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Eastern's Martin Wins National Liberal Arts Excellence Award

Written by Emily Bonoyer


Maggie Martin Award.JPG          Margaret Martin is congratulated by Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Núñez for wining the Association for General and Liberal Studies Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award.   


    Willimantic, CT -- Margaret Martin, distinguished professor of social work and executive assistant to the president for planning at Eastern Connecticut State University, was awarded the Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award for 2009 at the 49th Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS) conference in St. Louis, MO, on Oct. 2.

            The Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award is given to those who have demonstrated leadership on their campuses in the area of general and liberal education; who have shown evidence of outstanding teaching in general and liberal education courses; and who have a record of achievement in curriculum development, innovation or implementation in general and liberal education. Martin was nominated for her leadership at Eastern in overhauling the University's general education requirements. The Gaff Award was last presented in 2005.

            The prestigious award is named for Jerry Gaff, senior scholar at the American Association of Colleges and Universities and a respected advocate for general and liberal education for more than 30 years.    

            "We are pleased to recognize the outstanding work of these individuals and this institution," said Stephen Bowen, dean of Emory University's Oxford College and AGLS president.  "Their achievements are great examples of the goal of AGLS - to advance liberal learning through the development of the knowledge, skills, values and habits of mind that are characteristic of educated persons."

            "Dr. Martin is truly worthy of this award," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "She is well respected on our campus as a faculty leader, a serious scholar and a dedicated teacher. Her leadership in directing a deliberative, in-depth discussion of the curriculum changes our University needed to fulfill our public liberal arts mission was instrumental in passing our new liberal arts core. We are very proud of her and know that this award is well deserved."

            "During the two years of Liberal Arts Core development, Dr. Martin gained enormous respect from the Eastern faculty and administration, and especially from those of us who worked closely with her," said Charles Booth, general education program committee member and professor of biology, in his letter of nomination. "She is not a force to be reckoned with; rather, she is a consensus builder with a low-key, gently persuasive personality."

            "Dr. Martin spent hundreds and hundreds of hours and invested great intellectual and emotional energy in the development of Eastern's Liberal Arts Core," said Rhona Free, vice president for academic affairs, in her letter of nomination. "She collaborated, coaxed, compromised and ultimately succeeded in gaining approval for a program that was much more innovative and ambitious than could have been hoped."

            "I am humbled to receive an award that honors Dr. Gaff," said Martin.  "The counsel contained in his writings was invaluable in helping us find best approaches to transforming our general education program. While the award was personally gratifying to me, I see it as recognition for our entire team.  My colleagues at Eastern demonstrated forward thinking and sound educational principles in developing our new liberal arts core curriculum, and it is exciting for me to see our faculty fully engaged in 21st century education."

            The Association for General and Liberal Studies was established in 1961, and is a national forum for inquiry concerning the improvement of undergraduate education. 



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