By Gail Hairston
(Sept. 28, 2015) — The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education today announced the two winners of its 2015 Acorn Award for outstanding teachers at the state’s public and independent colleges and universities.
Associate Professor Christia Spears Brown of the University of Kentucky Department of Psychology received the Acorn Award as the four-year-institution representative. Awards were presented at the Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship luncheon in Lexington.
"I am honored to receive this award for my teaching," Brown said. "Teaching and connecting with my students is one of the most rewarding parts of my day. My goal is always to engage my students so that they can learn, think critically and graduate motivated to improve the world in their own way. I am always thankful when that effort is acknowledged."
Brown was the first member of her family to attend college. Transition was made easier by the counsel and support of a great teacher who encouraged her to attend graduate school.
"As a first generation college student herself, she is dedicated to her role as a teacher and mentor because she is keenly aware of a teacher's power to transform students' lives," said her department chair, Professor Robert Lorch Jr.
"Dr. Brown's professional roles as a researcher, teacher and advocate for public policy issues are integrated around her interests in issues of diversity and equality. Her passion on these issues are obvious to her students and they cannot help but be inspired by her," he added.
Brown teaches psychology, gender and women’s studies, and health and society classes from the freshman to graduate student levels, and is "extremely good at communicating her enthusiasm for her subject matter and for presenting in such an engaging and clear manner that she elicits … much discussion," Lorch said.
The award includes a $5,000 honorarium.