Dr. Erin Templeton, assistant professor of English, received the Excellence in Teaching award from South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Inc. (SCICU) on Tuesday, April 5 2011.
“Dr. Templeton’s intense and genuine love
of learning coupled with a deep commitment to helping students tap into
their own invention and curiosity drives her exceptional
work in the classroom and with colleagues and students across campus,” said President Betsy Fleming.
“She has truly raised the level of inquiry at Converse.”
Templeton joined the faculty at Converse College in 2007 as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing. She received her BA and MA in English from the Pennsylvania State University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Templeton has taught at Pennsylvania State University and the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and has numerous publications and conference presentations. She has taught a wide variety of courses, from “The Jazz Age & the Writings of F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald” to a course on Irish literature—in Ireland!
Dr. Templeton’s teaching philosophy, she says, is an application of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: “There is no way to predict behavior (human, atomic, or otherwise) with complete confidence. My pedagogical experiences have provided me with a remarkable laboratory in which to test and experiment with Heisenberg’s theory: the literary classroom.” Using uncertainty as the touchstone of teaching takes a skilled practitioner, and Dr. Templeton has shown that she has what it takes.
One of her colleagues commented that Dr. Templeton is a “creative and energetic teacher,” while another characterized her as “an intellectually passionate and curious teacher-scholar” who “seamlessly combines her research into the social construction of literature with a classroom pedagogy that stresses collaborative partnerships between instructor/student and student/student.” She does all of this, according to colleagues, with “humility, patience utter lack of selfishness.”
Dr. Templeton is a pioneer in the digital humanities, which she defines as “an area of inquiry, research, teaching, and invention concerned with the intersection of computing and the disciplines of the humanities, particularly languages and literature.” Having attended a series of online workshops sponsored by the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), she is a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Higher Education blog, “ProfHacker,” delivering “tips, tutorials, and commentary on pedagogy, productivity, and technology in higher education.” She uses her on-line work in her courses to help students apply social media to their work.
Converse students are very fortunate to have Dr. Templeton on campus. Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffrey Barker comments, “Erin Templeton approaches every challenge with determination and a ready smile. Her students benefit from her depth and breadth of knowledge, from her active scholarship brought into every class, from her work on the frontier of digital humanities, and from the friendly, inviting atmosphere she fosters.”
SCICU was established in 1953 with the primary mission of promoting independent higher education in South Carolina. SCICU seeks to advance independent higher education through fundraising, scholarships, research, and by facilitating collaborative activities among the 20 member institutions, which educate nearly 33,000 students each year.