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Hudnall and Keeter honored for excellence in teaching in Appalachian’s general education program

BOONE—Amy Hudnall and Rebecca Keeter have been honored for their exemplary teaching in Appalachian State University’s general education program.

View larger imageRebecca Keeter, left, and Amy Hudnall have been honored by University College at Appalachian State University for their excellence in teaching in the general education program. (Photo by Jane Nicholson)

Hudnall, a lecturer in the Department of History and the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies, is the 2015 recipient of the Wayne Duncan Appalachian State University Faculty Enrichment and Teaching Fellowship. This year’s award was $3,500. Hudnall will use the award to further her research on perpetrator behavior post-genocide in an effort to understand perpetrator motivation and how to support different, positive behaviors.

Keeter, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance, is this year’s recipient of the Rennie Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in the First Year Seminar. In addition to a plaque, Keeter received a $500 award. She plans to use her award to attend the Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College to study old time music and dance.

The awards were presented during an April 22 University College and general education awards ceremony.

Wayne D. Duncan Fellowship

The Wayne D. Duncan Appalachian State University Faculty Enrichment and Teaching Fellowship is given to a full-time faculty member in recognition of their innovative and successful teaching in the general education program. The fellowship may be used for travel, equipment, or other approved purposes for the enhancement of the faculty member’s teaching and/or scholarship or creative activity. The award is the result of the generosity of Duncan, a past chairman of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees and a past chair of the university’s Foundation Board of Directors.

Hudnall has taught at Appalachian since 2001. She was described as “not merely a competent teacher, but a transformational one, the type students remember with gratitude years later,” by a colleague. A department chair wrote that Hudnall, “is the kind of indispensable teacher that helps make a department work efficiently, filling in where needed and always devoting additional time and effort to her students.”

Hudnall teaches a variety of general education courses in two different departments and has also been a valuable participant in the First Year Seminar program, according to Dr. Michael Krenn, director of the general education program and a professor in the Department of History.

“Her teaching has long been recognized for the passion she exhibits, the encouragement she gives her students, and her constant striving to improve her own performance,” Krenn said.

One student wrote in his letter of nomination that, “Over the last semester and a half she has given me inspiration, given me direction, and pushed me to think and work at the level I had so long hoped that I was capable of.”

Before becoming a full-time faculty member at Appalachian, Hudnall was awarded the Outstanding Part-Time Teacher award by the College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to teaching, she has been the coordinator for peace studies for the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies.

She also has served as editor of the International e-Journal of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, the Journal of Rural Mental Health, book review editor for H-Genocide and managing editor of the NWSA Journal, a publication of the National Women’s Studies Association. Hudnall has published two books with another one in process, more than 20 articles, and given presentations at conferences around the United States and the world.

She received a Master of Arts degree in history from Appalachian in 2001.

Rennie Brantz Award

The Rennie Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in the First Year Seminar honors an instructor who demonstrates exemplary teaching and has made an impact on student lives in the First Year Seminar classroom. It is named for Dr. Rennie Brantz, who was director of Freshman Seminar for 14 years.

Keeter has taught in the Department of Theatre and Dance since 1994. Keeter currently is the theme coordinator for the “Expressions of Culture” general education theme and is teaching a course on Appalachian music and dance in First Year Seminar.

She also is an active choreographer, dancer and performer and a participant in community service, giving presentations to local schools and teachers, serving as the liaison between Appalachian and the Old Time Music and Dance and Old Time Artist programs in Watauga County, and volunteering as the dance consultant for Watauga County High School Performing Arts.

“As is often the case with this particular award, the most notable nominations come directly from students,” Krenn said during the awards ceremony. “About this year’s winner, one student wrote that the instructor ‘demonstrated thoughtfulness, collaborative abilities, excellent teaching abilities, and genuine compassion toward her students and their development.’ Another told us that, ‘In no other class have I witnessed a teacher who genuinely (and successfully) wants to build relationships with her students while helping them build relationships with their peers’.”

Krenn added that another student wrote that Keeter “has a bigger perspective of the world in mind when she teaches; what matters is not what is on the next test, but what you gain from first-hand experiences and the memories you make during your lifetime.” Another student summed up the views of many of the other nominations by writing that, “I’m sure you have lots of impressive nominees for this award, but if you’re looking for someone who has demonstrated exemplary teaching, who has a large amount of experience in her field and who has had an impact on the lives of their students, she is the perfect candidate.”

Keeter received a Master of Arts degree from Appalachian in 1984.