Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award (2005)

2004-2005 Commencement Ceremony Excerpt

I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Welch Award for the Year 2005 is professor of education, Dr. Connie Zitlow.

Connie graduated with honors in Music Education at Wittenberg University and then went on to earn the M.A. and Ph.D. in English Education at The Ohio State University. She taught both Music and English at high schools in Ohio and Indiana and came to Ohio Wesleyan as an assistant professor in 1988. She was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and to full professor in 2000.

Dr. Zitlow has published more than two dozen articles in professional journals and as book chapters. She has presented over forty papers at professional meetings, national and international. In 2002, she published a book entitled Last Masterworks of Young Adult Literature, and is now completing a book under contract with Heinemann Press on Teaching the Young Adult Novels of Walter Dean Myers. In 1995-96, she served as President of the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts; from 1997-2000, she served as Editor of the Ohio Journal of English Language Arts; and she has continued to serve, since 1999, as Feature Editor of “Professional Links” in English Journal (a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English). Connie also continues to serve on the editorial and advisory boards of several peer-reviewed publications. And, in 1998, she was selected as the Outstanding English Language Arts Educator in Ohio.

Connie’s service to the college and the broader community is much too extensive to describe today, but suffice it to say that at Ohio Wesleyan she has been the perfect campus citizen, with distinguished service on the Teaching & Learning Committee, the Academic Policy Committee, and the Faculty Personnel Committee.

Dr. Zitlow is, according to her students, and in their words: “knowledgeable,” “informative,” “enthusiastic,” “creative,” “charismatic,” “caring,” “demanding,” “fair,” “approachable,” “sincere,” “understanding,” “supportive,” “thought-provoking,” “inspiring,” and “extraordinary.” They say that she “cares deeply,” “does her homework,” “is an advocate of original thinking,” “encourages thinking and good writing,” and that she is “rigorous yet flexible.”

As one student put it: “Dr. Zitlow practices what she teaches, she has made me really want to teach.” Said another: “Professor Zitlow makes it a point to get to know her students and, in tum, the students get to know each other.” Another reported: “she holds her professional role well but never hesitates to add a personal touch.” Yet another student characterized her classes as “LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of hard work but ALL of it useful and relevant.” And another: “Dr. Zitlow helped me on the practical as well as the intellectual level; I know all kinds of things that I can’t wait to implement in the classroom as a teacher.” And, finally, one student described the impact on her coming out of Dr. Zitlow’s classes: “The joy of discovering a new genre of literature, the satisfaction of developing interesting teaching techniques, and the acquisition of knowledge of how my future students will read.”

Truly, little more can be said.

Connie, congratulations!