Blasingame is 2008 Professor of the Year
English education professor James Blasingame took home the ASU Parents Association’s 2008 Professor of the Year award at a ceremony April 14 at ASU’s Old Main on the Tempe campus.
Blasingame accepted the award in front of more than 200 ASU faculty, students, staff, administrators, parents and friends. The 12th annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning Excellence event at ASU marked the culmination of more than four months of community collaboration to choose a top ASU educator for this honor.
“I didn’t really have anything prepared, because I honestly didn’t think I would win,” Blasingame said as he received his award. “I have so many people to thank, but I guess I really have to thank my mother. I dedicate every book I write to her, because she got me into teaching; she believed every child was special, and that every child can be taught to read. You just have to have the right book.”
Blasingame, a former high school English teacher who pursued his doctoral degree after nearly 20 years of K-12 teaching, was chosen out of 30 other professors who were nominated this year by their colleagues, students and staff. Each nominee boasts an impressive track record of community engagement, research and undergraduate teaching – all important criteria of this endowed professorship. It is highly esteemed among ASU faculty and is one of two awards that makes the recipient a member of the ASU Distinguished Teaching Academy.
Blasingame has been with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2000, and he inspires future English teachers of America with his enthusiastic spirit – and his emphasis on community outreach. Since much of his teaching is about adolescent literature, he and his students partner with local school districts to improve literacy and writing skills among middle and high school students.
“Though he would be too humble to make this claim for himself, no one meets the criteria for this award quite as fully as Professor Blasingame,” said Richard Newhauser, an English department colleague of Blasingame’s who nominated him for the Professor of the Year award. “His dedication as a teacher and a scholar to undergraduate education is unsurpassed. The productiveness of his research makes him one of the leading voices in his field of English education and the study of young adult literature.”
The award is funded by parents of ASU students through the ASU Parents Association. In addition to the prestigious designations, the Professor of the Year receives $20,000 – $10,000 of which funds undergraduate student assistance – and is distributed over two years.
In addition to Blasingame’s honor, the selection committee chose to designate another six nominees for special recognition for their teaching and scholarship, each of whom receives a $1,000 cash award. This year’s special recognition awardees were Jess Alberts, Edward Garnero, Ian Gould, Glenn Hurlbert, Douglas Kenrick and F. Miguel Valenti.
Besides Blasingame, the other nominees also set a high precedent for teaching at ASU and were applauded for their efforts at the event.
These nominees were: Tamiko Azuma, Michael Berch, Prasad Boradkar, David Capco, Peter de Marneffe, Chouki El Hamel, Miriam Elman, Anne Feldhaus, Stephen Happel, Douglas Kelley, Pat Lauderdale, Kyle Longley, Subhash Mahajan, Baruch Meir, Rajeev Misra, James Rush, Johnny Saldaña, Cynthia Tompkins, Carmen Urioste, Patricia Webb, Neal Woodbury, Ruth Yabes and Bernard Young.
The ASU Parents Association Professor of the Year award was given for the first time in 1994 and has since been awarded 11 times. Thanks to the continued generosity of ASU families and the participation of ASU students, faculty and staff, the ASU Parents Association is able to award this prestigious honor on an annual basis.
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