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Four Appalachian professors and one instructor have received the 2017 Reich College of Education Outstanding Faculty Awards

By Heather Brandon

BOONE, N.C.—Five Appalachian State University faculty members in the Reich College of Education have received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Faculty Awards.

View larger imageWinners of the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Awards of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University are, from left, Eric Groce, David Koppenhaver, Lisa Poling, Brooke Hardin, and Brandy Bryson. Photo by Heather BrandonView larger imageDr. Eric Groce, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University, has received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award. Photo courtesy of Eric GroceView larger imageDr. David Koppenhaver, professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University, has received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Mentoring Award. Photo courtesy of RCOE staffView larger imageDr. Lisa Poling, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University, has received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Service Award. Photo by Marie FreemanView larger imageDr. Brandy Bryson, assistant professor in the educational foundations program in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University, has received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Scholarship/Creative Achievement Award. Photo courtesy of Brandy BrysonView larger imageBrooke Hardin, an instructor in the Departments of Reading Education and Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction of the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University, has received the college’s 2017 Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award. Photo by Marie Freeman

They are Dr. Eric Groce, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. David Koppenhaver, professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education; and Dr. Lisa Poling, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

The two other winners are Dr. Brandy Bryson, assistant professor in the educational foundations program in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies; and Brooke Hardin, an instructor in the Departments of Reading Education and Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction. Hardin is also a doctoral student in the educational leadership program.

Groce, who joined Appalachian’s faculty in 2004, received the college’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

Groce’s teaching, research and service focus primarily on elementary level social studies. He aims to provide preservice teachers with opportunities to develop the creative and critical thought processes necessary to plan and deliver engaging lessons. To this end, he helps prepare his students for the challenges of their own classrooms by integrating his classroom experience and expertise in children’s trade books, primary sources, experiential learning and field trips into his courses.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Groce said. “Every day I walk into this college, I am in the midst of outstanding teachers. To be recognized for my own teaching among such talented colleagues is quite a humbling experience – I’m not even the best teacher in my own home.”

Koppenhaver, who joined Appalachian’s faculty in 2004, received the college’s Outstanding Mentoring Award.

Koppenhaver’s research focuses on literacy in children with significant disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, complex communication needs and multiple disabilities. In 1990, he co-founded the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. In 2002, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Queensland in Australia.

“Winning this award means that I’ve had some really talented students with whom to collaborate,” Koppenhaver said. “They have asked great questions, identified creative solutions to complex problems, put in long hours honing both their teaching and scholarship and kept me more organized than I can keep myself. Their intellect, energy, commitment and ambition push me daily to seek out worthwhile projects and new professional opportunities to continue to broaden and deepen their already impressive skillsets.”

Poling, who joined Appalachian’s faculty in 2010, received the Outstanding Service Award.

Poling’s research interests include using mathematics to explore issues of social justice, development of preservice teachers’ knowledge of mathematics and how teachers define their sense of responsibility in teaching mathematics.

Poling is associate vice president for awards for the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE). She is secretary for the North Carolina affiliate of AMTE.

“The idea of service is part of the Reich College of Education’s Mission and Vision Statements,” she said. “Therefore, in providing service to others I hope to model the leadership we espouse in our students. When thinking about all of the service engagement within the Reich College of Education, I am humbled to be selected.”

Bryson, at Appalachian since 2012, received the Outstanding Scholarship/Creative Achievement Award.

Bryson’s research focuses on inclusive diversity, equity and social justice, with a particular emphasis on racial literacy and racial equity in society and in all levels of education. She has published numerous manuscripts, articles and book chapters. She has made over 30 presentations at conferences around the world.

“This award keeps me motivated to persevere in the difficult work of deeply understanding how injustice is embedded in institutions and to continue to educate and effect change for inclusive excellence,” Bryson said.

Hardin, hired by the college in 2014, holds a master’s degree in reading education from Appalachian. She received the Outstanding Adjunct or Instructor/Clinical Faculty Award.

Hardin’s research interests include writing development and instruction for intermediate and middle grades students, teaching and learning through technology and new literacies, literacy professional development and teacher education as well as interdisciplinary approaches to reading, writing and the utilization of children’s literature.

“I am truly honored to be selected by my colleagues and students for a teaching award and to be in the same company with those that have won the award prior to me,” she said. “Teacher education is my passion and I am inspired to give my best by my excellent students and other talented faculty.”

The college’s faculty, staff and students made nominations for the awards. A committee run by Dr. Kim Becnel, associate professor of library science at Appalachian, named the award winners.

About the Reich College of Education

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 State University

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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