Lorrie Ryan Memorial Excellence Award Winner 2016

Carlin Borsheim-BlackDr. Carlin Borsheim-Black is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature whose research interests focus on secondary education, literacy, and pedagogy. In her Teaching Statement, she explains that building a strong sense of classroom community and interpersonal relationships is central to her teaching philosophy. Among the many and varied means to that end she has pursued are initiating the first student organization for pre-service teachers at CMU, co-founding a professional network dedicated to cultivating relationships between pre-service and in-service teachers, taking students to state conferences and on field trips to local resources, and inviting outstanding alums to return to CMU to speak to current students.

Both her peers and students speak in superlative terms of her community-building efforts. One colleague praises her as follows: "With her focus on class discussion and interactive dialogue, she has fostered a sense of community with positive rapport, extensive student collaboration, and relationships productive for students' learning. Evidence of this vibrant community is that it extends far beyond the walls of the classroom to student organizations, to conferences, to social media, to schools and beyond. She has even written a book on building community through interactive dialogue." 

One student writes, "This candidate not only built a sense of community within the classroom, but they invited students to be co-creators in that community. In additions to other practices described above, they allowed students to share ownership in the classroom by offering a choice for readings and research. Further, this instructor encouraged us to celebrate diversity and view differences in views and opinions as learning opportunities. This made the classroom a safe space for all students to flourish."

Another student puts it simply: "I never felt as comfortable and welcomed in a college course than I did with this professor."