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Dr. Stephanie McSpirit and Dr. Charlotte Rich have earned the highest honor for teaching excellence at Eastern Kentucky University.

McSpirit, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, and Rich, a professor in the Department of English and Theatre, have each received the 2018-20 EKU Foundation Professorship. The annual honor recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding abilities in the three primary roles of a faculty member: teaching, service and research. The professorship provides a salary supplement for two years.

McSpirit photoA member of the EKU sociology faculty since 1995, McSpirit has spearheaded many outreach projects throughout eastern Kentucky involving her students. These have centered on free-roaming horses in eastern Kentucky, the Mountain horse community, the Corbin Railroad Museum, Trail Town Projects in Pikeville and Elkhorn City, tornado recovery in Morgan County and community impact after a coal waste spill in Martin County, among other initiatives.

McSpirit earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Cortland, State University of New York; and her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Rich photoRich, who joined the EKU faculty in 1999, is the author of “Transcending the New Woman: Multiethnic Narratives in the Progressive Era” and served as the editor of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman Newsletter from 2003 to 2007. She received the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Award in 2014 and has been recognized several times at EKU for teaching excellence. Her academic specialties include American literature, especially late 19th and 20 centuries, and multiethnic and women writers.

Rich earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Miami University of Ohio and a doctoral degree in English from the University of Georgia.

All full-time tenured faculty members are eligible for the award. The selection is made by a committee composed of faculty, and the process provides for a high degree of peer review.

Sixty-three professors have been honored for teaching excellence by the EKU Foundation since the awards were first given in 1988.