Nancee Reeves, senior lecturer in the department of English in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2023 University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The award was established in 2021 based on a recommendation from the UGA Teaching Academy. It recognizes teaching faculty who exemplify the university’s teaching mission by offering outstanding instruction, promoting innovation and providing an engaging environment for student learning.
“Dr. Reeves embodies the core values of the Award for Excellence in Teaching,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “She cultivates student creativity and elevates the culture of academic excellence that distinguishes the University of Georgia as a leader in public higher education.”
Fostering student understanding is at the core of every class that Reeves teaches. Whether it’s Shakespeare, the 19th century British novel, fantasy literature or college writing, she structures her courses so that students walk away with transferable skills and the confidence that what they learned matters.
“Brilliantly designed, her classes simultaneously invite and push students to earn and claim their own critical and creative authority,” a former colleague wrote.
Reeves uses various types of multimedia to enrich her courses and help students make connections between course material and their own lives. In one of her service-learning writing courses, Reeves took her students to visit the Athens-Clarke County Animal Services where they each spent time caring for and writing a profile about one of the animals for the shelter’s adoption website.
For a course on utopian literature, her students worked in groups to design, present and respond to critiques of their own utopias. When classes were taught virtually during the pandemic, her students curated a Tumblr account with connections between current events and their course material on 19th century novels. In a different course, students created a zine (a self-published booklet) centered on a novel they read and presented it to the author when he visited campus as a guest speaker.
“To be in Dr. Reeves’ class is to be immersed in a multisensory, multimedia environment that is maximally attuned to the different ways in which different students learn,” wrote Cody Marrs, UGA professor and interim head of the English department.
Reeves’ innovative approach to teaching has not gone unnoticed. Her student evaluation scores from First Year Writing program courses are unprecedented. In 2021, she received the college-level Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. Reeves was in the first UGA Active Learning Summer Institute cohort and has also been a Service-Learning Fellow, a Special Collections Fellow and a Writing Fellow.
“Her deep heart for students, for representation, for intellectual growth, and for bringing the best out of each person is so evident in everything she teaches, every word she says and every action she performs,” a former student wrote. “She is truly a dream teacher, the kind you see in movies or read about in books, but I had the pleasure to experience it for real.”
Nominations for the UGA Award for Excellence in Teaching are submitted by deans and considered by a committee of senior faculty members and undergraduate students. Full-time faculty members who have held a non-tenurable teaching position at UGA for at least 10 years are eligible for the honor, which includes a $7,500 cash award.
To learn more about the UGA Award for Excellence in Teaching, see https://provost.uga.edu/resources/faculty-resources/awards/excellence-in-teaching/.