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By Jesse Johnson, UW Communications Intern
Jennifer Turpen's ability to make music theory fun and interesting has earned her recognition as one of the University of Wyoming's top teachers.
A lecturer in the Department of Music, Turpen was chosen for the Golden Apple Award. Established in 1986 by Beatrice Gallatin Beuf of Big Horn, the award recognizes teaching excellence in freshman-level courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. Patricia Goodson, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, also was chosen to receive the award.
A student evaluation of Turpen says, "Written theory is a difficult subject to teach. That's where Dr. Turpen excels, making the difficult easier to comprehend. I have struggled with the concepts, but when she explains the theory in class, a light bulb goes on in my head. Dr. Turpen makes learning this material a lot easier."
David J. Brinkman, professor and Department of Music chair, says, "She clearly demonstrates the characteristics that the Golden Apple teaching award seeks to honor - a desire to take her students beyond the course content while exciting in them a love of learning and the strength of character to demand a high level of achievement while remaining a caring, compassionate individual."
Turpen's colleagues compliment her abilities to teach often-difficult core curriculum courses.
"The core curriculum courses are incredibly difficult to teach because of the wide range of skills and talents in the classes," says Brinkman. "Dr. Turpen takes students with vastly disparate levels of preparedness and brings them to the same level of understanding by the end of the two semester freshman-level theory sequence."
"Very excellent instructor. Always willing to meet with students who may need a little extra help. Dr. Turpen made theory fun and interesting, quite an amazing feat," says a student evaluation.
She coaches student chamber ensembles and her dedication to such an important activity highlights her value to both students and faculty alike in the Department of Music.
Turpen, an adjunct faculty member since 2002, started at UW in the fall semester of 2008 teaching undergraduate courses. She is currently an academic professional lecturer of written theory in the Department of Music.
Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Turpen completed her B.M. in music education from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, N.Y. (1996). She finished her M.M. in saxophone performance (1998) and a D.M.A. (2000) at the University of Georgia.