June 23, 2006

Council cites Leslie Duram for teaching excellence

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A geography professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the winner of a prestigious teaching prize.

The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) chose Leslie A. Duram, chair of SIUC's geography and environmental resources department, as a recipient of its Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award for 2006.

"I am honored to be selected for this award," Duram said. "I've spent so many years telling people about the importance of geography, which is the study of people and the environment. It's wonderful to receive this recognition."

The NCGE selected 16 K-12 teachers, eight university professors and seven community educators from the United States and Canada. The Distinguished Teaching Achievement Awards recognize outstanding contributions to geographic education. After colleagues submitted nominations for the awards, judging panels from elementary, secondary, post secondary and professional schools voted on the finalists.

"I have ample and up-to-date evidence that she has built a strong record of teaching effectiveness and that she has enriched student experiences in a variety of ways, through direct and indirect teaching," wrote Shirley Clay Scott, dean of SIUC's College of Liberal Arts, in her nominating letter.

"I consider Dr. Duram's teaching abilities and performance as exemplary," wrote Ben Dziegielewski, SIUC professor of geography and executive director of the International Water Resources Association, in his nominating letter. "She is a dedicated teacher who always prepares for class and truly cares about the performance of individual students."

Duram joined the department in 1994. Her teaching specializations are in environmental management, land use and organic agriculture.

"I encourage students to learn facts as building blocks, but also to ask the right questions and seek appropriate solutions for the environmental problems facing society today," said Duram.

NCGE President Kenneth E. Foote will present plaques to recipients at the awards banquet during the NCGE annual meeting Oct. 5-8 at Lake Tahoe, Nev. Duram will attend the event. Awardees receive free registration to the conference and a one-year membership in the NCGE.

The council, founded in 1915, promotes geographic education at all levels of instruction. It currently has 3,200 members worldwide.

Celebrating faculty excellence is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Leslie Duram

Leslie Duram
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