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Hart receives Faculty Award for Excellence in General Education Teaching

Hart_t.jpgBOONE—Good teachers help others excel at their craft and that’s exactly what Dr. Sherry Alusow Hart does.

Hart is director of assessment for the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at Appalachian State University.

She has received the Faculty Award for Excellence in General Education Teaching (Non Tenure Track) from University College.

The award is presented to a part-time or full-time faculty member who is not on the tenure track at Appalachian. The award is given in recognition for innovative and committed teaching in the General Education Program and comes with a $1,000 stipend that may be used for travel, equipment, or other approved purposes for enhancement of the faculty member’s teaching and/or scholarship or creative activity.
Hart has a Ph.D. in British literature from the University of Maryland. She taught in East Tennessee State University’s Department of English before coming to Appalachian.

“Sherry has been an innovative teacher of English 1000, 2001 and 1500, piloting new texts and approaches and sharing her expertise with other composition faculty, mentoring new teachers and creating materials for course effectiveness,” wrote Dr. Georgia Rhoades, WAC director.

“She works with faculty to strengthen courses and to incorporate information literacy, two areas relatively new to composition’s role in General Education.  Her work makes it possible for the Composition Program to support our revised General Education fully. Her dedication to teaching and to strengthening teaching is exemplary,” Rhoades wrote in her letter of nomination.

“When Appalachian State University faculty decided to rethink and reconstruct a General Education program that would span each student’s entire university career, I was immediately supportive,” Hart wrote about her work at the university.

“My own experience with student attitudes about a core curriculum told me that separating these opportunities from work in the majors and minors diminished the importance of what was once called a liberal arts education,” she wrote. “Blending goals and outcomes and bringing students from all different fields into shared conversations, as the new program now encourages, will foster the interdisciplinarity and flexibility so valued in the 21st century. I envy students who are moving through Appalachian’s General Education program as it now exists.”

In addition to directing assessment activities, Hart also teaches honors English courses. Hart was praised by students for her ability to personalize her class and connect with her students.

“Typically, in general education courses, one might feel almost anonymous in the classroom, as the larger number of students enables the professor to get by without becoming personally acquainted with each student,” wrote sophomore Rachel Duffus. “In Dr. Hart’s class, such a disconnect did not exist … (She) made an even greater effort to learn about our personalities, learning styles, and hopes for the future, than other professors.”

“I have had the opportunity to observe Sherry’s composition classrooms a number of times,” wrote Dr. Kim Gunter, director of Appalachian’s Composition Program. “Each time I visit, I am struck by how fully Sherry demonstrates the best practices in the teaching of writing as determined by the discipline of rhetoric and composition. Sherry strives to create a student-centered classroom by involving students in egalitarian class discussions and by leading them in small group activities.”