News Release, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Professor of English Jennifer Cognard-Black has been selected as a finalist for Baylor University’s 2020 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only national teaching award – with the single largest monetary reward of $250,000 – presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching. Three finalists have been selected with the winning professor to be announced by Baylor in spring 2020.
As a Cherry Award finalist, Cognard-Black will receive $15,000, as well as $10,000 for her St. Mary’s College department to foster the development of teaching skills. She will present a series of lectures at Baylor during fall 2019 and also a Cherry Award lecture at St. Mary’s College.
“I am humbled and grateful, and am particularly thrilled that my own department benefits from this award,” said Cognard-Black.
The eventual Cherry Award recipient will receive $250,000 and an additional $25,000 for his or her home department and will teach in residence at Baylor during fall 2020 or spring 2021.
Cognard-Black earned her bachelor’s in English and music, summa cum laude, Phi Kappa Phi, from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1991, a master’s in fiction and essay writing, with honors, from Iowa State University in 1994, and her PhD in 19th-century Anglo-American literature, with honors, from The Ohio State University in 1999. She serves as department chair and professor of English at St. Mary’s College.
She was recently named a 2020 Senior Fulbright Scholar to the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She also was a Fulbright Scholar to University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2012. She has served as faculty-in-residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and as artist-in residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She has received 12 faculty development grants from St. Mary’s College, as well as two internationalization and teaching and learning grants (2011, 2016). She has twice been given the highest honor for teaching that St. Mary’s College students bestow, the Faculty-Student Life Award (2002 and 2009).
In 2016, she published “Becoming a Great Essayist” through the Great Courses Program. Her release included essays from students and faculty colleagues who contributed. The Great Courses are a series of educational classes offered to “surround the world’s greatest teachers with a team of experts who collaborate on crafting a customized and entertaining educational journey.”
The Cherry Award program is designed to honor great teachers, stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Individuals nominated for the award have proven records as extraordinary teachers with positive, inspiring and long-lasting effects on students, along with records of distinguished scholarship.
The two additional finalists are Nancy Fichtman Dana, professor of education at the University of Florida, and Reuben A. Buford May, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University.