Nicolet College - - Ginny Leith honored with Faculty Teaching Award
Leith honored with 2008 Nicolet
Faculty Association Teaching Award
Watching Ginny Leith at the front of a Nicolet College classroom is like observing an experienced musical conductor at work. The ease, grace, and comfort she exudes as she orchestrates learning comes naturally - maybe even genetically, fine-tuned by more than 30 years of experience facilitating learning in the college classroom.
She engages the students with leading questions. The students respond by eagerly offering their own thoughts. Leith sits and listens. The students banter back and forth with Leith moderating, effectively creating the highly desirable learning community that is at the heart of higher education today.
"My mother was a teacher and my grandmother was a teacher," Leith explained after a recent Speech class. "The funny thing is, it's even ironic, that when I was young, I never wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to write movie scripts."
Fortunately for the thousands of Northwoods students who have passed through her Nicolet classrooms over the years, Leith's professional life followed in family footsteps. And it's exactly that high level of skill and dedication to learning that has earned Leith the 2008 Nicolet College Faculty Association Teaching Award.
"As a faculty member, Ginny is consistently at the forefront of teaching innovation," said Bruce Cray, president of the Nicolet College Faculty Association. "She delivers education in a personal atmosphere that reflects a care for the student and for the craft of teaching."
Leith, who has a master's degree on communication, joined the Nicolet staff in 1979, coming from Alverno College in Milwaukee. Over the years she's worked in several different capacities at Nicolet, including advisor to the student newspaper, which won a box full of awards during her tenure, and as coordinator of the Lakeland Campus, overseeing construction of that facility in 1991. She was also awarded a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for the Humanities to study the American lyceum and public culture.
But ever since the beginning Leith has been an instructor. While she regularly teaches University Transfer students who are headed for bachelor's degrees, she's always considered Nicolet's Basic Education Department home. There, she's helped thousands of students earn a GED of HSED, brush up on their academic skills to get ready for college classes, or teach students English who are learning it as a second language.
"It's so rewarding, even a privilege, to see students grow and see the positive change that education can bring," Leith said. "Take the young single mother who comes to Nicolet to earn her GED and continues on to become a registered nurse. And there are many, many stories like that at Nicolet, where education helps people realize goals they had only dreamed about. It is a true gift to watch that transformation."