College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Poet named UM Humanities Teacher of the Year

Passion for poetry and teaching has earned one of the College of Liberal Arts’ most beloved professors another honor. Beth Ann Fennelly, associate professor of English and director of the MFA program in creative writing, is 2011-12 Humanities Teacher of the Year.

“I was surprised and honored to hear I had won the award,” said Fennelly, who teaches poetry as literature and teaches the writing of both poetry and creative nonfiction. “Some of the pleasures of teaching are the daily feedback, seeing the students’ faces, the arch of an eyebrow when someone has a question or seeing the nod of a head or an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I like to be with the students and see their faces, and that’s my favorite part of teaching.”

The award recognizes outstanding teachers in humanities fields and is cosponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and the College of Liberal Arts.

This recognition caused Fennelly to reflect on her life as a teacher.

“We live in a culture that values money, so when you do something that appears valueless, you are forced to reflect on its less obvious rewards. Poetry is powerful medicine, and studying and teaching literature has enriched me in many ways,” said Fennelly, who has taught at UM since 1998.

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