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Alumna honored for teaching excellence at annual convocation

Alumna honored for teaching excellence at annual convocation

Western Michigan University is honoring Dr. Holly J. Nibert, assistant professor of Spanish, for being an exceptional educator and mentor and demonstrating outstanding dedication in her work.

She will be recognized as a recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award during WMU's Academic Convocation at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The annual event includes WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address along with the presentation of other campuswide awards honoring this year's Emerging Scholars, Distinguished Faculty Scholar and the recipients of the Distinguished Service and Make a Difference awards.

Initiated in 2006, the Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor given by the University to recognize faculty members for their work. A similar program, the WMU Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award, was conducted between 1966 and 2001 and honored 131 faculty members.
Nibert began her WMU career in 1999 as an instructor. She became an assistant professor a year later, a position she still holds. She also has taught at Pennsylvania State University and was a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
At WMU, she was lauded by former students and co-workers for her commitment to the department, the Spanish program and the success of her students.

"Her ample knowledge of the subject matter and countless hours of work in these endeavors make her one of the most successful instructors in a department already filled with remarkable and committed professors," wrote a former student.

Another former student noted she has a set of materials specifically written for her classes to supplement the textbook and make sure students understand concepts.

"Dr. Nibert is clearly in the top 1 percent in terms of her teaching. I know of no other professor who has so well committed herself to taking her own scholarship into the classroom and teaching students in a way that they will understand and be able to apply what they have learned," that former student said.

She is a mentor and role model for teaching assistants and has been instrumental in making changes to the Spanish program, according to a colleague.

"Professor Nibert has been the principal architect of the two-year language curriculum that we now follow for our basic language instruction, an essential piece in the strength of our unit," the co-worker said.

Nibert earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has studied abroad in Madrid and Barcelona and attended the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute at Ohio State University.



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