English Assistant Professor Jennifer Brantley has been named the Distinguished Teacher at UW-River Falls, the highest award that can be bestowed at the University.
Brantley will be recognized during the UWRF annual awards banquet on April 22. The award is the result of nominations sought from graduating seniors and recent graduates.
In announcing the award, Chancellor Ann Lydecker cited Brantley's dedication and excellence in serving UWRF. "For 128 years, UW-River Falls has been a teaching institution. We take such great pride in that mission that our most prestigious award is to celebrate those faculty who excel at our most fundamental value.
"Our students and recent alumni tell us that Jenny Brantley is one of our very best faculty at giving meaning to their college experience. She serves as a role model to our students and to all of us on campus on how to give our best efforts so our students will succeed in their professional and personal lives after they leave here."
English Department Chair Marshall Toman added, " Professor Brantley's students and colleagues know her as someone who is supremely organized and tactful and whose door is always open, no matter what editorial or logistical crisis she is in the middle of solving. She is someone who is always genuinely interested in their lives and accomplishments."
Among the many student and alumni nominating comments were:
"She was always supportive and was willing to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the English department was an exciting and active place for students and future student leaders."
Wrote another, "She is a wonderful teacher for many reasons. First, she teaches what she loves, and anyone can tell that by her lectures. Second, she inspired me to write, even when I was down about my writing. With her push and support, I have gained self-esteem on my writing and I love to write. Last, she is always there for her students."
Another offered: "I found her creative writing classes to be very inspiring and her teaching method to be very useful and non-intimidating. She is great at providing inspiration."
Brantley joined the English department 1995 as an instructional academic staff member and has held the rank of assistant professor since 1999. In 2002 she won the College of Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Teacher in the Humanities.
In addition to teaching freshman English and sophomore literature, she teaches in her specialties of creative writing, women's studies, poetry, and in upper division literature courses such as Women in Literature, an area in which she is co-editing an anthology.
Brantley's poetry has appeared in numerous national journals such as the "North American Review" and "Living Forge." Her articles have been published extensively in numerous scholarly and popular magazines, and she is a productive contributor to books. Brantley has given dozens of readings throughout the Midwest.
Brantley was responsible for bringing the national journal, the "Literary Magazine Review," to UWRF by serving as its editor, responsible for all editorial content and magazine publishing operations. Librarians across the world who are seeking analysis on literary journals for their stacks, and readers who want insightful commentary on the best writers, turn to the magazine for expert commentary.
On campus she is the adviser to the UWRF student literary magazine, "Prologue." Brantley also is the founder of the Student Reading Series, held weekly in the Chalmer Davee Library in which students, as well as faculty and invited presenters, read from their works in progress.
Brantley is an active participant in many department, college and University committees, and a frequent presenter at conferences. She is a member of the planning committee to celebrate Women's History Month, women studies committee, the library exhibits and presentation committee, and serves on the Faculty Senate.
Said Brantley of the award, "I am both honored and humbled by this award. Our students at River Falls are truly remarkable, and I am so proud to be working with them. They are eager to learn, appreciative of the value of a college education, and filled with intellectual curiosity. I am also honored to be a part of this University community; I am surrounded by amazing and dedicated faculty and staff. I am fortunate to have a job that doesn't feel so much like work as it does a calling."
Brantley holds a doctorate in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master's from Kansas State University, and her bachelor's degree is from Wake Forest University.
Brantley's likeness will be added to the UWRF Distinguished Teacher display in the Wyman Education Building, and she will be invited to deliver the Fall Commencement Address in December.