I am pleased to announce that Dr. Valerie Grash, Associate Professor of Humanities, has been selected to receive the 2006-2007 President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. She will be presented with the award during Commencement on May 5th.
Dr. Grash holds the B.A. in English and History from Slippery Rock University and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Art History from the Pennsylvania State University. She joined the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown faculty in 1999 and is now an Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities.
In her own words, Dr. Grash's philosophy of teaching is straight forward but encompassing. "I continually strive to make art and architecture history interesting and relevant to all students I teach. For this reason, my approach stresses interdisciplinary learning, encouraging students to understand works of art and architecture as not only pure aesthetic and functional objects created by specific individuals at a particular moment in time, but also as tangible signifiers of the culture in which, and for which, they were produced."
Being recognized as an accomplished teacher, Dr. Grash has earned the respect of colleagues and students. Her former students offer high praise for her teaching. They are especially complimentary of her ability to bring clarity to the complexities and nuances of art and architecture. Valerie approaches teaching with an uncommon passion for the students to learn and to understand. Her student evaluations are supported with comments about how much they have learned and how their appreciation for art has matured.
Dr. Grash is held in high esteem by both colleagues and students as a dedicated, creative, and energetic teacher. She makes every attempt possible for each class member to learn and excel. Dr. Grash continuously seeks new ways to provide meaningful experiences for her students, underscoring her devotion to the learning process in the classroom. Her students praise her ability to integrate technology and her level of organization. They consistently praise the clarity of her lectures as well as the enthusiasm with which they are delivered. Valerie builds rapport with each class and with each student. She offers encouragement and constructive criticism, always challenging students to reach their highest potential.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Valerie Grash as the recipient of this year's President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Albert L. Etheridge