Eastern English Professor Wins Statewide Teaching Award

Willimantic, Conn: – Barbara Little Liu, associate professor of English, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Board of Regents/Connecticut State Universities Teaching Award. Liu was recognized for her work in curriculum development in the English Department and for how well she teaches students to write.

The award was presented at the April 17 meeting of the Board of Regents for Higher Education of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.

Liu’s peers and students consider her to be exemplary in the classroom. Alumnus Andrew Minikowski ’12 said that while working on his Honors Thesis with Liu, she constantly encouraged him to push his writing and research further, and as a result, he produced a far better final paper. “Though her job is to teach writing, what she taught me was strength, confidence, and academic and professional integrity. Her influence has remained with me as a law student and is responsible for my success.”

Writing from Malaysia, former student Yi Qian Lee agreed: “Never in my life as a student who has lived in different countries for the past 15 years, have I met a teacher like her. I am an international student and English as a Second Language Learner who always has troubles with writing. After a mere four months with Dr. Liu, today I am a writing tutor. I am no longer insecure with my own writing, and have even developed my own style of writing under her guidance. Dr. Liu is a teacher who every student deserves to have.”

Lisa Fraustino, chair of the English Department, said “Dr. Liu has always made teaching her top priority, and I cannot think of a single instructor at Eastern who has had a greater impact on student learning. Her students are lucky.”

Maureen McDonnell, associate professor of English and director of Eastern’s Women and Gender Studies program, concurred. “I am impressed with Dr. Liu’s knowledge, her familiarity with her students as thinkers and people, and her adeptness in facilitation the discussion. The student’s consistent focus and the respect with which their ideas were received was a pleasure to see.”

Rita Malenczyk, professor of English and director of the University Writing Program and Writing Center, also gives Liu high marks. “The impact that her College Writing Plus class has had on student learning has been huge. Dr. Liu’s work extends beyond the individual classroom in a way unparalleled at Eastern, and will certainly have a lasting impact on writing instruction in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System as a whole.”

The BOR/CSU Teaching Award is granted to faculty members who have “distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers for at least five years and have a minimum of a two-year track record of promoting instructional improvements for their programs or departments.”

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