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Teaching Excellence Award

Professor Alex Parsons has been awarded the 2009-2010 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award for his outstanding work with our graduate and undergraduate students in and outside of the classroom, and for his invaluable contributions to the work on our Creative Writing concentration.

Doctoral student, Jason Pitruzello, has been awarded the University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award for a Graduate Teaching Assistant. As part of a QEP awarded, Jason has worked on innovative hybrid and media-assisted classes (Chaucer and Medieval Literature) with Professor Stock (who won the University Excellence in Teaching Award last year for Innovative Use of Technology in Teaching), and has helped develop creative new formats for teaching upper-level period courses.

M.F.A. student Ian Schimmel has won the first Paula Withers Clare Award for Excellence in Core Curriculum Teaching. The award, created in memory of Paula Withers Clare, long time, and much-beloved member of the University community who was deeply dedicated to the University’s teaching mission, recognizes the outstanding teaching of our finest Teaching Fellows who teach English 1304 in the Lower Division Core curriculum.

Staff Awards

Ms. Kimberly Williams, English Department Academic Advisor, received the competitive Staff Excellence Award for 2012, and was recognized at the University of Houston’s Staff Awards Day luncheon on June 7. Staff Excellence Awards recognize meritorious service, dedication, and contribution to the university beyond the requirements or expectations of the job. In addition to her outstanding work as Academic Advisor, Kimberly Williams demonstrates the qualities of dedication, loyalty, reliability, courtesy, and initiative that have made her a valued and respected member of the Department and the University.

Carol Barr has won the 2010 McElhinney Distinguished Service Award for her extraordinary contributions to the University of Houston. The C.F. McElhinney Distinguished Service Award “is the highest honor the University of Houston bestows on a staff member”; only those who have already won a Staff Excellence Award are eligible. Her leadership, her example, her vision, and her outstanding fiscal and administrative skills have contributed enormously to the shape of our Department and to the University as a whole.

Jessica Torres has won the Staff Excellence Award for her contribution to the Department of English, our students, and the University community. Jessica is selfless in her commitment to serving our community; she works with equal dedication and effectiveness, and unflappable good nature to help our faculty and students.


Dr. Lorraine Stock has been awarded a $4000 FDIP grant to support the establishment of a Robin Hood course Blackboard site and the website "Robin Hood in Culture." Building on her outstanding record of innovative course design, the website promises to provide an ongoing, multi-media platform for student research and writing. In addition, Dr. Stock’s student, Chelsea Curto, has been awarded a PURS grant to do research under her direction on Robin Hood and the figure of Maid Marian in 19th-century English literature and culture.

Dr. George Trail has been awarded a $4000 FDIP grant to develop a free-form anonymous in-class response system, to be used in his Core course, English 1304. Building on his expertise in Rhetoric and Composition and in media-assisted instruction, he will use contemporary cell phone, iPad, and wi-fi technology to develop a faster and anonymous system for students to submit in-class questions, and to receive faster responses from instructors; the goal is to increase students’ readiness to submit questions, enhance their level of comprehension, and improve their success rate in the class.