UNC Award for Teaching Excellence
By Scott Bigelow
Board of Governors of the 16-campus University of North Carolina selected
Dr. Patricia Valenti, an English professor at UNC Pembroke, to receive
its 10th annual Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The board annually
names one faculty member from each of the 16 campuses to receive a commemorative
bronze medallion and a $7,500 cash prize. Dr. Valenti will serve as
grand marshal of Spring Commencement 2004.
Dr. Roger Brown,
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, hailed the award as
a lifetime achievement for a faculty member.
"We take great
pride in the reputation of UNC Pembroke as a center for excellent teaching,"
Dr. Brown said. "To be selected by one's students and peers as
the Board of Governors' Teacher of Excellence is the highest award that
we can bestow upon one of our colleagues."
"I have heard
from members of the awards committee that Professor Valenti's classroom
presence is dynamic, enthusiastic, and highly knowledgeable," Dr.
Brown said. "She is the embodiment of the teacher/scholar that
we value so highly at UNC Pembroke. I am very proud to be a colleague
of Professor Patricia Valenti."
Dr. Valenti joined
UNCP's faculty in 1984. In addition to her teaching duties, she is coordinator
for the Master of Arts in English education program.
"I am honored
to have been chosen as this year's recipient of the Board of Governors
award," Dr. Valenti said. "I love to study, teach and make
literature and writing relevant to my students' lives."
"I hope to
share my enthusiasm for literature and writing for many years to come,"
Dr. Valenti is a
scholar of 19th century American author Nathaniel Hawthorne and his
family. In 1991, LSU Press published Dr. Valenti's book on Hawthorne's
daughter, "To Myself a Stranger: A Biography of Rose Hawthorne
The first volume
of Dr. Valenti's biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne's wife, entitled "Sophia
Peabody Hawthorne, A Life, Volume I through 1847," will be published
this spring by the University of Missouri Press. During the 2001-2002
academic year, she was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
for a one-year research grant to write the book.
Dr. Valenti was
also invited to participate in the planning of the Hawthorne Museum
in Salem, Mass., his birthplace.
Last year, she served
as distinguished visiting professor in the Department of English and
Fine Arts at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co. That
year, Greenwood Press published Dr. Valenti's book, "Understanding
'The Old Man and the Sea': A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and
An important element
of Dr. Valenti's professional activities is assisting in the development
of other public school teachers and faculty members. She successfully
applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities Focus Grant to work
with area teachers to develop techniques for effectively teaching Hawthorne's
"The Scarlet Letter."
Dr. Valenti received
the University's Outstanding Teacher Award and several faculty development
grants. A New York City native, she received her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees
from The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a B.A. degree
from Marymount College.
Dr. Thomas Leach,
a long-time colleague of Dr. Valenti's in the English Department and
as Dean of the College of Arts, said she is a model teacher-scholar.
"In her 20
years of service to UNCP, Dr. Patricia Valenti has enhanced the learning
of her students, providing an example of a teacher-scholar whose commitment
to teaching is enriched by her outstanding scholarship," Dr. Leach
said. "She is an esteemed colleague, and I am proud of her achievement
in receiving this distinguished award."
The Board of Governors
Committee on Personnel and Tenure, chaired by John W. Davis III of Winston-Salem,
N.C., selected the 16 recipients. The Board of Governors established
the award in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to reward
good teaching. The awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member
from each UNC campus.
UNC President Molly
Corbett Broad and Board of Governors Chairman J. Bradley Wilson of Cary
will present the awards at a recognition luncheon to be held in conjunction
with the board's May meeting.
to University Newswire