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Dr. Kathy Hawks 2017 Professor of the Year Finalist

By Rebekah Skeens
On February 1, 2018

Professor of Education
Department of Education
College of Professional Studies

The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia recently announced five finalists, including Concord University’s very own Dr. Kathy Hawks. Every year, the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia selects five deserving professors from the state to be nominated for the Professor of the Year Award. This year, one of our own has been selected to represent Concord University. According to Charleston Gazette-Mail, the winner will be announced April 12, and will receive $10,000.
Dr. Hawks, an education professor, has served Concord for the past 18 years. Her work did not begin here, however. Before sharing her knowledge with college students, for 18 years, she was teaching in local Mercer County schools. 
Prior to this nomination, Hawks received other awards for her accomplishments. Two separate years, she received the Glenwood School Teacher of the Year award. Also, in 2009 she received an award for teaching at Concord. Aside from these accomplishments, she mentioned how her greatest accomplishment was never on a plaque at all. Personally, her greatest accomplishment is being a mother, grandmother, and wife. Professionally, she holds that “Being able to work with future elementary school teachers is my greatest accomplishment. My goal is to make my students a better elementary teacher so that they can make a difference.”
Throughout her career, she has received several emails or letters from former students. These students have thanked her for inspiring, motivating, and shaping them into the teachers they are today. Making a difference in these students lives has always been her goal, she explained, and there is absolutely something to show for it. 
An anonymous student, who has had one of Dr. Hawks classes says that “[She is] a great example of what all teachers and professors should be. She makes the classes come alive.”
Bailey Knowles, an education student of Dr. Hawks, states, “She truly cares for her students and loves what she does. Every time I would walk out of her class, I felt so much excitement for becoming a teacher.” 
With her students as her topmost priority, she says that she strives to give them an amazing learning experience while leaving them with lessons to take with them as they become teachers themselves. When asked, she gave insight into her teaching philosophy and repeatedly said “It’s all about the students.” 
Dr. Kathy Hawks added, “I love this job, because I get to work with future elementary teachers. Because I’ve been where they’re going, I feel like I can offer them motivation and inspiration.” She further explained how teaching is not what she does; instead, it has become what she is. Those with the career, she believes, have it because a teacher has invested time in their lives. “It’s an honor to be a teacher who has the opportunity to invest in lives of other people.” 
Dr. Hawks shared that just being a nominee was shocking and that she was elated to be given this nomination. For her, this is a very humbling experience, no matter the outcome. If given the award, it would be a way for her to represent all teachers everywhere. “I feel like I’m part of a team of the education department. We collaborate, communicate, and work together. It could’ve been any one of us receiving this. I’m just grateful to be part of this educational team here at Concord.”
If given this award, it will show her hard work and dedication to her many students. After 39 years of teaching, she still loves teaching. Since sixth grade, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Over these past 39 years, she has been fulfilling that dream.

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