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Schram receives Board of Governor’s Teaching Award

PamSchram_t.jpgBOONE—Pam Schram’s passion for teaching began when she was in elementary school. She loved playing baseball during recess, but only those students who had completed their homework could play. She made sure others in her class understood math so they could complete their work and join the game.

She has been helping students learn and teach math ever since.

Schram, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education, has received a UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. She and recipients from 16 other institutions in the UNC System will each receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $7,500 cash prize. In addition, Schram will be recognized at the Reich College of Education commencement May 8 and at Appalachian’s convocation ceremony Sept. 16.

A 35-year veteran of education, Schram has taught a range of students, from first graders to doctoral students. She is known for her engaging and respectful learner-centered classes in which she models professional practices.

“The dynamics of every class is unique, so even if the course title is the same, the learning experiences unfold in interesting and ever-changing ways,” she said. “Regardless of the context, teaching throughout my career has been reciprocal, rewarding, ever changing, challenging and invigorating.”

Schram’s approach to teaching is based on the following guidelines: create a learner-centered approach to instruction, establish an engaging and respectful learner-centered community, examine critically the processes of teaching and learning, and model professional practices.

A former student said, “Not only is she a true professional, but Dr. Schram is such a people-oriented person that you cannot meet her without being forever changed. Her positive outlook on life and the importance of education is infectious.”

“I left her classroom not only with more understanding and knowledge in math, but also with a personal connection that continues to grow,” commented another student.

Schram has collaborated with classroom teachers, colleagues at Appalachian and across the nation. Her colleagues often describe instances where her insights and guidance have pushed them to become better teachers and faculty members.

“Dr. Schram is the type of professor that I aspire to be – one who knows her subject matter but also knows her students,” said a former student who went on to earn a Ph.D.

Schram earned a Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching and educational policy (mathematics education) from Michigan State University. She holds master’s degrees in supervision and in middle grade education (mathematics and reading) from Western Carolina University and a bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College.

Schram taught in the public schools for 10 years before becoming a university professor.

She came to Appalachian in 1996 as an associate professor and was promoted to professor in 2001.  She was director of the Appalachian Teaching Fellows Program from 2004-08.

Schram is an accomplished scholar in mathematics education. She has received grants for an array of projects, made numerous national and state presentations, and has been published in a variety of educational journals.

Established by the Board of Governors in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to reward good teaching across the university system, the awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member from each UNC campus. Winners must have taught at their present institutions at least seven years. No one may receive the award more than once.

The UNC Board of Governors also allocates $6,500 to Appalachian to award to additional faculty for teaching excellence at the undergraduate level. First runner-up was Harold McKinney, Hayes School of Music, receiving $1,500.

Receiving $1,000 each were Alecia Jackson, Reich College of Education (leadership and educational studies); Margaret Werts, Reich College of Education (language, reading and exceptionalities); Elizabeth Carroll, College of Arts & Sciences (English and Writing Center); Julia Pedigo, Hayes School of Music; and Sheila Phipps, College of Arts and Sciences (history).

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