Jane Wemhoener, senior instructor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university's 2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Created in 1982 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching is presented to two Virginia Tech faculty members each year. Recipients are selected by the university’s Academy of Teaching Excellence from among those faculty members who have received Certificates of Teaching Excellence from their respective colleges in the preceding three years. Each recipient is awarded $2,000 and is inducted into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 2002, Wemhoener was recognized for her outstanding teaching as well as her work in international education, service learning, and student advising.

Wemhoener consistently receives among the highest teaching evaluation scores and enthusiastic student comments of faculty members in the Department of English. Her scores average 3.9 out of a possible 4.0 on the Student Perception of Instruction evaluation. With a background in medieval literature and professional writing, Wemhoener also teaches courses in children’s literature, women’s literature, and world literature. In addition, her international experience has led to the development of a new course in the department, which focuses on applying study abroad learning to students’ undergraduate research and writing.

A former student in Wemhoener’s women’s literature course writes, “I feel like this course has opened my eyes about the problems women have faced and continue to face. As an engineering major, I do not often have this kind of experience.”  A student in her business writing course said, “Business Writing is the most useful class that I have ever taken in my 15-plus years of formal education. While this is an extremely bold statement, I stand behind it.”

Under Wemhoener’s leadership, the department’s study abroad program has flourished. Four student groups have travelled to England since 2008. Another group will travel this summer.

Beyond the department, Wemhoener has chaired the university’s China Studies Task Force and, with a cross-college faculty team, has written a Fulbright grant proposal with the intent of making China studies an integral part of the university’s curriculum. She also advocates for international education on a statewide level in her role as executive director of the Virginia Council for International Education. In addition, she is the coordinator of a four-year program in Tanzania to develop professional writing skills for medical students.

“Jane is a gifted, generous, and highly effective teacher, whatever assignment the department gives to her,” said Joseph Eska, professor and head of the English department. “She has made a difference in the lives of numerous students from across the university and is one of the faculty members who students remember when they graduate.”

Wemhoener has been recognized with the college’s and university’s outreach awards, an international faculty development award, and has served on the college’s Advisory Committee on International Initiatives and its diversity committee. 

She received her bachelor's degree and master’s degree from Saint Louis University and completed coursework for her Ph.D. at Ohio State University.



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