‘Great’ teachers recognized

By Erin Shea

Despite a lengthy application process on top of class time and homework, some students stepped up and took the time to nominate who they believed to be the best teachers on campus.

This year, six UK professors were chosen as winners of the Great Teacher of the Year Award, the oldest continuously given award for professors at UK who exemplify great teaching.

Given by the UK Alumni Association, professors are nominated by students, then are chosen by the Great Teacher Award Committee and Omicron Delta Kappa, an honor society for students.

One of this year’s winners, history professor Tracy Campbell, was nominated by secondary social studies senior Kimberly Hogue. Hogue said initially she didn’t think about nominating any teacher for the award, but Campbell changed her mind.

“The nomination does take some time and requires effort,” Hogue said. “I had received the e-mail to nominate a professor and simply ignored it. But the longer I thought about it, the more I knew (Campbell) deserved it.”

Campbell credits his teaching ability to the lessons he received when he was a UK student. He said as a freshman he was unsure of what to pursue as a career, but his professors inspired him with a passion for history.

“I was deeply appreciative that students took the time to fill out a lengthy nomination form,” Campbell said. “I am a UK alum and came here without a clue as to what I was going to study. Because of some remarkable and dynamic instructors, I knew after a month of entering my freshman U.S. history class what I wanted to do with my life.”

Just like Campbell’s teachers made an impact on him during his undergraduate career, his students say the same about him. Hogue said she is confident in her career choice because of professors like Campbell who love what they do.

“I think what defines a great teacher is making a student interested in a topic that they were uninterested in prior … (Campbell) reminded me why I wanted to be a teacher, and why I love history,” Hogue said.

Since the award was established in 1961, 241 faculty members have been honored by the Alumni Association. In order to qualify, a professor must have the title of assistant professor or higher and have held that for at least three years at UK, have superior knowledge of their subject, present classroom material in original ways, show concern for students both in and out of the classroom and have not received the award in the past 10 years.