimately tied to his role as a teacher," says Francisco Rios, the department's chairman. "The result is consistently high marks for his teaching by his colleagues and his students."
Another colleague remembers Trent when he was the department's chairman.
"He was a marvelous department chair. Like many chairs, he couldn't wait to get back to teaching responsibilities because he missed his first love, a complete teaching load," says Audrey Kleinsasser, Department of Educational Studies professor and Wyoming School-University Partnership director.
Current doctoral candidate Tanaya Moon Morris concurs.
"Dr. Trent has demonstrated to me time and again that he is an exceptional communicator and gifted teacher. In my opinion, he is the perfect model for any teacher, regardless of the discipline," she says. "He is an extremely dedicated professional who strives to motivate his learners to excel. Both in the classroom and in person, Dr. Trent is a dynamic and powerful communicator who possesses the gift of being able to make complex subjects understandable."
Another student adds, "I am assuming that Allen does not receive loads of negative feedback and that is because he is a great teacher. He is very respectful, organized, helpful and found ways to really help us learn the material of his course. He showed great interest in student success and I appreciate that quality in a teacher."
He received a B.S. (1986) in public relations from Eastern Kentucky University, an M.S. (1992) teaching from Dayton University and Ph.D. (2000) degrees in curriculum, instruction and professional development from The Ohio State University.