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Appalachian’s Dr. Tracy Wilson Smith receives 2017 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, one of 17 honored

By University Communications

BOONE, N.C.—Dr. Tracy Wilson Smith, professor in the Reich College of Education (RCOE) at Appalachian State University, has been recognized by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors as among the most outstanding faculty, and is one of 17 recipients to receive its 2017 Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

View larger imageDr. Tracy Wilson Smith receives the N.C. Board of Governors 2017 Award for Excellence in Teaching. Photo by Marie Freeman

Each of the winners will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. Awards will be presented by a Board of Governors member during each campus’ spring graduation ceremony.

Smith, professor and assistant chair in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, joined the Appalachian faculty in 2000 and has taught 23 different courses for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students on the main campus and at the university’s satellite campuses.

“Tracy’s contributions to our students – and education in general – are so far reaching,” Chancellor Sheri N. Everts said. “The teachers she mentors, instructs and encourages go on to do the same in classrooms across our state and country. She is truly the embodiment of what the Dougherty brothers envisioned when they established our institution more than 100 years ago.”

In the words of her college dean, Dr. Melba Spooner, “Tracy is the consummate faculty – she listens, she builds, she mentors and she contributes in so many tangible and intangible ways.”

Smith’s departmental chair, Dr. Susan A. Colby, concurred. “Tracy is a truly outstanding teacher who consistently designs courses and experiences that foster deep learning, focus on the needs of individuals and exemplify best practice. For decades, her students have commented on the quality of her teaching and have identified her expertise, dedication to each student, and relevant and rigorous instruction as hallmarks of her practice.”

One student said, “Dr. Smith is the educator I strive to emulate. She has changed my life, not only because she gave me the skills necessary to deliver high quality instruction, but also, and more importantly, because she gave me the confidence to believe I could be a great teacher and that I, too, could make a difference in my students’ lives.”

Smith is the recipient of numerous teaching awards: a two-time winner of the RCOE Outstanding Teaching Award (2005, 2015); Appalachian State University Student Government Association Outstanding Faculty Award (2005); RCOE Outstanding Mentor Award (2014); and RCOE Community of Practice Award (2016). She was selected as a participant in the inaugural cohort of the Appalachian Academic Leadership Development Program in 2015 and she currently serves as RCOE Faculty Fellow, in which she facilitates professional learning opportunities for faculty and staff.

Colby said Smith not only brings expertise to the courses she teaches, “but also to the numerous professional development opportunities she facilitates for faculty. Her commitment to teaching excellence is unparalleled and her many contributions in support of Appalachian’s teaching mission are commendable and significant.”

Smith has facilitated teaching-focused faculty development initiatives such as the Scholarly Teaching Academy and Course (Re)Design Institute at Appalachian. More than 70 courses have been designed as a result of the Course (Re)Design Institute, which focuses on developing courses for significant and long-lasting student learning. One participant said, “Her creativity, innovation and encouragement have been a constant source of inspiration for the rest of us.”

Smith received the Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Master of Arts in Curriculum Specialist at Appalachian, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Teaching at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

About the Reich College of Education

Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.

About Appalachian

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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