MSU Denver Ann Williams named U.S. Professor of the Year
Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
Posted: November 14, 2013
DENVER – The Carnegie Foundation has named Ann Williams, Metropolitan State University of Denver professor of French, one of four “U.S. Professors of the Year” for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The awards recognize professors for their influence on teaching and commitment to undergraduate students.
Williams, who joined the faculty at MSU Denver in 1990, was chosen as “Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor.” Judges praised her innovative use of technology in the classroom—such as using Google Earth to teach students cross-cultural competencies that are important to language acquisition.
She will receive the award today at a luncheon at the Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Williams is one of two Colorado educators to win the awards this year. University of Colorado Boulder physics Professor Steven Pollack also was named a U.S. Professor of the Year, in the “Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor” category.
“It is an honor to have a member of our faculty be named a U.S. Professor of the Year,” said MSU Denver President Steve Jordan, adding that having two of the four U.S. Professors of the Year come from Colorado’s higher education system is a true indicator of the high quality academic experience our state provides.
The award, now in its 32nd year, is one of the nation’s most prestigious. It is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) started the Professors of the Year program with the Carnegie Foundation hosting the final round of judging. The Carnegie Foundation sponsors the cash award given to U.S. national winners.
“This is a well-deserved honor,” said Lunden MacDonald, chair of the MSU Denver Modern Languages Department. “We have all benefitted from Ann’s expertise in the classroom and her work with students. And the recognition of her talent certainly reflects well on the Modern Languages Department. Of course, the real winners are the MSU Denver students who benefit from her teaching expertise.”
Williams credits her students for inspiring and energizing her.
“If they weren’t willing and ready to learn and excited about learning, I don’t think I would be doing what I do,” she said. “Learning and speaking a foreign language is a challenge, and it requires that students set aside some of their preconceived notions. They know I really believe that learning French gives them a new way of thinking about the world and a new way to articulate their thoughts.”
Williams already has many honors for her teaching, including the 2010 MSU Denver Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award; the 2008 Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT) Kris Wells Memorial Creativity Award; and the 2001 CCFLT/McGraw-Hill/Glencoe Teacher of the Year Award. In 2007, her Advanced Conversation course was selected by the Educational Policy Improvement Center as a College Board Advanced Placement World Languages Best Practices course.
She is the co-author of four college-level French textbooks and accompanying workbooks, lab manuals and instructor’s manuals. She has presented more than 40-refereed papers at regional, national and international conferences, most of which address the teaching of French language, literature and culture. Her articles have appeared in books on contemporary French culture and she regularly reviews books for the national journal “The French Review.”
Williams has been a consultant for Educational Testing Service since 1991, has worked for Advanced Placement in several capacities, was a member of the Colorado Department of Education Task Force on Standards and has served on the boards of the Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers and the national American Association of Teachers of French (AATF).
“Both by her writing and her professional activities, Dr. Williams has contributed immensely to the field of French cultural studies,” said Jayne Abrate, executive director of AATF, one of Williams’ nominators. “Her articles are insightful, well-researched and equally valuable to the cultural researcher as to the classroom teacher looking for up-to-date, accurate information.”
About Metropolitan State University of Denver
MSU Denver is a leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans and enrolls the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges. The University currently has more than 22,000 students and offers 55 majors, plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. It boasts more than 75,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an Act of Congress, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center with a primary mission "to do and perform all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of the teacher." The improvement of teaching and learning is central to all of the work of the foundation.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, D.C., with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011). Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves nearly 74,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 17,000 professional members on its roster.