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November 13, 2003
CONTACT: Carol Anderson
734.487.4400
carol.anderson@emich.edu

EMU’s Sipe Named 2003 Michigan Professor of the Year

YPSILANTI – Rebecca Sipe, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the department of English language and literature at Eastern Michigan University, has been named 2003 Michigan Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Rebecca Sipe Sipe, who was selected from nearly 400 top professors in the United States, was honored Thursday, Nov. 13, during an awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The award, created in 1981, is the only national honor specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

“Sipe is emblematic of the very best at Eastern Michigan University. Her devotion to her students, her continued refinement of pedagogy (teaching), her systematic and dedicated intellectual inquiry and her overall commitment to the institution are truly exemplary. She has earned this honor with her hard work and dedication,” said Paul Schollaert, EMU provost and vice president of academic affairs, who nominated her for the award.

“This is a great honor,” said Sipe, who works predominately with nontraditional students, including many first-generation college students. “Because I once stood in the shoes of my students, I remember acutely the hurdles that can create invisible obstacles. I spend time advising students and building relationships with them so they are willing to come to me to seek counsel and discuss problems.”

Sipe taught in the Anchorage, Alaska school system for 10 years before coming to EMU in 1997. She also is co-director of the EMU Writing Project; works with service learning projects; teaches both English methods and writing classes; and advises students.

She recently authored “They Can’t Spell? Understanding and Supporting Challenged Spellers in the Middle and High Schools,” (Heinemann, July 2003).

Her awards include the EMU Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2000 and the National Council of Teachers of English Research Award (2000-2001).

This is the third year since 1985, when the state awards were created, that an EMU professor has been named Michigan Professor of the Year. Bernard O’Connor, professor of political science, received the honor in 2001 and 1999.

Campus provosts and academic vice presidents nominated candidates for the honor, and current and former students, colleagues and peers from other institutions sent letters of support.

CASE assembled two preliminary panels of judges to select finalists who were evaluated for their impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education within the institution and community; and support from colleagues and students.

The Carnegie Foundation convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners and awarded them $5,000 each. The panel also selected the 43 state winners.

The national winners are the most outstanding candidates of those in the final pool of nominees, said Joye Mercer Barksdale, director of CASE public relations. Not all states nominate professors each year or those nominated do not meet all the qualifications to be named a state winner.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,200 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 46 countries. CASE is the leading resource for professional development, information and standards in the fields of education fundraising, communications and alumni relations.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie “to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching.” The Foundation conducts research and policy studies on teaching and learning.

 


Eastern Michigan University is a public comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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