Dr. Prudence Cuper: 2014 Distinguished Teacher
The Keene State College Alumni Association presented Dr. Prudence Cuper, Professor of Education, with its 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award during New Student Convocation, held on Thursday, August 21. The award recognizes excellence in teaching, encouragement of independent thinking, rapport with students, and effective student advising. Dr. Cuper is the 44th recipient of this distinctive honor.
She has taught in the Elementary, Secondary, and Graduate Education programs as well as in the College’s Honors Program. Her scholarship focuses on developing curriculum that encourages reflective practice and appreciation of cultural diversity, and she recently co-authored, with Professor of Geography Jo Beth Mullens, Fostering Global Citizenship Through Faculty-Led International Programs, a text that explores the concept of global citizenship and seeks ways to embed this concept in undergraduate curricula. It combines her knowledge of curriculum development with her growing interest in international teaching and learning.
Dr. Cuper leads by example and inspires her students through her enthusiasm and her commitment to teaching. “She has taken the Honors students to Belize, worked with Elementary Methods students in rural New Hampshire, and taught graduate students to be leaders and change agents in the schools,” explained Janet Youga, professor of English. “What defines her daily interactions with education students is her ability to make them recognize the significance of this profession they are choosing to enter. By the way she guides them from being students to being new professionals, she demonstrates the powerful influence they, as teachers, will have on their students. … She brings her whole, authentic self to class and courageously engages the students in very intense and meaningful conversations about education.”
And her commitment to her profession is not lost on her students. “She taught me that in order for a teacher to inspire his or her students to want to learn, a teacher must show his or her students how amazing learning is,” recalled Hanna Gage, one of Dr. Cuper’s students. “She taught me that a teacher must also show his or her students that he or she believes in them.”
Dr. Cuper has dedicated her life to promoting excellence in teaching, and to seeing education as an essential means to improving the world we live in, and easily deserves the Distinguished Teacher Award. “I am deeply committed to this field,” she said. “In fact, I believe that education is inextricably linked to the healthy evolution of society. To me, it is the best and perhaps only way for all children to be given a fair and supportive opportunity to develop their fullest potential.”