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Maroon Focus: English Teacher Wins State Award For Teaching

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Staff Writer
On January 26, English professor Dr. Melanie Almeder was awarded a 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education and Dominion Resources.

Almeder is one of just twelve faculty members across the state to receive the award out of over one hundred applicants. The award is considered to be one of Virginia’s highest honor for faculty teaching at public and private colleges and universities. Almeder received the award based on her outstanding accomplishments in the fields of teaching, research, and public service.

Almeder has been teaching at Roanoke College for 11 years and continues to make a positive impact on her students and fellow faculty members as well as the community. She has taught multiple English classes, ranging from creative writing to world literature. But no matter what subject she is teaching, Dr. Almeder places important emphasis on trying to make her students better learners.

“Whether I am teaching general education courses, literature, or creative writing, my goal is to teach my students to be active, rigorous, and ethical learners,” Almeder said. She also makes sure that she is not the only one doing the teaching while working with students.

“Each of my students is my teacher. I never quite know what they will teach me,” Almeder said. It is this devotion to her students and her readiness to learn more that made Almeder such a deserving recipient of the award.

Almeder’s desire to help and learn from those around her extends beyond the classroom. She has worked with several community service centers such as Pilot Street Refugee Center, where she brought students to help children complete their homework. She has also done work at Bethany Hall, a women’s halfway house, where she conducted a writing workshop for some of the women residents.

She is not just established in the community, but in the field of published poetry as well. Almeder has had a variety of her poems published in journals such as The Georgia Review and American Literary Review, and has also been successful in publishing her own book of poetry titled On Dream Street.

Almeder tries to infuse passion into all aspects of her life.

“I try to be unafraid to be passionate in teaching, scholarship, and service, because I do believe that we live and die to some degree by the stories that we tell about ourselves and others,” she said.

achievements and her unquestionable passion about her work and students, Almeder is certainly deserving of one of the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Awards.

When she got the news that she would be a recipient of the award, Almeder was quick to highlight the talent of those who surround her.

“I was very humbled, I am surrounded by great professors here and the award easily could have gone to any one of them,” Almeder said.