Ohio Wesleyan Faculty Member Earns ‘Exemplary Teacher Award’

Karen Poremski, Ph.D., Recognized for Excellence in Education, Service to Others

Karen Poremski

DELAWARE, OHIO – Karen Poremski, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University, is being honored with a fall 2011 “Exemplary Teacher Award” from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

The national award recognizes faculty members at United Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities who “exemplify excellence in teaching; civility and concern for students and colleagues; commitment to value-centered education; and service to students, the institution, and the community.” Recipients receive a $500 stipend.

Poremski joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2002. She was nominated for the award by Provost David O. Robbins, Ph.D., following a recommendation by the university’s Faculty Personnel Committee. Poremski joins Kristina Bogdanov, Ph.D., associate professor of fine arts, in being selected this year for the honor. Bogdanov was honored with a spring 2011 Exemplary Teacher Award.

In nominating Poremski for the award, Robbins stated, “Dr. Poremski is, according to her students and in their own words: ‘intelligent,’ ‘well-organized,’ ‘impressive,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘approachable,’ ‘enthusiastic,’ ‘first rate,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘stellar,’ ‘dynamite,’ ‘fresh air.’ ”

The award also recognizes Poremski for her deep dedication to providing Ohio Wesleyan students with travel-learning and theory-to-practice opportunities that help them to connect classroom learning with real-world experiences.

Poremski annually takes students on a mission trip to South Dakota to aid and interact with Native Americans in the Lakota Nation, most of whom struggle with extreme poverty. During their visit, the Ohio Wesleyan students provide volunteer service, such as helping to repair and renovate homes, tutor children, and prepare and serve food at soup kitchens. They also meet with tribal elders to learn more about the Lakota Nation.

“Students are sometimes seeing this level of poverty for the first time,” Robbins stated. “[Dr. Poremski] uses these opportunities to carefully address the complex issues of racism and the visible effects of cultural near-genocide, anger, and guilt. Students who have gone on these trips have expressed an interest in going back to the reservation and continuing their study of Native American culture, literature, and history, especially as it applies to their major. Karen’s work both within and outside the classroom represents the type of commitment that hallmarks the mission of our college and a liberal arts education.”

Poremski holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Maryland-College Park, a master’s degree in English literature and a certificate in teaching composition from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in English and a certificate in women’s studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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