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December 5, 2001

Outstanding educators and educational programs at ULM were honored at breakfasts

The annual CenturyTel Accent on Excellence Breakfast, hosted by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and Northern Lights School-to-Career Partners, was held this morning, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001, at the Monroe Civic Center Conference Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

The annual breakfast honored the Teachers of the Year at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe City Schools, and Ouachita Parish Schools. Teachers who designed innovative programs for students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world settings and creative teachers who partnered with businesses to design real-world learning programs were also recognized. One program from ULM, one from Ouachita Parish, and one from Monroe City were highlighted at this year's event.
Seven outstanding professors from ULM were honored. They are: Dr. Judy Fellows, College of Allied Health and Rehabilitation Professions; Dr. Jerry Wall, College of Business Administration; Dr. Glenda Rakes, College of Education and Human Development; Dr. Christopher A. Blackburn, the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. Margaret R. Edwards, College of Nursing; Dr. James Christopher Lynch, College of Pharmacy; and Dr. Michael A. Camille, College of Pure and Applied Sciences.

The ULM Program of Excellence honored at the breakfast was called "Partners in Geography Education and Excellence: The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Louisiana Geography Education Alliance," taught by Dr. Darrell Kruger. This program was recognized for emphasizing the humanities in enhancing teacher quality in Louisiana. The LEH funded two Summer Teacher Institutes, "Northeast Louisiana Geography and Culture" (2000) and "Settlement and Society: The United States and South Africa Compared" (2001). The Louisiana Geography Educational Alliance provided funds for Dr. Kruger's efforts to improve teacher preparation emphasizing geography content and introducing teachers to innovative technology. In June 2001 LaGEA sponsored a Summer Geography Institute entitled "Northeast Louisiana Main Streets" on the ULM campus.

ULM President, Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr., spoke at the breakfast. He said, " All that we are celebrating this morning centers on the most important element in the learning environment: the teacher. On behalf of the entire ULM family, I offer our congratulations to each of those honored today."

President Swearingen closed with uplifting remarks about education. "Apple Founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, was asked recently about the relationship between the emerging technology and the classroom. He noted that during the previous century, students expressed their creativity through writing short stories, plays, poems, and reading books. This new century, however --- observed Jobs --- finds students expressing their creativity through DVD's, digital cameras and camcorders, digital film-making, and the worldwide web: "And teachers will be at the epicenter of this. Anyone who believes differently has never had a good teacher. I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates."

Three other ULM faculty members were recognized at national conferences as the most outstanding teacher-researchers in their respective disciplines: Dr. Harihara Mehendale (National Education Award ­ Toxicology); Dr. Ed Adams (Albert B. Prescott/Glaxo Wellcome Leadership Award - Pharmacy); and Dr. Charles "Chip" Holloway (Outstanding Foreign Language Professor ­ Spanish).

The Ouachita Parish Program of Excellence highlighted at the breakfast was the Ouachita Earth Lab, directed by Melanie Johns and Don Wheeler at Richwood High School. Their program is a comprehensive lab designed to study all areas of our planet and beyond. The equipment they use includes a seismograph for earthquake studies, a weather station, and a "RamCam" that allows students to monitor the weather through the Internet. Students also use the lab to keep an eye on pollution in the Ouachita River.

The Monroe City Schools Program of Excellence highlighted this morning was called, "Writing Today, Reaching Tomorrow" taught by Mr. Jodie Moorhead at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. His program allows students the opportunity to be introduced to computers and technology skills in order to be able to function in the technology driven world of today. As part of the participation in the national AIM program with the direct help of the Mindsurf Networks Schools of Innovation pilot program, MLK Middle School was given a complete set of iPaq Handheld Computers for the classroom. This is part of the national pilot program to promote technology and to research the effectiveness of computers in education. The computers are used in a journalism and reading class and allow the students to "access the world" while sitting at their desks.

Ouachita Parish Teachers of the Year are Donna Ashley, Riser Middle School; Jeanette Harris, West Monroe High School; and Laura Marchbank, Lakeshore Elementary School. Monroe City Teachers of the Year are Patricia Staten Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School; James Robert Rogers, Neville High School; and Janice Denise Simpson, Lexington Elementary School.

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